Lectionary Selection: Ex 20:1-4, 7-9, 12-20
Prayers for Egypt:
For a millennium, the people of Egypt have witnessed the thunder and lightning, the sound of the trumpet, and the mountain smoking – but they have thrived, embodying the ideal that that hardship from God is meant to sharpen and refine us. Although struck by the harsh currents of time, again and again, Egypt’s Coptic Christian population still stands. We pray that you illuminate them, oh Lord.
God, hold in your loving palm the works of the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services (CEOSS), the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and the United Church of Christ’s partner through Global Ministries, based in Cairo. We pray that you strengthen your children as they engage in inter-religious dialogue and local community development, as they work to build a world that embodies that most important value: to love your neighbor as you should love yourself. God, we pray that our Coptic Christian partners are able to see the fruits of their righteous labor – Christians and Muslims working together to strengthen their nation and act as a counterbalance to the dangerous tilt experienced by our world today.
As the people of Egypt continue to batten down against the health and economic effects of COVID-19, let us pray for their continued strength and dedication to your Commandments and your grand love. Nourish them, oh God. Divinely guide those responsible for negotiating the state of the Nile River, oh God, and ensure that our Egyptian kin have the sustenance they need to survive. Holy one, please protect them from those who would do them grave harm.
Inspire our church to embody the Coptic model of resilience, to remain stalwart in the face of calamities and idols both natural and man-made. Let us be led by the example of our Egyptian partners, and help them lead us to you, oh God. Give us the strength to hold our neighbor in this storm.Read more
The Executive Committee of the Middle East Council of Churches held an exceptional meeting, as the Council's Twelfth General Assembly was scheduled to take place at this time. However, the exceptional circumstances imposed by the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the inability of direct meeting between members from different countries and churches, and replacing it with virtual electronic means for the member churches in Egypt, Kuwait, Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Iraq, Iran, and Cyprus, produced a legal agreement on this exceptional meeting, which was hosted in Lebanon by His Beatitude Cardinal Mar Bechara Boutros Al-Rahi - Patriarch of Syriac Maronite Church of Antioch at the Maronite Patriarchate in Bkerke with the participation of His Beatitude Youhanna X - Patriarch of Antioch and All the East for the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Antioch and president of the Council for the Greek Orthodox Family, His Holiness Mor Ignatius Aphrem II - Patriarch of Antioch and All the East and Supreme Head of the Universal Syriac Orthodox Church who is the president of the Council for the Eastern Orthodox Family, and Right Rev. Dr. Habib Badr, President of the National Evangelical Union Lebanon and president of the Council for the Evangelical Family. His Beatitude Mar Louis Raphael Sako – Patriarch of Babylon for Chaldeans and president of the Council for the Catholic family, participated electronically from Iraq. And in a generous initiative, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II - Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church hosted members of the Committee from the various churches in Egypt at the Papal Headquarters in the Coptic Orthodox Church of in Cairo.Read more
In a gesture of love and solidarity and as an expression of brotherhood between the Egyptian and Lebanese citizens, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria answered the MECC Beirut appeal in response to the Port Explosion, which occurred on the 4th of August, by relieving the devastated Beirut and its afflicted people. This first contribution was a shipment of food aid and medicines transferred to Beirut airport on board two military aircrafts that arrived through a military airlift by the order of Egyptian President Mohamed Abdel Fattah El-Sisi to send aid from Egypt to Beirut.Read more
“Hierro con hierro se aguza; y así el hombre aguza el rostro de su amigo.” Proverbios 27:17
En 2020, el mundo está desgastado. El COVID-19 influye en todos los aspectos de nuestra vida pública, privada y profesional. Grupos de personas que nunca se han enfrentado a desafíos estructurales ahora se encuentran restringidos por primera vez. Aquellos que se han encontrado saltando obstáculos para sobrevivir están empezando a ver que esos obstáculos son cada vez más altos cada día. Muchas regiones afectadas por el COVID-19 carecen de recursos esenciales como suministros médicos, disponibilidad de camas de hospital y alimentos básicos. La desinformación es desenfrenada y la falta de seguir las precauciones de seguridad amenaza la estabilidad y los medios de vida locales, especialmente para aquellas personas que ya enfrentan desventajas en la sociedad.Read more
Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens the wits of another. Proverbs 27:17
In 2020, the world is frayed. COVID-19 influences every aspect of our public, private, and professional lives. Groups of people who have never faced structural challenges now find themselves constricted for the first time. Those who have found themselves jumping over hurdles to survive are beginning to see that those hurdles are getting taller each day. Many regions affected by COVID-19 lack essential resources such as medical supplies, hospital bed availability, and staple foods. Misinformation runs rampant, and a lack of following safety precautions threatens local stability and livelihoods, especially for those people who already face disadvantages in society.Read more
“Iron sharpens iron, and one person sharpens the wits of another.” (Proverbs 27:17, NRSV)
I am fascinated with wisdom literature. I spend time reading through my favored texts - Buddhist Scripture, Idries Shah’s Rumi-centric Hundred Tales of Wisdom, and Benedicta Ward’s translation of the Sayings of the Desert Fathers. Such works have exposed me to a wide variety of perspectives on human and spiritual fulfillment, many of which are joined together by a shared sinew of belief: collectively, we humans are preoccupied with what’s directly in front of us – thus, we often prevent ourselves from being able to see the “big picture”.Read more
In response to the Higher Committee for Human Fraternity’s latest initiative, the Global Initiative for “Human Fraternity," the Middle East Council of Churches renews its appeal for people to actively participate tomorrow, on the 14th of May 2020, in a day of prayer, fasting, invocation, and charity, each according to his/her own religion or sect or belief, asking God to help us overcome the Corona pandemic which is threatening the lives of millions of people, to inspire scientists to discover the appropriate cure, and to save the world from the medical, economic, and human consequences of this detrimental virus.Read more
The city of Cairo is approximately 1,191 square miles – roughly the same size as Rhode Island, the diminutive locale where I and about a million others have lived for most of our lives. For many people in the Ocean State, a twenty-minute trip in the car is often “a little too much;” taking the highway to Boston may elicit gasps or groans and travel outside of New England is spoken of in hushed, aggrieved tones.Read more
Written by the Rev. Dr. Andrea Zaki, President
The Protestant Churches of Egypt
and The Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services
Dear partners and friends,
Our world today is going through a serious health crisis the Coronavirus (COVID-19)which threatens the health and lives of thousands of people, but we trust in God's ability to save the whole world and we pray that this crisis will end soon.
For the first time in Egypt , all churches and mosques have suspended all their spiritual activities until the end of this month. This decision was taken to protect the lives of citizens and to help minimize the spread of this dangerous virus.Read more
The classical historian Herodotus wrote that Egypt is the gift of the Nile. Having recently surpassed an official population count of 100 million, Egypt remains dependent on adequate flow of Nile River water for drinking, agriculture, and generation of hydroelectric power. Egypt and Ethiopia have been in negotiations to reach a fair and just allocation of Nile River water since Ethiopia announced that it would begin construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam ten years ago. The dam, located near the northern border of Ethiopia, was proposed in order to harvest hydroelectric power that would contribute to Ethiopia’s development. At the same time, the dam would constrict the flow of Nile water to Sudan and to Egypt, and so Egypt has opposed the construction of the dam without an agreement in place to ensure adequate access to water, despite asserting its support for the successful development of Ethiopia.Read more