Reported in Anglican Communion News Service on 2 October 2017
A new state of the art media centre for the Anglican Diocese of Egypt has been officially opened by Pope Tawadros II, leader of the Coptic Orthodox Church. The diocese is one of four in the province of Jerusalem and the Middle East.
The new studio contains a range of media technology, including cameras and recording devices. It will be used to “serve God’s kingdom in the Arab world through media”, the diocese said.
The media centre was opened last month during the fourth annual meeting of the Egypt Council of Churches. In addition to Pope Tawadros, the leaders of five other Christian churches in Egypt were present for the opening ceremony, including Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac, of the Catholic Church in Egypt; Andrea Zaki, of the Presbyterian Church in Egypt; Theodorus II, of the Greek Orthodox Church, and Bishop Mouneer Anis of the Anglican Church in Egypt.
The Council of Churches Meeting began with a closed session during which the leaders evaluated last year’s strategy and discussed modifications for the future. Afterwards, the secretary general read a report to an audience, which detailed the achievements of the previous year, including the formation of a woman’s ministry committee from different churches, a choir with members from a variety of churches, and the completion of the translation of the gospel of Mark into Egyptian Sign Language.
The project was a joint initiative of the Coptic Orthodox Church and the Anglican Church in Egypt. Six church leaders worked together on the project, including Deacon Clement Clément Alfous, who was ordained this year to serve the Jesus light of the World Episcopal Church for the Deaf in Old Cairo.
Alfous, who is the first deaf person to be ordained in the Middle East, is a former lay reader who “contributed greatly to the stability and growth of the ministry in the deaf church.”
There are approximately three million deaf people in Egypt who understand Egyptian Sign Language, which is also understood by many deaf people from other Middle Eastern countries.
This translation of the gospel of Mark is “the first and only one of its kind in the Arab world,” the diocese said.
The four-year project began with discussion to ensure the team understood the text of the Bible; before a translation of the text was produced by both hearing- and deaf-members of the team that could be signed in a way that the deaf could understand.
“After that, the translated gospel was sent to other deaf people abroad in order to ensure that the language transferred the proper meaning,” the diocese said. “Finally, the translation was evaluated, and modified as needed. Much of the work was performed by the deaf, keeping in line with the vision of the deaf discipling the deaf.”
At the end of the Council of Churches meeting, the members of the council added a fifth building block to a symbolic church together, representing the building of relationships over the past year.