God’s Hand at Work: Fruit from Egypt, North Africa, and the Horn of Africa in 2017

 

 

 

My dear Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  1. On behalf of all of my colleagues in the Diocese of Egypt, I would like to thank you so much for your great support to the ministry of the Diocese. Without such support, we would not have been able to do what we have done. THANK YOU.
  2. As you know, I have finished my two terms as a Primate of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East. I thank God for this opportunity to serve the province during these years. Last May, we had our Provincial Synod during which both the Diocese of Jerusalem and Cyprus agreed to divide the term of the Primacy among themselves. This was a miraculous solution to this delicate issue.
  3. During the Provincial Synod meeting, I proposed that we review the structure of the province. The structure of the province was determined in 1976. This means that we have been following this structure for 41 years. My proposal was agreed with by Archbishop Suheil, and seconded by Bishop Michael Lewis. During the coming Standing Committee, we will discuss this, and I request that you pray that the Lord would bless us with wisdom and grace.
  4. We in the Diocese of Egypt rejoiced at the appointment of Bishop Samy Fawzy as Area Bishop of North Africa. We also thank God for the ministry of Bishop Grant LeMarquand in the Area of the Horn of Africa. We rejoice that the number of churches has grown tremendously in the Gambella region to 125 churches. The needs of these churches, however, are great. Some of these churches collapse during the rainy season because they are made of mud and thatch.
  5. We rejoice at the Synod’s decision to develop the Diocese into a new province. We know that it in order to do this it will be a lengthy process.
  6. You can watch a ten-minute video summary of what is currently happening at the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa at the link here. You can also watch a two-minute video on the Horn of Africa here.

 

May the Lord bless you.

Yours in Christ,

+Mouneer

 

The Year at a Glance

 

New institutions:

  • Home for the elderly in Sadat City
  • All Saints Garden Conference Center
  • New Episcopal/Anglican Media Center
  • Minya Community Development Project and Alexandria School of Theology branch

 

New projects and programs:

  • Leadership Development Program
  • Discipleship of the whole Diocese
  • Together We Develop Egypt

 

The Highlights of Last Year

Egypt

 1. Lay Leadership Conference in February 2017

In February, the different Anglican churches across the diocese sent their potential lay minsters to attend a special training. The conference aimed to increase the awareness of the Anglican Church and how to become more involved in its ministry. The Anglican Church in Egypt has a vision of serving the whole society and witnessing to Christ. The attendees were able to grasp the vision and how to become a part of it with the help of the Holy Spirit.

2. Discipleship of the Diocese

The Diocese formed a new discipleship committee. The committee will help the local churches to apply different discipleship programs led by local discipleship committees or local ministers. The committee is composed of different members from different churches of different age groups. The committee recently nominated Ms. Hanan Fawzy, an active church member of the Church of Epiphany in Port Said, to be the coordinator of the committee.

3. Primates of the Global South Meeting

The Primates of the Global South met in Cairo from 8 September to 9 September 2017 in order to work together on a new structure for the Global South and discuss arising issues. In addition to discussion, the group also had time for prayer, worship, and communion. The members of the group shared the challenges and blessings that their regions are facing. They also spent their time working on a new structure for the Global South, placing an emphasis on Ministry Formation, Economic Empowerment, Mission Partnerships, Discipleship, and Youth Ministry. Bishop Mouneer finished his two terms as a Primate.

4. The Official Opening of All Saints Garden Conference Center

The Right Reverend Rennis Ponniah, Bishop of Singapore, Archbishop Kwan Kim, Chekphang, Ven Wong Tak and Keth Chua played an important role in the opening of the All Saints Garden Conference Center.

Dr.Farid Fadel and his wife Dr. Mona Zaki offered a very special gift made by Dr. Fadel himself that left a unique imprint on the place. The gift included paintings that gave the place a beautiful and artistic look.

The conference center has 16 rooms that can accommodate approximately 60 people. The center also includes a meeting hall that can accommodate more than 100 people, and is equipped with the latest technology.

