Advent Greetings

Advent is a period of “waiting” – looking for the coming of Christ as Child and King. We are very aware, in the Egypt Diocesan Association, of waiting …

  • in Egypt, with Bishop Mouneer in his leadership and striving for clarification of the Diocese’s relationship with the Protestant Council that is currently claiming oversight before the Egyptian government of Anglican ministry.
  • in the Horn of Africa, with the recent departures of both Dr Johann & Lousie Vanderbijl and Bishop Grant & Dr Wendy LeMarquand for serious health reasons and the consequent need for an episcopal leader for the Area and a director for the St Frumentius campus of the Alexandria School of Theology.
  • in North Africa, with Bishop Samy getting to know and give episcopal oversight in delicate and changing church scenes, especially with the development of indigenous congregations and the building of the St Cyprian centre.
  • in the diocese as a whole, with those caught up in warfare, targeted acts of terrorism, insecurity, flight as refugees, the search for economic betterment and associated risks of trafficking, persecution as new believers, fragmented families, poverty, health needs.

In the Advent waiting, may we respond to the whispers of the Holy Spirit concerning God’s presence through his Son in our human midst, discern him in one another and will to follow our Lord in his service to a needy world. In Scripture, “Good News” is announced just as much in the waiting as in the fulfilling. Think, for example, of the angel’s words to Mary: ‘You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High’ (Luke 1:31-32).

Advent greetings to all.

+Bill

Tewkesbury Refugee Support Group – First hand Experience

Visit to Cairo in October 2017

Five members of the Committee and a Cheltenham Refugee supporter went to see what Refuge Egypt does at firsthand.

Refuge Egypt has been part of the Episcopal Church’s service to the needy of Cairo since 1986. We stayed at the Guesthouse, next to the Cathedral, and the Partnership Office of the diocese helped plan and carry out our programme.

We were able to visit many of the centres listed in www.refuge-egypt.org  and were very impressed both by the high level of need and by the wonderful dedication of all the workers at these centres.

In the area of Nasr City referred to as Kilo 4.5 we saw the Medical Centre based in the Coptic Church building, then Cairo Poem by Sylvia Miles went on to the Sudanese Primary School in an apartment block, and then the Community Centre in another apartment. Finally, we went to the Episcopal Church in the Heliopolis area to meet some of the Sudanese who were attending the Bible School there.

Next day, we went to 6th October City just outside Cairo to visit the Medical Centre, the Craft workshop for Deaf

people, and a Nursery. Usually many Syrians attend here, but there were Sudanese only on that day.

On Monday we went to an apartment in the Maadi area to see the toddlers groups, and then on to the Deaf School.

Next day we joined the team, which regularly visits expatriate prisoners out at Canater Prison, before returning to see what happens in the Cathedral compound at Zamalek. Here many refugees are helped to register with the UNHCR; women are trained to get work as Domestic servants; there is a Craft workshop and another Medical Centre. Two of us also met some of the Sudanese Mothers Union, since Gloucester has a link with them.

Included in the programme were visits to the Museum, the Pyramids, the ancient churches in Old Cairo, the Muqattam cave churches and a meal on a tourist boat on the Nile. We were indebted to Bishop Mouneer and his excellent staff, without whose help this would all have been impossible.

Report by Tony Cullingford (husband of Connie who ran the Guesthouse from 1997 -1999).  Photos by Richard Haynes.

 

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