News from the Episcopal Diocese of Egypt

Meetings with President Carter

On Thursday the 24th of May, Bishop Mouneer met with former President of the United States Jimmy Carter. They discussed the situation in Egypt, and Bishop Mouneer shared about the role and ministry of the Anglican Church in Egypt.

Former president of the united states, Jimmy Carter presenting Bishop Mouneer with his book

 

Bishop Mouneer presented President Carter with a booklet about the new Harpur Memorial Hospital in Sadat City (see below). President Carter gave Bishop Mouneer a copy of his book "Through the Year with Jimmy Carter" a book of reflections drawn from his 30 years of experience teaching Sunday School classes.

 

After this meeting, Bishop Mouneer and President Carter went to the Coptic Orthodox Patriachate in Abbasiyia to meet with leaders of the Coptic Orthodox Church, the Presbyterian Church, and the Coptic Catholic Church.

Peace and Reconciliation

President Sadat of Egypt meets President Carter of USA in 1979The Story Began Here...

Two people (President Sadat of Egypt, and President Carter of USA) committed to reconciliation and who were ready to put their lives at risk to bring peace. One of the outcomes of the 1979 Camp David Accord, the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel, was the creation of Sadat City, the city of peace.

 

The Fruits of this Peace are….

Harpur Memorial Hospital in Sadat City; a practical interfaith dialogue and a tool to bring peace among faith communities.

 

"The Road Ahead."

2012 Caravan Festival of the Arts

The 2012 CARAVAN Festival of the Arts, with the theme of “The Road Ahead” focused on building on the new spirit of interfaith solidarity that was so beautifully illustrated during the “January 25 revolution” in 2011. The goal of the festival, hosted each year at St John's Church in Maadi, Cairo, is to build bridges between creeds (Islam and Christianity) and cultures (East and West) through the visual arts, literature, film and music.

Yousra, Dr Mahmoud Azad, Sheikh Mohammed Gemeah and Bishop Mouneer all cutting the red ribbon to open the ceremonyThe 2012 CARAVAN Festival of the Arts was officially opened by Yousra, the celebrated Egyptian actress, Dr. Mahmoud Azab (Consultant for the Grand Imam of Al Azhar for the Interfaith Dialogues), Sheikh Mo-hammed Gemeah (Member of the Al Azhar-Anglican Communion Dialogue) and Bishop Mouneer. It was joy that Bishop Michael Lewis, the Bishop of Cyprus and the Gulf, and Mrs Julia Lewis, joined us for the opening of this festival.

45 premier Middle Eastern and Western visual artists came together for a selling exhibition held inside the church with each submitting one piece of work that reflected the theme, “The Road Ahead”. 20% of all sales went to local Egyptian charities serving the poor, both Muslims and Christians.

Around the visual art exhibition, various artistic programs were held focusing on the literature and music...

 

All Saint's Cathedral, Cairo

Arabic speaking congregation

Rev Dr Bahig Ramzy with his wife Nadia

 

The Arabic speaking congregation at All Saint's Cathedral is led by Rev. Dr. Bahig Ramzy and his wife Nadia (pictured left). Rev. Bahig shares about the ministry below (summarised).

 

 

What are the main services of the church?

  • The Holy Communion service is on Sunday evenings: congregation of different ages.

  • A Youth Service on Thursday evenings; made up of university students and young working adults.

  • A family ministry; provides seminars and counselling for martial problems and parenting.

What is encouraging?

  • Wonderful meeting for junior youth, aged 12-18. It was started two years ago, and group has flourished.

  • Recently, the Youth Service finished an Alpha Course, which touched the lives of those who attended

  • Eighteen months ago we started a Bible school which gave a Bible study with a series on different biblical or scriptural studies

What is challenging?

  • We need more leaders to help in the ministry who are committed to serving the congregation.

  • We need to encourage more people of the age of 18 to 25 to attend and be involved in the ministry.

  • With a congregation that does not live local to the church and a shortage of public transport closeby we have struggled to sustain a Sunday school but despite the instability in Egypt, new families have started to join the worship.

