Bishop Mouneer’s Reflection on Christmas Eve in the Largest Cathedral in the Middle East

Christmas Eve in the Largest Cathedral in the Middle East

Pope Tawedrous II and President Sisi shake hands, inaugurating the new Cathedral.
(Photo: EPA)

On 6 January, I participated in a truly historic day here in Egypt. President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi simultaneously inaugurated the largest cathedral in the Middle East and one of the largest mosques in the region in the new Administrative Capital, just east of Cairo. This was a remarkable event, an obvious statement of solidarity, and something which has never happened before. These two buildings, opened on the same day in the same city, will allow Egyptians, both Christian and Muslim, to worship peacefully in their houses of prayer.

The Beautiful new Cathedral of the Nativity (Photo:AFP)

It was Christmas Eve for the Orthodox Church, and I attended the midnight mass in the new Cathedral of the Nativity. Large and beautiful, this cathedral was a magnificent place to celebrate Christmas with my Orthodox brothers and sisters. There was a spirit of joy and celebration amongst those in attendance, and I was struck that, in this moment, I was participating in both the present and the future of Egypt at the very same time.

The cathedral (as well as the mosque) was not only opened by President Sisi, it was built with the support and funding of the government. This action, as well as the President’s opening address, are a clear message that he seeks to promote citizenship for all people here. In his opening address he said, “We are one and we will remain one.” He is keen, I can tell, to promote the religious values of peace and love, and for this I have great respect.

They say that actions speak louder than works, and these actions of support give me the feeling that we are restoring the beautiful Egypt in which we once lived. We are one step closer to restoring the tolerant culture that Egypt has known for centuries. Only through loving our neighbors, seeking to understand them, and working together for a better future, will we achieve this beautiful Egypt we once knew.

+ Mouneer Hanna Anis

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

Two New Clergy

The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis, Bishop of the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, is pleased to announce the following appointments within the Diocese:

 The Rev. Drew Wayne Schmotzer
as the Priest-in-Charge of the English Speaking Congregations at All Saints Cathedral.

Drew Schmotzer

Rev. Drew was ordained a deacon in 2007 and a priest in 2008.  He received his Masters of Divinity from Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry, USA in 2008 and is currently working on a Masters in Early African Christianity.  He served at St. Luke’s in Akron, Ohio and at Trinity Cathedral, Pittsburgh before coming to Egypt.  He has been the Chaplain to the Bishop since 2008 and has served in various capacities within the Diocese, including teaching at the Alexandria School of Theology, serving as the English Speaking Secretary of the Synod and the Executive Board, and assisting with the Anglican Communion – Al Azhar Dialogue.  He has served as the Chaplain to the Red Sea since 2010, the Rector of St. Mark’s in Menouf from 2012-2014, and the Interim Rector of St. John the Baptist Church in Maadi from 2013-2014.  Rev. Drew is no stranger to All Saints Cathedral as he has served there in an assisting capacity since 2008.

Please pray for him and this new ministry.

The Rev. Dr. Michael Dobson
as the Priest-in-Charge of St. John the Baptist Church in Maadi.

Michael Dobson

Rev. Michael was ordained a deacon in 2011 and a priest in 2012.  He received his Masters of Divinity from Regent College in Vancouver in 2011 and holds a PhD in Education from the Open University in Milton Keynes, UK in 1999.  Rev. Michael is married to Janet who has worked for over 20 years in administration and teaching, and they have two children: Gordon William (17) who is studying kinesiology and sports physiotherapy, and Emily Ruth (15) who is in secondary school studying French.  Recently they come from having served in various churches in Vancouver, Canada, with a particular focus on refugees and interfaith activities.  He is excited to working at St. John’s and coordinating the ministry amongst all of the congregations (Egyptian, Sudanese and English) at St. John’s, in addition to helping within the wider Diocese.

Please pray for him, his family, and this new ministry.

 

One Muslim, One Anglican, One Goal: Peace

The former Grand Mufti of Egypt, Dr. Ali Gomaa, and the Anglican Bishop of Egypt, Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis, were invited to give the keynote addresses at the inauguration of the Studies of Inter-Religious Relations in Plural Societies Programme (SRP) at the Nanyang Technological University, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore from 5-11 June 2014.  During their visit to Singapore, they shared their Egyptian experience in “working together as a way of promoting national unity in Egypt.

