Children and youth sing during a worship service.

On June 3, 2017, First Arabic Presbyterian Church (FAPC) made history by becoming an official church of the Presbyterian Church U.S.A. Not only is FAPC the first congregation of Sudanese/Arabic-speaking individuals, it is also the only new church to be chartered in our presbytery in nearly 30 years. J. Herbert Nelson, the Stated Clerk of our denomination, was present that day and described it as “a hallelujah moment.” Indeed, it was!

But the hallelujahs did not end there. One year after its inception, FAPC formed the non-profit Arabic Outreach Center (AOC) to serve as the mission arm of the church. The AOC assists those new to American culture by providing translation services, transportation, emotional support, household items for new arrivals, and products for new babies. The AOC’s ministry also includes Arabic classes, a women’s empowerment group, and tutoring for children of immigrants and refugees.

In spite of many challenges the congregation has faced since 2017 – including a crippling pandemic – FAPC has grown in both membership and ministry. More than 1,200 people participate in worship each week, either in person or online, from as many as 15 countries around the world! And people receive assistance and services from the AOC each year as well. For countless Arabic-speaking people – both Christian and Muslim – FAPC and the AOC have become a haven of faith and beacon of hope.

Worship is streamed on Facebook each Sunday at 2:00 p.m., and in person at Cottage Grove Church (1050 24th Street in Des Moines) at 4:00 p.m. Services are primarily held in Arabic, but some English is also spoken. In-person Sunday school classes are offered following the 4:00 service. Bible study is offered on Zoom on Friday evenings at 6:00 p.m., and a Women’s Bible study meets on Zoom on Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m. For more information, email Pastor Ekram.

Communion is shared during worship.