Goodbye Rev. Samuel Henry Iskander

“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.” Mathew 25: 21

Dear brothers and sisters

I am sad to let you know that The Rev. Samuel Henry Iskander passed away this morning following an open heart operation. 
Rev Samuel ( 75 years) served for many years at Christ the King Church in Tripoli, Libya.
On his return to Egypt he served in the community development centres in Cairo.
After his retirement he continued to serve in the prison ministry as well as the churches in Cairo.

His desire was to serve the Lord all the days of his life and God has given him the desire of his heart. We thank God for his faithful service in the the Diocese.

Please pray for his wife Honey , his son John, daughter Janet, his grand children and all of us in the Diocese.

+Mouneer Egypt

Bishop Grant’s Letter of Resignation

Dear Friends of the Diocese of Egypt,

With deep sadness, we would like to share with you the latest news of our diocese.

The following letter was read at the conclusion of the graduation of the Alexandria School of Theology at All Saints’ Cathedral in Cairo Egypt, July 29, 2017.

Letter of Resignation

It is with a heavy heart that today I must announce my resignation as the Bishop for the Horn of Africa within the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa. This decision has not been taken lightly but after consultation with Bishop Mouneer, with spiritual counsellors, and with our medical doctors. Wendy and I will leave Ethiopia at the end of October this year, although our work for the diocese will continue for a time. 

The reason for our needing to leave is that Wendy’s health has made it impossible for her to continue to live in Africa. As many of you know, a few months ago Wendy experienced terrible pain in her back leading her to seek medical testing and advice. The tests revealed five broken vertebrae and a broken rib. The fragility of the bones have been attributed to osteoporosis and the fractures were due to coughing. Originally we believed that the coughing was due simply to asthma, but after further testing it now seems that Wendy has also had lung infections, perhaps several. Wendy’s doctors have been clear that returning to live in Africa would put Wendy’s lungs (and ultimately her heart) at grave risk. She will stay in Pittsburgh for the next two months while I continue to work in Ethiopia. She will come to say farewell during the month of October.

Our hearts are heavy because we love the people in our churches in the Horn of Africa, and we have known God’s presence in our work there, especially in the Gambella region. At the same time I have been clear with the clergy in my charge that married people should live together in order to support and uphold one another. And so although it has been suggested by some that one option for our future would be for me to remain as bishop in the Horn of Africa and travel back to visit Wendy from time to time, such an option seems to us to be untenable.

With the permission of the Diocesan Bishop of Egypt, I hope to remain as a bishop in the Diocese of Egypt and continue to visit and contribute in some ways to be determined.

Please continue to keep Wendy and me in your prayers as we seek God’s guidance during this time of transition.

+Grant LeMarquand

The Horn of Africa

 

Let us pray with Bishop Grant and Doctor Wendy:

  • for their senders who have partnered with them in loving and caring for the people of Gambella, Ethiopia and the Horn of Africa
  • for the ongoing empowerment and equipping of the priests and laity of our churches in Gambella, Addis, and elsewhere in Ethiopia
  • as they walk through this next season of discernment and handing over
  • for the ministry in Djibouti, Somaliland and Eritrea
  • for His protection and care for Gambella

 

 

The Graduation of Alexandria School of Theology and Nuba Mountain Institute Commencements

 

On Saturday, the 29th of July, Alexandria School of Theology (AST) and Nuba Mountain Institute celebrated the graduation of the ninth commencement and the second commencement respectively. We joyfully celebrated 3 students graduating with a Diploma in Theology, 14 students with a Bachelor of Theology and 2 students with a Master in Early African Christianity.

With words of welcome and encouragement, Bishop Mouneer inaugurated the celebration thanking all the audience for their presence in the special ceremony. “We are the servants of Christ and our servant-hood shall never end” Bishop Samy- the Dean of AST- reminded the graduates, meditating from 2 Corinthians 10: 5. As for the graduates, they expressed their gratitude and appreciation by a tender acknowledgment to faculty and family honoring the memory of their lost friends; Reham and Malak.

Revd Canon Dr Ashley Null, an internationally respected scholar on the grace and gratitude theology of the English Reformation, holding a MDiv and STM from Yale and a PhD and BD form the University of Cambridge, an author of many books including “Thomas Cranmer’s Doctrine of Repentance: Renewing the Power to Love” and a winner of numerous academic awards for his work;  spoke about how to fill the lost piece of our souls through Christ alone.  He encouraged the students to tell the brokenhearted about the good news of the gospel of Jesus, their only hope. He finally addressed them with several questions for them to answer before starting their journey: “Class of 2017: what will you say to the human heart? What message will you bring? How has AST helped you prepare to minister to a hurting humanity? How will God use you as an agent of hope? Today we not only celebrate your academic achievements but also prayer for fruitfulness as you serve lost and broken humanity”.