The President of Singapore, Dr. Tony Tan, received Dr. Ali and Bishop Mouneer and was keen to hear about the situation in Egypt, especially as their visit coincided with the installation of the new President of Egypt, el-Sisi.  He assured both of them that Singapore will stand with Egypt at this very important time.  The Prime Minister of Singapore,  Mr. Lee Hsien Loong, also received them and wrote in his Facebook page, “I could see that Sheikh Dr. Ali Gomaa and Archbishop Dr. Mouneer are good friends, working closely together to promote peace and harmony between Muslims and Christians there.

with the President

It is worth mentioning that Dr. Gomaa founded an NGO called “Misr El Khair” which is very much involved in community development work within Egypt.  Misr El Khair became a partner to the Anglican Diocese of Egypt in a number of projects including, “Fighting Reversible Blindness” and “Primary Health Care Outreach.”  These projects serve both Christians and Muslims in Egypt.  Dr. Gomaa said, “working together has a greater impact on religious harmony at the grass roots level than interfaith dialogue meetings.”  Bishop Mouneer said, “in spite of our doctrinal differences we can still work together for the common good.

Rev Wu & Prof Ding 8

The Anglican Diocese of Singapore and the High Islamic Council of Singapore organized a seminar about “A Strong and Positive Interreligious Relations in a Pluralistic Society.”  Both Dr. Gomaa and Dr. Mouneer spoke and responded to many questions at this seminar.  It is known that Singapore is very keen on religious harmony as there are followers of at least ten different faith communities, and they have laws for religious harmony as well as a special council for religious harmony. The visit was widely covered by the media.  One of the articles written was under the title, “One Muslim, One Anglican, One Goal: Peace.”

Rev Wu Wei & Prof Ding 3

 

Voting and Dancing

            Voting and Dancing: Egyptians write their Future

 Once again, the Egyptian people have surprised the world.  Yesterday was the first day of the Referendum on the new Constitution of Egypt.  The supporters of the former President Mohammed Mursi called people to boycott the Referendum.  Surprisingly enough, yesterday millions of people went to the polls to vote and they are still voting today!  Going to the polls was risky because of those who were trying to use violence to scare people from voting, but the army and the police exerted a great effort to protect the polls and to give assurance to the people who would like to vote.

Egyptians Vote and Celebrate

Unlike the previous Constitution that was written under the rule of the Muslim Brotherhood, the new Constitution affirms equality and the rights of women within the Egyptian society.  It was a phenomenon to see crowds of women at each poll, many of whom queued for hours to vote.  Some of them were singing and rejoicing, and even dancing, before and after they cast their vote.  There was a general spirit of joy among the people of Egypt who voted, in a way that never happened before.  We, alongside other Christian denominations, encouraged the people of Egypt to fulfill their civil duty to vote and to pray for the future of Egypt.

Egyptian Vote

All of this is a message to those who called the 30 June 2013 Revolution a “military coup.”  The same millions of people who went out in the streets that day, also went to vote yesterday and today.  It is also an indirect support of the Road Map that was announced on 3 July, the day of the removal of the former President.

images.jpgخخ

The Road Map, designed by different streams of politicians as well as the Grand Imam of Al Azhar and Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Orthodox Church, formed an interim government and appointed a Committee of 50 (representatives of all sectors of the society) to write the new Constitution.  The interim government, after the Referendum on the Constitution, will prepare for Parliamentary and Presidential elections.  Many voters carried the photos of Field Marshall al-Sisi, the Minister of Defense, in an attempt to persuade him to run for the presidency.  This is because al-Sisi was the one who responded to the request of the millions of demonstrators on 30 June who called for early Presidential elections and the removal of the former President.

The new Constitution affirms the rights of citizenship, and prohibits all forms of discrimination.  It has clauses that ensure the development of education and health care for every citizen.  It allows the freedom of worship and the building of churches, and Article 3 gives the right for non-Muslims (Christians and Jews) to resort to their canon laws in regard to civil issues.

I can see my beloved country standing on the doorstep of a new day.  Do pray that the hopes and dreams of millions of people, of a more settled, secure and democratic country, will be fulfilled.

May the Lord bless you!

