This letter comes with warmest wishes for 2015 and renewed thanks for your generous support of EDA in the year passing. I plan to be in Cairo early in January for a few days and will as always convey to friends old and new your greetings and appreciation of the way in which our members are kept up to date with diocesan news from Egypt, Ethiopia and North Africa by way of the high quality of the monthly communications.
In recent weeks, staff changes in Cairo and the essential period of recovery following our good secretary’s major heart surgery in late summer have put extra strain on regular correspondence and we can only be full of praise and thanks for the way in which the administration has nonetheless been maintained. Together, Rosie Fyfe in Cairo and Joseph Wasef in Croydon have operated so successfully. We send our good wishes to Rosie for the next chapter of her life and to Joseph for a full recovery as he continues his dedicated work on our behalf.
In 1955 we were still the Egypt and Sudan Churches Association. However it was then thought expedient politically and practically to separate the two ecclesiastical regions, and so at the year’s end the Egypt Church Association was instituted and with the later expansion of the diocese, our present name of the Egypt Diocesan Association was adopted. So the coming year brings our 60th Birthday and we shall mark this in part by holding our AGM on June 12th at Lambeth Palace by the kind invitation of Archbishop Justin who will preside at the Eucharist and be present for Bishop Mouneer’s presentation. Please mark the date in your new diary and then await further details from our secretary. Possibly we shall need advance notice this year of members’ attendance and the timings of the meeting will need some adjustment. More later!
During this year, in November, with the help of our Patron, Archbishop Sentamu and the support of the Bishop of Blackburn and the Cathedral’s Dean and Chapter we launched a branch of the EDA in the Northern Province and now look forward to its development in the years ahead. Many thanks are due the Reverend Dr. Shannon Ledbetter, Community Canon in Blackburn for her initiative and work. In Blackburn, with its great Asian/Muslim population there is much to be gained from sharing interfaith and intercultural encounters and in this we have lessons to learn from Egypt so it is very much a two-ways venture.
As ever we hold Bishop Mouneer, Bishop Bill and Bishop Grant in our prayers as they guide and encourage their churches through continuing turbulence throughout the region. Each area of the diocese is experiencing growth and renewal despite the troubled political context, and witnessing to the Christmas message of Emmanuel—God with us.
May we know God with us in the year ahead…and us to be with God