Missionary Partners in Egypt
St Andrews has been supporting the local church at Menouf in the Nile Delta for a number of years. Strong links have been forged with the church, school and hospital, and strong friendships have been engendered. Two mission trips have taken place, and members of the church family at Menouf have been invited to spend time with the church family at Buckland each summer, and to enjoy our parish camp at Strete.
The church in Egypt has gained some stability since the coming to power of General Al-Sisi, and the ousting of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Bishop Mouneer Anis, and his wife Nancy are leading the Anglican church not only in Egypt, but across north Africa. Bishop Mouneer is a much-loved friend of the parish, and is very supportive of our summer invitations. The obtaining of visitors’ visas has proved more difficult in recent years, and prayer is needed in this regard.
Other close friendships:
George Girgis is head of the Episcopal school in Menouf. He is married to Eman. They have three children, Shady, Joy and Judith.
Adel Saleh: Adel is a surgeon at the Harpur Memorial Hospital in Menouf. Adel is married to Mona. Their daughter Heidi came with them to visit in the summer of 2016. Heidi is now married to Karem, and they live in Canada, planning to return to Cairo to establish an orphanage for street children.
Open Doors Report
As radical Islam is fervently trying to take over the country’s culture, there is a growing sentiment to reject Christians. Ten-year-old Marina is the youngest of six children – and the only girl – in a poor Christian family, living in a small village in Upper Egypt. In these remote, predominantly Muslim communities, Christians often find themselves excluded or experiencing discrimination.
Building or even repairing a church is difficult, if not impossible, and Christians find themselves placed at the end of the queue when it comes to things like education and welfare. Even more so, if you are a Christian girl. Socially and culturally, girls and women are viewed as far inferior to men. Although Marina’s parents are illiterate, they sent their children to the public school in the nearby village. However, in such places, many Christian children face discrimination. Placed at the back of the class, they can be ignored and marginalised.
The majority of Egypt’s population is Muslim, but in recent years, radical political Islam has become more visible and the society has suffered the implications of the presence of radical Islamic groups. In December 2016, an attack by so-called Islamic State extremists on a chapel adjoining Cairo’s Coptic cathedral, St Mark, left at least 28 people dead and many more injured. But it is not only from radical groups that Christians face persecution.
Believers from a Muslim background, as in many countries, bear the brunt of persecution, often from their families, who may punish them for abandoning the Islamic faith with beatings or expulsions from the home.
The tradition of authoritarian rule is perhaps the only permanent feature of Egypt’s political system, which has known three regime changes in only three years. The current government seems to regard basic human rights and democratic pluralism as a low priority: a law from November 2013, restricting public protests, contributes to reducing freedom of expression in the public sphere. In this context, therefore, religious freedom for Christians is not fully guaranteed.
The large Coptic minority, while facing discrimination in education, health and legislation which hinders essential aspects of church life, has been tolerated in the past because of its historical presence and demographic size. In recent years, however, this has changed, causing historical Christian communities to be targeted as well.
In cooperation with local churches and other partnering ministries, Open Doors supports the church in Egypt through:
Literacy training and education projects
Youth and family ministry
Women’s empowerment training and ministry to widows.