Weir, who with his wife Carol served as missionaries in Lebanon with the Presbyterian Church (USA) for nearly 30 years, was kidnapped off the streets of Beirut in May 1984. The kidnapping was done by an Islamic fundamentalist group, Islamic Jihad, that later evolved into Hezbollah. He was freed 16 months later in exchange for US anti-tank weapons, as part of the Iran-Contra Affair. Shortly thereafter he was elected moderator of the 1986 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church, the highest elected office in that denomination.
He remains one of the world’s most respected voices for peace and reconciliation in the Middle East for the past 30 years.
The book "Hostage Bound Hostage Free" tells the story of his captivity from his perspective as well as his wife's.
While a student at UC Berkeley, Weir was initiated into the Beta chapter of Alpha Gamma Omega, a Christ-Centered Fraternity. Later he attended San Francisco Theological Seminary. One of Weir's fellow students at the seminary, James Caulkins, recently recalled Weir's experience: Weir was placed in a cell without light, a straw mattress and a bucket. He saw no one. Bread and water were passed through a small opening in the door once a day. Every three or four days an empty bucket was exchanged. He was there for over a year. He had no contact with his family or anyone else in the outside world. Each day he would make a mark on the wall indicating another day in confinement. Each day he would save a corner of the bread given him. Later he would use it for communion that he observed each day. Later on he was able to get one of the guards to smuggle an Aramaic New Testament into him. Weir attributed his ability to maintain hope and experience God’s faithfulness to these practices. The Reverend Weir died on October 14, 2016.
- "Benjamin Weir's Secret Passage". TIME. 1985-09-30. Retrieved 2010-01-27.
- James Caulkins, personal recollection, sermon notes May 2016
- http://www.pcusa.org/news/2016/10/14/former-pcusa-moderator-benjamin-weir-dies/. Missing or empty
Elder William H. Wilson
|Moderator of the 198th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (USA)
| Succeeded by|
Elder Isabel W. Rogers