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A Call to Prayer from the Bishop of Egypt

Please scroll down for the latest news. The most recent correspondence was received on Saturday, February 19.

The following letter was received on Wednesday, February 2.

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

My Dear Friends,

Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

First, I would like to thank you so much for your prayers, phone calls, and messages from around the world that you have sent in the last few days. I want you to know that these meant a lot to me personally and to your brothers and sisters in the church here.

In the midst of the turmoil which Egypt is going through, we have felt that the Lord is very near to us. We have experienced His peace, and we were assured of His protection. In most of our churches and homes, there have been prayer meetings for the situation and for our beloved country Egypt. All our churches are safe, although they have not been guarded by the security since Friday when all the security were withdrawn. This assured us that the one who protects the churches is the Lord of the Church.

I was touched to see young adults, Muslims and Christians, guarding the streets, homes, and our churches. They did not allow any thieves or looters to come near the area. They also arrested some of those and handed them over to the Army. I applaud our local Egyptian clergy and people who joined the youth in the streets in guarding homes and churches.

I admired all our expatriate clergy and diocesan staff who refused to leave Egypt in order to stay in the midst of the people who decided not to go, even when their Embassies encouraged them to leave and provided airplanes to do so.

Yesterday demonstrations were very peaceful, in spite of the huge number that gathered in the middle of Cairo. We praise the Lord that we have now the internet back, and we can communicate with you all. This morning the security also returned to guard the churches as normal.

Yesterday, President Mubarak made it very clear that he will not seek re-election after he finishes his term in November 2011. He appointed Mr. Ibrahim Soliman as a Vice-President. He has a good reputation among Egyptians. This appointment ruled out the possibility of appointing the President’s son as a successor. President Mubarak also appointed a new Prime Minister, Mr. Shafik, who was the Minister of Civil Aviation (Egypt Air, etc…). He is a very good man and has done a lot of improvement in his previous Ministry. President Mubarak also called for a review for the Constitution to allow democracy; he also assured the people that those who were responsible for the violence, destructions, looting, escape of prisoners, etc…will be brought to judgment.

Our concern was that extremist groups would take advantage of the demonstrations to push for violence. We thank God that this did not happen. It seems that the majority of the youth who are demonstrating are aware of this possibility. Many of them started to see this possible risk. The youth who were interviewed by the television yesterday mentioned that all what they need is democracy. Many groups this morning are demonstrating in support of President Mubarak, the new government, and peaceful transfer of authority at the end of the President’s term.

Egypt is a very important country in the whole of the Middle East, and whatever happens in Egypt affects the rest of the countries. I was amazed at how the President of Yemen, this morning, announced that he will not seek re-election and will not promote his son to be the next president. We pray that we can set a good example to the surrounding countries.

We appreciate your prayers for:
• Our churches and institutions, so that we can fix our eyes on God who is in control. May what is happening help us to draw nearer to God and to know that the time is short.
• The end of demonstrations, especially in view of the changes that President Mubarak announced. This will bring Egypt back to normal and the curfew will be ended.
• The new government, in order to achieve the desired targets in serving the people, especially the Minister of Interior who is now trying to re-build the trust with the people of Egypt.
• People to find their needs of food and health care.
• Wisdom for the youth, in order not to allow the extremists to stir them up.
• The families who lost their loved ones in the violence, and those who are injured.
• Our beloved Egypt to recover this turmoil.

Once again, thank you so much for your prayers and words of encouragement.

May the Lord bless you!

Yours in Christ,
+Mouneer

The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis
Bishop of the Episcopal/Anglican Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa
President Bishop of the Episcopal/Anglican Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Update: The following letter was received on Thursday, February 3.

“Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 62:6

Dear Friends,

Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Thank you for your continuous prayers, emails and phone calls. We value and appreciate this.

I am sorry to tell you that things did not go well yesterday evening. The morning gave us hope as demonstrators started to leave Tahrir Square. However, in the evening things changed 180 degrees when the crowds who support President Mubarak arrived to Tahrir Square and both the supporters and demonstrators clashed with each other. Fires due to Molotov cocktails and stones were used in these clashes. Three people were killed and over six hundred people were injured.

Today, the Government started dialogue with the opposition and we hope and pray that things will calm down. I called upon the people of Egypt to give time for the new government to achieve the needed security, justice and democracy. We meet everyday at the Cathedral to pray for the situation. We thank God because all our churches and institutions are safe.

We with many other Egyptians are very sad because of the violence and destruction within our beloved country Egypt. Egypt is known in the region to be “the mother of the world.” Now, the mother is wounded by its own children, which is harder than wounds of outside wars.

Please pray so that God may give wisdom to all those who are in authority to put an end to this unacceptable violence. Pray for the demonstrators in order that they may go back to their homes and wait for the new government to act. Pray for the medical teams who are dealing with the wounded. Pray especially tomorrow as people tend to gather and demonstrate on Fridays. Last Friday was very bad, as you know. Pray for God’s protection for all the people of Egypt.

We have hope in God who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

May the Lord bless you!