5. Creating the “Together We Develop Egypt” Project

After the success of “Together for Egypt”, which reshaped the relationships of Muslim Imams and Christian priests over the last three years, the participating priests and imams decided to take it one step further by together beginning the “Together We Develop Egypt” project. The project seeks to encourage youth of both religions to effectively work together to develop Egypt. The project was started for the benefit of the local communities such as El-Menya, the Canal cities, Salam City, Tenth of Ramadan City and the Al Warak area. The event was full of workshops that motivated and enabled our youth to use their skills for the good of their communities.

6. Bishop Mouneer Takes Part in the “Freedom, Citizenship, Diversity, Integration” Conference

Bishop Mouneer Hanna Anis received an invitation to attend a conference arranged by Al Azhar Al Sharif and the Council of the Muslims Elders. The theme of the conference was “Freedom, Citizenship, Diversity and Integration”. It was held the 28th of February to the 1st of March, 2017.

The bishop’s speech was based on maintaining human rights, which is mentioned in all religions. He quoted two verses; one from the Holy Bible and the other from the Quran.

7. Anglican Diocese Hosts the Fourth Anniversary of the Egyptian Council of Churches

On Thursday, September 21, 2017, the Anglican Diocese of Egypt hosted the fourth anniversary of the Egypt Council of Churches. Different churches were represented by the five church leaders present: Pope Tawadros II, the Pope of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Patriarch Ibrahim Isaac, representing the Catholic Church in Egypt, Andrea Zaki, the president of the Presbyterian Church in Egypt, Theodorus II, of the Greek Orthodox Church, and Bishop Mouneer Anis of the Anglican Church in Egypt.

 8. Election of the New Primate in the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East

The Synod, after prayerful discernment, reached the unanimous decision to elect Archbishop Suheil Dawani of the Diocese of Jerusalem as the next Primate of the Province from 17 May 2017 for a period of two and a half years ending on 16 November 2019, to be followed by Bishop Michael Lewis of the Diocese of Cyprus and the Gulf as the Primate of the Province from 17 November 2019 for a period of two and a half years ending on 16 May 2022.

9. Opening of the New Anglican Media Center

At the fourth annual meeting of the Egypt Council of Churches on September 21 2017, Pope Twardous II officially opened the new Episcopal Media Center in the Anglican Diocese of Egypt. There were 5 other church leaders present. Afterwards, the studio held its first press conference.

The new media center is equipped with state-of-the-art technology, including layered, soundproof walls, and a variety of cameras and recording devices.

The vision of the Episcopal Media Center is to serve God’s kingdom in the Arab world through media.

10. Gusour and Arkan Cultural Centers

The cultural centers continued to hold a variety of events this year, including movie and discussion nights, lectures, and concerts. All of these provide a welcoming atmosphere for young Muslims and Christians to learn together, and to engage with each other.

11. Bishop Mouneer Speaks at El Alamein Remembrance Ceremony

Bishop Mouneer gave an address at the memorial of the 75th Anniversary of the Battle of El Alamein. During his speech, he reminded attendees of those who sacrificed their lives for their countries. He discussed how Jesus calls us to be peacemakers, and how we need to work together in the face of violence and extremism. He prayed that God would grant us grace, determination, and hope so that we could proclaim the love and peace of Christ during these difficult times.

12. Expansion of Ministries in Menouf

This October, Bishop Mouneer visited the school in Menouf for the celebration of opening new classrooms. The parents of the children there are so pleased with the quality of education that they are urging the Diocese to begin offering secondary school classes. Bishop Mouneer also visited the Harpur Menouf hospital, as they recently began building a new outpatient clinic. A nursing school was also started at Harpur Menouf this year. It began with 10 students, 4 teachers, and 2 translators.