With sad tears and a broken heart, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Grant LeMarquand, the Vice-Chairman of the Board, announced the resignation as an Area Bishop of the Horn of Africa due to the health conditions of Dr. Wendy, his wife.

The celebration was infiltrated with songs and prayers as well as blessings and greetings from the honorable guests. Anba Bishoy, the Coptic Orthodox Bishop of Domiat, affirmed the unity of the 2 Churches and expressed his pleasure of fulfilling God’s commandments by rejoicing together in this special occasions. Anba Antonious Aziz, the Coptic Catholic Bishop of Giza and Fayoum, blessed the graduates reminding them to be always in Christ who is the only foundation for our salvation. Revd. Kuan Kim Sung, Bishop of Singapore, passed the greetings from our partnering diocese from Singapore and encouraged the students to continue the good work of the Lord that He has given them.

Last but not the least, Bishop Mouneer revealed his deep delight for the presence of Father Amonios, the Secretary of Pop Tawadros II, the Ambassador of the United Stated of America and all the servants of the Lord. “Remember that studying theology is the first step but you have yet a lot to learn from our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ, who is the only model worthy to be followed for He went around doing good.”

 

 

Last performance of Cairo Guitar Collective

Cairo Guitar Collective performed his last and special performance of “Ida y Vuelta” program – a program full of Spanish and Latin American influences.

This event took place at Gousur Cultural Center in Zamalek on the 26th of May at 8 pm. The audience enjoyed great live Guitar music.

The group members were Dr Chelsea Green (USA), Cesar Mora (Venezuela), Shady Nagi (Egypt), Pawel Kuzma (Poland), Youmna Zakarias (Egypt).

 

Updates from the Synod, 2017

The Synod of the diocese was held in its scheduled session (April 25 to April 27) under the chairmanship of Archbishop Mouneer Hanna Anis and the attendance of the members of the secular clergy from all the churches of the diocese of Egypt, North Africa and the Horn of Africa.

The Synod began with the opening speech of the Bishop in which he thanked the Lord for His continuous blessings in our churches in the diocese and he focused on the slogan of the synod this year which is “Different Spirit” as mentioned in book of Numbers  (14:24). In his speech, the Archbishop emphasized our need for this new spirit, the spirit of trust, courage and the love, to begin our mission. Archbishop Mouneer proclaimed many of the favors our Lord provided in various fields of ministry: Discipleship, mission and evangelism, leadership training (priests and lay ministers), youth ministry and children ministry. The Archbishop also pointed to the breakthrough that took place in service with the Episcopal regions of North Africa as well as the Horn of Africa.

The Synod was enriched by detailed reports and short movies about the services in North Africa; Tunis, Tripoli and Algiers, and in the Horn of Africa as well as Egypt. The Synod attendees were encouraged by the ongoing projects. The most encouraging news of all were the increase of the number of churches and meetings has doubled to reach 100 communities in the Gambella region in Western Ethiopia as well as the new churches that were planted in new areas in Egypt.

New Province

The Synod discussed the topic of ongoing dialogues and the studies leading to transforming the diocese to an independent province of the Anglican Communion. The members of the Synod unanimously supported this move.

Women Ministry

The Synod debated the issue of women’s service in which the members stressed the importance of women’s ministry to be strengthened and enjoyed by all means. However, the woman’s ordination was not approved.

The Problem with the protestant council of churches in Egypt (PCE)

The Diocesan legal consultant explained in details the problem of the diocese with PCE. The members of the Synod issued a statement in support of the independence of the Diocese of Egypt. The synod expressed its desire to develop ecumenical relations with all denominations in Egypt including the PCE. This must be based on mutual respect of the nature of each church. The synod also supported all the legal steps taken by the legal consultant to ensure the independence of the Diocese.

The members of the Synod, through the priests and lay readers, have also elected the members of the councils of the various Synod committees and the representatives of the Provincial synod.

Ordination of the 1st deaf clergy

Archbishop Mouneer has ordained deacon Clément Alfous in Jesus light of the World Episcopal Church for Deaf in Old Cairo. He is the first deaf to be ordained deacon in the Middle East. Deacon Clément is a trained servant and has been licensed as a lay reader by Archbishop Mouneer several years ago, where he contributed greatly to the stability and growth of the ministry in the deaf church.

New Canon at All Saints Cathedral

Archbishop Mouneer appointed priest Hany Shenouda as “Canon” in the Cathedral on the chair of St. Athanasius.

New Lay Ministers in the Diocese of Egypt

Serag Nabil and Adel Fayek were licensed to serve as lay readers in the cathedral and our church in Al Twabek during the closing worship at the Synod on April 27th.

