Dear members and friends of the Egypt Diocesan Association (EDA);
A dear friend recently gave me a copy of M. Kamel Hussein’s City of Wrong: A Friday in Jerusalem. I was glad to read it again this autumn. In 1957, Dr Hussein was awarded the Egyptian State Prize for Literature for this artistic, creative expression of what went on during “Good Friday” in Jerusalem. His composition carefully focuses through imaginative storytelling on “intention” rather than on historical detail. He seeks to bypass the massive distinction between Christian and Muslim recalling of what “in fact” happened to Jesus on that famous Friday. He achieves this avoidance of incompatible recollections by looking at “the will to crucify” Jesus. Muslim and Christian strongly concur in acknowledging that humanity, and especially human-beings-with-political/religious-authority, can be incredibly misled, incredibly arrogant, incredibly wrong. As Kenneth Cragg summarises in the introduction to his translation of this “novel”, “Jerusalem, then, is a representative locus of the representative wrongness of the world, when, on Black Friday, it wrongs Jesus, and in Him, God, Jerusalem and humanity, in the act which elects that He be crucified”.
In rereading Hussein’s imaginative account, I reread also Bishop Kenneth Cragg’s introduction to the book that he has translated with all his unique understanding of the Qur’an and Islamic religious perspective at his fingertips. If you want a sensitive, audience-related critique of the Islamic perspective on Jesus balanced by an equally sensitive, audience-related suggestion of an orthodox Christian understanding of Jesus, then have a (re)read of Kenneth Cragg’s fourteen-page introduction to City of Wrong. It would make as good a study in Advent as in Lent – and begs the question of us Christians in these weeks before Christmas: what does Scripture reveal of “intention” in the mix of characters
 M. Kamel Hussein, City of Wrong: A Friday in Jerusalem, translated by Kenneth Cragg (Oneworld, Oxford, 1994), p 17.
involved in incarnation? Think of Zechariah, Elizabeth, foetal Baptist, Mary, Joseph, Gabriel, Herod, shepherds, the holy innocents, Anna, Simeon, wise men, … Godhead – Father, Son, Holy Spirit!
“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12; English Standard Version)
EDA Trustees meeting; October 2019
We were delighted to welcome Canon Richard Hibbert, elected as a new trustee during our June AGM, to the EDA Trustees meeting in October. We were equally delighted to welcome to the meeting Michael Maddox who, during the summer, generously pursued his sense of calling to the role of Honorary Secretary of the EDA. By the end of the Trustees meeting, Michael was confirmed as Honorary Secretary and Trustee of the EDA. Thank you for your prayers for just such an appointment. I have asked Michael to add a brief “bio” of himself to this letter.
As trustees we feel liberated to be through the process of putting the EDA on a more secure footing as a CIO. We were able to spend most of the Trustees meeting dreaming, planning and proposing to find strategic ways to grow the EDA – especially through recruiting some of the more recent visitors to/workers in the wide-flung Diocese to become part of our charity back here in the UK. We would also like to engage more UK churches in supporting the Diocese through the EDA – maybe beginning with appealing to the churches of EDA members. We hope that members may assist us in a variety of ways as we develop some strategies and materials for these ends. Meanwhile, we do have some attractive leaflets that are available for your use. We are also arranging for these to be made available to UK and other visitors to the diocese, in situ (and especially in Cairo). If you could also use some of these leaflets, please get in touch with Michael Maddox (email@example.com).
We would like to develop further our “web presence”. Doug Thornton has done a lot of wonderful, recent work updating and upgrading our EDA website, but he and we feel that the time has come for a new Webmaster to be found to take on this strategic role. Please see further details at the end of this newsletter and help us find the person who can best assist. Again, if anyone shows interest, please be in touch with Doug Thornton directly or through our Hon. Secretary.
