On the first day of the Theology and the Local Church Conference, an evening
honoring the memory of the founder of Al-Liqa’ Center and its first director,
the late Dr. Geries Sa’ad Khoury, was held. It was introduced by Mr. Ziad
Shlewit, member of Al-Liqa’ Center in the Galilee. He began by saying: “Who
among us was not bereaved of his sudden death? Who among us was not shocked by
his unexpected departure? Who among us did not stand helpless before fate and
God’s will? Who among us did not wish that what he is passing through is a
hideous nightmare? Ten months have passed and we do not believe yet that you
left us and that you are no longer among us? Ten months have passed and we
cannot imagine that Al-Liqa’ Center, its conferences and its activities are done
without you! Ten months have passed and we have been waiting for a telephone
call from you… a consultation session… an invitation… is this an evening
honoring you… oh you who did well honoring others? Or is this a commemorative
evening and you are still present among us?”
In the evening, a number of the friends of the late Dr. Khoury talked. The first
speaker was his eminence Bishop Butros Al-Mu’allem who recalled the song of
Fayrouz “People Asked Me about You?” which she presented to her husband Asi
after his departure, in which she says: “For the first time we are not
together.” He said: “We for the first time hold Al-Liqa’ Conference without D.
Geries whom sudden death made him disappear from us.”
He was followed by Mr. Mousa Darwish, deputy director of Al-Liqa’ Center who
said about his friend that “he enjoyed moral audacity. He said what should be
said… He had one face. He continuously sought respecting the other. National
unity was his obsession and he sought respecting the other.”
His friend, lawyer Ali Rafi’ said: “Despite his many and permanent
preoccupations, he was interested in picking olives in his village in its
season. We discovered that this man did not neglect his family and his house.”
Mr. Yousef Matar talked about his relationship with Dr. Geries which goes back
to the time before the establishment of Al-Liqa’ Center. He enumerated some of
his outstanding traits. He conveyed condolences to his family and to Al-Liqa’
family on this enormous loss. Sheikh Fawwaz Hussein emphasized the importance of
what the late Dr. Khoury had achieved for his society and for thought and he
called for continuing the march of Al-Liqa’. Dr. Muhammad Habib-Allah recalled
his relationship with the late Dr. Khoury when he was deputy director of the
Arabic College of Education in Haifa, and Dr. Geries came to teach Christian
education in it, and the dialogues which took place between the two of them, and
the late Dr. Khoury’s emphasis on dialogue and shared living. Poet Attallah
Jaber and Mr. Nathmat Khamayse delivered poems elegizing the late Dr. Khoury.
The poems were replete with personal feelings and lauding the outstanding
personal traits of the late Dr. Khoury.
The final speech was by lawyer Bishara Geries Khoury, son of the late Dr.
Khoury. He thanked Al-Liqa’ Center and its Board of Trustees for all what they
did in order to continue the march which his father had begun. He emphasized
that he will continue on the national and human method.
During the evening, pictured sections of a number of the speeches of Dr. Geries
in Al-Liqa’ Conferences were shown. At the conclusion of the evening, the Board
of Trustees of Al-Liqa’ Center and its administration presented a special plaque
to the wife of Dr. Geries and his family.
Bethlehem, 3 December 2016