New Growth in the Sudanese Church

The Synod ended by welcoming new members to join our Episcopal Anglican Family. Archbishop Mouneer confirmed more than 30 people in the Sudanese congregations of St. Michael Church in Heliopolis and All Saints Cathedral in Zamalek. Last but not least, the day was crowned by the baptism of a baby.

Opening of “Art without Walls 13” Open-Air Exhibition

On Monday, July 10th, Bishop Mouneer H. Anis with Bishop Samy Shehata inaugurated the open air art exhibition “Art without Walls 13” to the public. The exhibition takes place the first Monday of every month all year along, and that makes it the first of its kind. The exhibition showed all type of arts; including painting, photography and more than 50 hand-made projects. Remarkably, 160 independent artists participated in the exhibition. The honor guest of the event was Magdy El-Taher, the dean of the faculty of Art- Alexandria University.

The event started by a gathering between the 2 bishops with the 50 executive members of Arkan. The bishops acknowledged their efforts and encouraged them to keep going. “Light a candle instead of cursing the darkness.” said Bishop Mouneer. The meeting was followed by cutting the Ribbon by Bishop Mouneer. The event ended by distributing an honoring certificate to all the participating artists.

 

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Ecumenical meeting between the youth and their pastors

In a historical event that was a first in 40 years-times, the pastors met with the youth from their churches to hear them in an honest dialogue. The meeting took part on the 3rd of July. Remarkably, the attendees were mostly youth, around 60%. The day aimed for youth to speak about their honest opinion in the church and the liturgy in order to reduce the gap between the youth and the church.

The event started by lunch followed by an opening by Bishop Mouneer where he said that our focus as clergy should be on our youth not only for the sake of the future but also for today. He also acknowledged the Coptic Orthodox Church which managed to build the sense of belonging in their youth and succeeded.

The youth were given the opportunity to have freedom of speech, not to mention, each of them answered two specific questions “What I like in my church?” and “What holds me back from the church?” In answer to the first question, most youth expressed their gratitude to the church where they felt peace and love. “My church is a church with a vision for evangelism and encourages visionaries” Micheal said, from the evangelical church.  “My church is not full of words only but living liturgy” Marco expressed his appreciation for the Coptic Orthodox Church. “I love my church because it is humble and serves everyone in need” Francine commented on the Anglican Church. In answer to the second question, most youth expressed that they were not happy with the church because the leaders never involve them in any decisions in the church as well as lack of dialogue with the church leaders and ministers. “The church doesn’t always welcome the sinners” said Helen from “the good news team”.

After hearing the youth, the pastors started talking as well. Bishop Mouneer started the speech by asking forgiveness from the youth for not hearing them before and not being there for them. He, then, expressed his joy that the church started to fix this problem. He also acknowledged the churches that accept youth in their counsels, as a step forward in eliminating this problem forever. Later, he warned the youth from the disease of this age, Life and Business of Entertainment, that it would find its way to the church. Finally, he took advantage of the situation and gave advice to parents to care for their youth and to guide the church constantly to their needs.

“The church needs the one body of Christ; the expertise of the old age and the freshness of the young youth” said Revd Boules Garas from the Catholic Church “Love and humbleness can keep the church united and fill in the gap”.  Father Mina, from the Coptic Orthodox Church, gave 3 advices to both the church leaders and the youth; balanced mentality, one enemy and fight the spirit of isolation by discussing the ideas of the youth.  Sheikh Emil, from the Evangelical Church, reminded the audience both leaders and youth that the goal is one and also encouraged them to remember that as well as what we believe in.

The historical event ended by practical tips for leaders to take back to their churches such as imitating this meeting in the smaller gathering of each church and hearing out some of the youth who actually abandoned the church. The gathering agreed to meet again prior the next ecumenical meeting in September.

Primacy election in the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East

The Synod of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East met in Amman, Jordan on 16-17 May 2017.  Archbishop Mouneer Hanna Anis, the outgoing Primate, invited The Right Revd Tim Dakin, the Bishop of Winchester, to open the Synod with prayer and reflection.  He led a Bible study on the subject of servant apostles using Ephesians 3, in preparation for the election of a new Primate.

The Synod, after prayerful discernment, reached a 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.

We congratulate both Archbishop Suheil and Bishop Michael on their appointments, and we give thanks for Archbishop Mouneer’s service as our Primate since 2007.  We also give thanks to Bishop Tim Dakin for his gracious contribution.

The Synod appointed The Revd Dr Albert Walters as the Vicar General for the Diocese of Iran for a six month period.

The Synod also elected Mrs Georgia Katsantonis as the Provincial Secretary and Mr Ehab Edward as the Provincial Treasurer.

Please uphold the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East in your prayers.

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