13. Extending Anglican Ministries to Upper Egypt

This last year we were able to purchase a piece of land in the city of New Minya. We are planning to build a community development center there, as well as lecture rooms for the Upper Egypt AST branch, and a small guest house. We believe that having a ministry for the Anglican Church in Upper Egypt will help us pursue our objective to reach the unreached and will definitely increase the number of our church membership. We also purchased 25 acres in Minya. We hope to invest in this land so that it will bring income to the different ministries in this area.

14. Leadership and Management Master Course

By the end of this year, we will accomplish the first class on developing leaders within our diocese. We are doing this Masters course in cooperation with the Church Missionaries Society in the UK and International Vision University in the USA. We will have a graduation party for five of our future leaders next April.

 

Our Prayer Requests

  • Unfortunately we are still facing the problem of recognition. The Protestant churches of Egypt continue to put pressure on us to be under them. We are going through court cases. Please pray for this issue.
  • Pray for the funding of our new project in El Minya. See above.

 

The Horn of Africa

1. Bishop Grant’s Resignation

Bishop Grant announced his resignation at the conclusion of the graduation of the Alexandria School of Theology at All Saints’ Cathedral in Cairo Egypt, July 29, 2017. Unfortunately, his wife, Dr. Wendy, has health problems that would make it impossible for her to continue living in Ethiopia. We completely understand these reasons behind Bishop Grant’s resignation, but we will miss him and Dr. Wendy very much.

Bishop Grant asks that you would keep him and Dr. Wendy in your prayers as they seek God’s guidance during this period of transition.

2. Harvest of the Last Ten Years in Ethiopia

In 2006, Reverend Andrew Proud, the vicar of St. Matthew’s in Addis Ababa, presented me with a proposal for enhancing the mission in the Horn of Africa. I was impressed by this proposal, and decided to create a new episcopal area in the Horn of Africa. I was convinced that this area had the potential to become a diocese in the future. At that time, there were only nine churches in the Horn of Africa: seven in Ethiopia, one in Eritrea, and one in Somalia. We used the catholic church’s building for our meetings in Djibouti. In Ethiopia, there was one church in Addis Ababa, one church in Gambella, three churches in Pinyidu refugee camp, one in Dima Refugee Camp, and one in Sherkole refugee camp. In 2007, we consecrated Reverend Andrew Proud as the first area bishop of the Horn of Africa. Some of my brother bishops were astonished that I was willing to share my episcopal ministry with others, however, I was very confident that this decision was what was best for the church in the area.

Last week, I spent a few days in Ethiopia and I saw the harvest of the last ten years. In Gambella and the eastern part of Ethiopia, the number of churches has increased from seven to one hundred and twenty-five. Both Bishop Andrew Proud and Bishop Grant LeMarquand have worked very hard to organize and expand the ministry in this area. During my time in Gambella, I attended the general assembly and I was impressed by the obvious maturity of the churches. Bishop Grant has helped them to become more self-reliant than they were before. They still receive a lot of support from the episcopal area, but they no longer request help for minor issues like they used to in the past.

The Mothers Union is now very active in educating other women on how to combat the major killers of children in their area: diarrhea and malaria. Credit for this goes to Dr. Wendy LeMarquand, who dedicated her time to teaching the women in the Mothers Union.

During my visit, a representative from the Mothers Union stood in the middle of the assembly and shared her experience. “We are now able to save our children from the major killers in the community, diarrhea and malaria,” she said. “Dr. Wendy taught us how to treat diarrhea in a very simple way. We are now able to prepare oral rehydration fluid in our homes. We were able to save our children, and the news of our success spread throughout the area. Now many women don’t go to the witch doctor, and instead they seek our help and advice.”

“The second major killer of our children in Gambella is malaria. We didn’t know that malaria is caused by mosquitoes. We also learned how to protect our children from mosquito bites by using nets, and how to keep the mosquitoes away by using the leaves of the neem tree. We gather the leaves and burn them, and the smoke drives the mosquitoes away. We are so grateful for Dr. Wendy, who taught us many useful things. We now travel to other villages in order to teach other women how to stop the deaths of their children.”