 

Vocational Training in Ras el Soda

Over the past year, our community development centre in Ras el Soda has been partnering with Catholic Relief Services to provide training for women in sewing, dress making and handcraft skills.

In May, the manager of the centre, Mrs Salua Tamer attended a celebration in the head office of US Aid in Cairo. The centre won an award for this project because of the commitment of the staff at the centre, the quality of the products produced, and because it is the only project which served both Muslims and Christians.

Graduates of the vocatoinal training at Ras el Soda

Many women who graduated from the training applied for a micro-loan to buy a sewing machine to use their newly acquired skills to support their family.

 

"Alam bi Kalam" Education Conference

In May, representatives of the Diocese of Egypt were invited to attend an international conference focused on children's literacy. The conference was held at Al-Azhar mosque, and the representatives of the Diocese were the only Christians in attendance.

The Diocese was represented by Rev Hamdy, Mr Saleem, the director of education, and Ms Mervat Magdy, the co-ordinator of EpiscoCare‟s education program. During the conference, Mr Saleem shared about the education work of the Diocese, and Rev. Hamdy addressed the conference on behalf of Bishop Mouneer.

Read an extract of Rev Hamdy's address in the full Newsletter

 

Mothers Union in Gambella

Members of the mother's union meeting in the churchThe women of the church are at work in Gambella! The Mothers Union is active in most of the 53 Anglican churches in Gambella, Ethiopia, encouraging young women through Bible studies, prayer, advice and support about bringing up children and how to earn a living.

Every three months, two representatives from each church meet together in one place. This is a wonderful time when hundreds of visitors and locals gather for prayer and to hear God's Word. It is also a time for training, encouraging and building up strong leaders. Here is one woman's story:

One woman in a village in Gambella was sick so she called a witch doctor to heal her. Nothing happened, and she was very sick for two years. She was alone with no-one to look after her, as her daughter had married and moved to South Sudan, and her son was an alcoholic. One day, she dreamed of two people; one dressed in white and one dressed in black. The one in black said “she belongs to me” but the person in white was stronger and said “no, she belongs to me.” After this dream, she came to our church and we prayed for her. She was healed, and began to walk. After learning from the Bible, she decided to be baptised. She now comes to church, and she is well known for singing joyful songs in worship and praise.

 

In Memorial

Rev. Dan Sealy

Rev. Dan Sealy served the Diocese in North Africa during the 1970s and 1980s. He passed away in April this year, and part of his obituary follows.

“In 1978 Rev. Dan Sealy was called to serve in the Anglican Church in Libya. Ten churches, a scattered group of Christians at oil refineries and construction sites, a German engineering firm on the Tunisian border, a house group on the Egyptian border (a mere 1500 miles away!), four separate groups, Indian, Paki-stani, Egyptian Coptic and Brits, transported by air, bus, taxi and VW Beetle. After marrying Susan in 1981, they moved to Tunisia where they served together.”

 

A New Birth for the Egypt Diocesan Association (EDA)

Since 1955, the Egypt Diocesan Association has been participating in the work of the Diocese through prayer and through raising awareness of the work of the Diocese in the United Kingdom. On the 30th of June, EDA held its Annual General Meeting, which was attended by over 90 people, a record number of attendees. Some people commented that this meet-ing was like a new birth for the EDA.

Archbishop John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York and Patron of the EDA, gave the sermon at the Holy Communion Service. Bishop Mouneer gave a review of the situation in Egypt and the Middle East and answered the many questions about the Church in Egypt.

Canon Huw Thomas, the Chairman of the EDA, said of the meeting

The presence and participation of both our new patron, Archbishop Sentamu and our president, Bishop Mouneer at this year’s meeting provided the EDA with a special opportunity to attract a strong attendance, enjoy something of a festive atmosphere with an Egyptian flavour and allow some of our new committee members to present a vision of how the Association might develop...

...I salute the efforts of officers and members of the EDA Committee for their work and say a warm thank you to all our members old and new for their encouragement and support as the Association tries to keep pace with the rapid developments in the Diocese!

The Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa would like to say a big thank you to the EDA for all of their wonderful support over the years! May the Lord continue to bless this ministry of support and encouragement.

 

Read more on these stories and other news from Egypt