Autumn has been a busy time at diocesan headquarters and the cathedral in Cairo! Ven Rajan, who visited our Annual Gathering in the summer, was consecrated bishop and appointed Assistant Bishop for the new Gambella Episcopal Area. The diocese hosted the Global South Anglicans conference at which important steps were taken to consolidate and enhance the composition and functioning of this highly significant representative fellowship. A deputation from the Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) visited Ethiopia, Egypt and Jordan to meet with diocesan and provincial personnel in response to the Diocese’s request to be transformed into a Province of the Anglican Communion.
I am pleased to be able to report that some candidates are emerging for potential appointment to posts throughout the diocese serving English-speaking congregations. We continue to pray for Canon Huw Thomas in his generous long-locum role at Holy Trinity, Algiers.
Your prayers are requested for Ven Emad Basilios, Archdeacon of Egypt. He recently suffered a clot in the ocular artery and has lost sight in one eye.
We thank God for friends from Northern Ireland who are willing to form a “chapter” of the EDA in Northern Ireland. Through the kind auspices of CMSI, we are planning that the diocesan visitor/speaker to our EDA Annual Gathering in June 2020 will go on to speak at a “focus event” there.
Can I remind you that we have booked time and space at St Michael’s, Chester Square on Thursday, 25th June, 2020 for our Annual Gathering next year. Please make a note now of the date then. I am so pleased that Bishop Mouneer will, Deo volente, be joining us for that event.
Thank you for your ongoing interest in the diocese, and your support of many ministries and people within it. I hope, for those of you with access to the internet, that you keep in touch directly through the diocesan website (http://dioceseofegypt.org) as well as through our own website (http://edaegypt.org.uk/). Churches/ministries in various places throughout the diocese also post news on their own websites – most of these are accessible via links from the diocesan/EDA websites.
as your kingdom dawns,
turn us from the darkness of sin to the light of holiness,
that we may be ready to meet you
in our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.
 Subject to confirmation after the appointment of a new vicar at St Michael’s.
Introducing our new Honorary Secretary
Michael Maddox, who had a full career as a Royal Navy Officer, became a member of the EDA while serving as Naval Attaché Cairo and worshipping at All Saints’ Cathedral in the early 1990s. He retained a close link with the region as trustee (until 2015) of a bridge building charity – British Arab Exchanges.
Michael, and his wife Victoria, moved to Brighton about 6 years ago; they worship at St Margaret’s Church in Rottingdean. Michael is a volunteer at Blind Veterans (UK) and the National Coastal Watch Institute – Newhaven Branch (with Bishop Bill!). A keen sailor, he owns a (very) small section of a classic yacht – Brighton Belle!
Egyptian Diocese Association – Webmaster required!
The objective of the website is to provide up-to-date information on the EDA and the diocese. This includes giving notice of current activities and plans for the future, as well as providing historical records for both EDA and diocese. Our Facebook page adds to the means of communication and needs to be further developed as a communication tool.
The EDA is seeking a volunteer to take on the overall direction of our social media requirements, both website and facebook page. That volunteer will:
- post items as requested by the chairman and members of the committee. It would be an advantage for the webmaster to be a member of the EDA and, ideally, a trustee, in order to be in direct receipt of current information concerning the activities of EDA and the diocese. News from the Bishop and main diocesan posts automatically appear on the EDA site, but there are other sites operated by diocesan organisations and individuals whose posts do not appear automatically on our site.
- conduct an audit of our current uses of social media and suggest any changes or improvements.
- be (or be willing to become) familiar with the WordPress system used for the website.
Interested persons should kindly contact our Hon Secretary (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Doug Thornton.
PS – I have just been made aware, by one of our members, of the following publication concerning a sister diocese in the Province of Jerusalem & the Middle East. The book will be launched in the New Year: Angela Murray, The Anglican Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf – the Unfolding Story. Details may be found at www.Gilgamesh-Publishing.Co.Uk/The-Anglican-Diocese-Of-Cyprus-And-The-Gulf.html, or consult with Sibella Laing (email@example.com).