+ Mouneer Egypt

Bishop Mouneer’s Visit to Baghdad

At the invitation of Bishop Michael Lewis, the Bishop of Cyprus and Gulf, Bishop Mouneer Anis,the president Bishop of the Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East, visited St George’s Anglican Church in Baghdad, Iraq, in December. Bishop Mouneer writes:

“I went to Baghdad to encourage the faithful however they encouraged me so much. It is so encouraging to see the hand of God working in very difficult situation. In the middle of strict security, frequent explosions and blood shedding, the people of Baghdad are hungry to hear the word of God.

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St. George’s Church witness to the love of God by word and deed. The congregation fills the church at Sunday service. The church serves the community in such a wonderful way. Attached to the church an excellent kindergarten and a wonderful clinic. The Mothers Union are so active in the church as well as the community services.Bishop Mouneer visit to Iraq (2)

It was a real joy to visit St. George poly clinic, in Baghdad. It was a surprise to find that there is a special clinic for treatment using Stem Cells. All patients receive free treatment. Canon Andrew White founded this clinic and fundraises to cover its expenses. The Lord provides all the needs. It was exciting to examine two patients during my visit!

Sadly there were several explosions in Baghdad in the last few days. I pray for the families who lost their loved ones and for healing of the injured. We thank God for protection and thanks to our guards who joined me everywhere.

Bishop Mouneer visit to Iraq (1)

During my visit to Baghdad I and Bishop Michael Lewis were received by the Shia Leader Ayatollah Hussein El Sader . We talked about the love of God and how it moves us to love others. We also discussed the Good Samaritan parable.

Bishop Mouneer visit to Iraq (4)

 

We also met the Vice President of Iraq today he said that the immigration of Christians from Iraq is like taking the most beautiful colours of a painting out of it. He asked that we should encourage Iraqi Christians to stay on because they are peace makers and their message is God’s love.

Bishop Mouneer visit to Iraq (5)

Nancy and I are so grateful to Bishop Michael and Mrs. Julia Lewis, Canon Andrew White, Rev. Fayez Jerjes and the staff of St. George’s, Baghdad for their great hospitality.”

Christmas Services at All Saints Cathedral, Cairo

The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis, Bishop of the Episcopal / Anglican Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, along with the clergy and congregations of All Saints Cathedral, Cairo, would like to invite you to their Christmas services and events.

  • Its A Wonderful Life (Saturday 14 December at 6pm)
  • A Broadway Christmas (Friday 20 December at 8pm)
  • Christingle children’s Service (Monday 23 December at 6pm)
  • Christmas Eve Service (Tuesday 24 December at 10:30pm)
  • Christmas Day Service (Wednesday 25 December at 10:30am)
  • New Year’s Eve Service (Tuesday 31 December at 10pm)

For more information, please contact Rev. Drew Schmotzer at chaplainegypt@gmail.com

All Saints Cathedral is located at 5 Michel Lutfallah Street, Zamalek, Cairo 11211 (behind the Marriott Hotel).

 

News from the Deaf Community in Egypt

Dear Friends, please find the link below with the news from the Deaf community in Egypt, including updates from the Church for the Deaf in Old Cairo, the Vocational Training Centre for the Disabled in 6 of October City, and the Deaf Unit in Old Cairo.  May the Lord bless the work of their hands!

November 2013 Deaf Unit and Church Newsletter -MN (1) – Copy

13 Years of Arabic Services at Christ the King Church in Tripoli

Yesterday, on 29 November 2013, the Arabic speaking congregation at Christ the King Church in Tripoli, Libya celebrated thirteen years of faithful ministry.  Several members of the congregation as well as the community brought congratulations in different languages, and the praise team of the church led the congregation in singing praises to God for His faithfulness.  Bishop Bill sent his congratulations, saying, “Many congratulations on your anniversary!  We praise God with you!” and Bishop Mouneer said, “May the Lord bless you and protect you! (الرب يبارككم و يحميكم).”  May God give Christ the King 100’s of more years!

Special thanks need to be given to The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis, Bishop of the Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa, whose vision it was to rebuild this congregation; to The Rt. Rev. Dr. Bill A. Musk, Area Bishop for North Africa, who has repeatedly visited and encouraged the congregation since becoming a bishop in October 2008; to the faithful members of the different congregations at Christ the King; and to the team of international ministers at Christ the King: Rev. Vasihar from India, Rev. Gus from Canada, Rev. Ayo from Nigeria and Rev. Samuel from Egypt.

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