The youth representatives in the general assembly also shared their stories. “Youth are causing problems in our community. They rape girls. They fight among themselves and get drunk. HIV/AIDS is spreading because of all of this. They also don’t come to church. We discovered that work is the best treatment for all of these problems. Poverty and lack of work also lead many girls to prostitution. We encouraged the youth to do simple jobs so that they can earn a living and stay busy. We also preached the gospel to them. This helped many of them to turn to Jesus. Many of them stopped practicing immoral acts. They also stopped consuming alcohol, and started coming to church. This is transforming our community. As youth leaders, we meet twice a month to share these stories and to pray.” The youth have a goal to transform the area of Gambella by preaching the gospel.

Not only was I very encouraged by these stories, but I was also very happy to see that the new St. Barnabas Church building is finished, and used often. There is also a new church, St. Luke’s, in the Neur area.

The amount of tribal conflicts has decreased in the Anglican area. This is something we praise the Lord for. I was also encouraged to see expatriate and local staff working together in the Anglican Center in Gambella. History was made there last week when Bishop Grant ordained five new priests and three new deacons. One of the deacons was the first ever Ethiopian Amharic-speaking Anglican deacon. Now we are very close to seeing our dream of the area of Gambella becoming an independent diocese under local leadership come true.

 

Our Prayer Requests

  • Please pray for us during the process of appointing the new area bishop in the Horn of Africa.
  • Pray for Bishop Grant and Dr. Wendy as they leave Ethiopia.

North Africa

1. Bishop Samy’s Consecration

 In a moving ceremony at All Saints Cathedral, Cairo on February 27, 2017, Archbishop Mouneer Hanna Anis consecrated his ‘dear brother’ Rev. Samy Fawzy as the first Arab area bishop for North Africa.

Bishop Fawzy succeeds Bishop Bill Musk, who presided over the diocese encompassing Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya since 2008. Bishop Musk was honored and thanked for his time of service, and participated in Fawzy’s consecration.

2. Bishop Mouneer and Bishop Samy visit North Africa for Pastoral Visit

Bishop Anis and Bishop Fawzy visited North Africa, Tunisia and Algeria, for a pastoral visit. The aim of the visit was to introduce the new Area Bishop for North Africa to our churches in North Africa as well as our ecumenical partners. One of the responsibilities of the area bishop is to be able to engage with the authorities; this visit allowed formal introduction between the two parties for fruitful future communications.

3. New Clinic at Christ the King Church in Tripoli

Christ the King Anglican Church, located in Tripoli, Libya, has organized a free medical clinic as part of their effort to make basic healthcare accessible to all. The clinic is open on Tuesdays between 9am and 11am. Many poor urban families in the area have no healthcare facilities or qualified healthcare workers available to them. At Christ the King Church’s clinic, they receive the care that they need, and are also given information about diseases and their prevention. Through this ministry, the church is living up to its motto of “serving and enriching lives.”

4. Canon Huw Thomas Serving as Interim Priest

Canon Huw Thomas is currently serving as the interim priest in charge of the Holy Trinity Church in Algiers following Gus Katola’s departure.

 

Our Prayer Requests

  • Please pray for Bishop Samy as he begins his Episcopal ministry in this area
  • Pray for the project of St. Cyprian to be accomplished in Tunisia
  • Pray for a just settlement for the problem of our property in Algiers with the UK Foreign Office
  • Pray for peace in Libya so that the people may be able to return and serve there
  • Pray for the safety of Rev. Rajan in Libya

 

In conclusion, once again I would like to thank you for your prayers and support during the last year.

Yours in Christ,

+ Mouneer Egypt     

The Rt. Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis
Bishop of the Episcopal / Anglican Diocese of Egypt
with North Africa and the Horn of Africa

Diocesan Office
5 Michel Lutfallah Street, Zamalek, Cairo 11211
Work: +202 27380821  Fax: +202 27358941
Email:  bishopmouneer@gmail.com
Website: http://www.dioceseofegypt.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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