Yours in Christ,
+Mouneer

The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis
Bishop of the Episcopal/Anglican Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa
President Bishop of the Episcopal/Anglican Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Update: The following letter was received on Saturday, February 5.

“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” 2 Chronicles 20:12b

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Thank you so much for your continuous prayer support, emails and phone calls. We are so encouraged by your prayers.

Today is the 12th day since the demonstrations started in Egypt. We thank God that yesterday (Friday) passed without major violence. One of the serious developments is that the Head of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei, preached his Friday sermon in Arabic, not in Persian (Farsi) as he normally does, and urged the Egyptian people and army to continue the revolution until they establish an Islamic Republic in Egypt.

The Egyptian economy is also a matter of great concern. It is sad that Egypt looses 310 million USD every day because of the demonstrations. The demonstrators are still in Tahrir Square, but the curfew is now for fewer hours (from 7 pm – 6 am).

Our hospitals in Menouf and Sadat City are working as usual all these days to receive those who are in need of medical care. We are planning to resume the work in the Diocesan Offices as normal from Monday (7 February) unless something serious happens.

We continue our daily prayers at All Saints Cathedral. Today we remembered the prayers of the People of God:

“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you.” 2 Chronicles 20:12b

Please continue to pray for Egypt and its people. Pray for wisdom for all those who are in authority. Pray that the spirit of fanaticism and extremism would not penetrate our society. Pray for the financial needs of the people in general, and the staff of the diocese.

May the Lord bless you!

Yours in Christ,
+Mouneer

The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis
Bishop of the Episcopal/Anglican Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa
President Bishop of the Episcopal/Anglican Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Update: The following letter was received on Tuesday, February 8.

“Praise the LORD, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name. Praise the LORD, my soul, and forget not all his benefits” Psalm 103:1-2

My Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Thank you so much for your prayers in the past two weeks. I cannot tell you how much they mean for us here in Egypt. I am happy to report that things are starting to get back to normal.

Yesterday we held our monthly Ecumenical Lunch (a time to eat together, share together and pray together) which was attended by more than twice as many as last month. The Roman Catholic Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Michael Fitzgerald also attended. We spent time in prayer and thinking of how our churches can play an active role in shaping the future of our beloved country Egypt. We also stressed the importance of unity within diversity among churches in Egypt.

We continue to have midday prayer services for all the staff of the diocese, the cathedral, and the institutions. Some visitors are also attending these services.

We thank God that the demonstrations are peaceful in Tahrir Square. The government is taking active steps in improving the living conditions of the people (medical care, salaries, etc.).

Once again, thank you very much for your prayers.

May the Lord bless you!

Yours in Christ,
+Mouneer

The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis
Bishop of the Episcopal/Anglican Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa
President Bishop of the Episcopal/Anglican Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Update: The following letter was received on Saturday, February 12.

“But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.” Philippians 3:13

My dear friends,

Millions are celebrating in the streets of Egypt, after President Mubarak has stepped down.

Tonight our beloved Egypt started to write a new chapter of her story. I pray that no single group would dictate its agenda but all of us must be given the right and the freedom to write together this chapter.

We need to earnestly pray for God’s grace and wisdom and for a new and free Egypt. Thank you so much for your prayers.

Yours in Him,
+Mouneer

The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis
Bishop of the Episcopal/Anglican Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa
President Bishop of the Episcopal/Anglican Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Update: The following statement was received on Wednesday, February 16.

Statement from the Episcopal/Anglican Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa

Our beloved country Egypt is going through a critical time which requires all of us to be united, working together in order to achieve “freedom, democracy and social equality” which are at the heart of the Youth Revolution of 25 January 2011. Without achieving these goals, the Revolution will have been mere words. Therefore, with strong hands, hopeful hearts and with patience, we all need to work each in our own field, until Egypt becomes a developed democratic country. Only then will Egypt regain its pioneering place in the Middle East, a position it has held over the centuries.

We are pleased with the decision of the Minister of Interior to reinstate the motto of the police: “Police in the service of the People.” We hope and trust that the police will make their motto a reality, actively providing a real service to citizens, not just monitoring them. On the other hand, we as citizens need to rebuild our trust in the police, start a new page, and work together for the sake of our beloved country Egypt.

We appreciate the role of the High Council of the Egyptian Army in achieving the dreams of our great nation, that Egypt would become a secular and democratic country in which all of its citizens enjoy their rights which will be guaranteed by the new Constitution.

+Mouneer

The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis
Bishop of the Episcopal/Anglican Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa
President Bishop of the Episcopal/Anglican Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East

Update: The following letter was received on Saturday, February 19.

“On him we have set our hope that he will continue to deliver us.” 2 Corinthians 1:10b

My Dear Friends,

Greetings in the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Thank you for your continuous prayer for the people of Egypt. I do not know where we would without your prayers. Thank God that we are all safe. The current situation is still foggy. Not only foggy, but it is very, very difficult to predict what is going to happen. There are voices that cry for an Islamic state and other voices that don’t want this; they want a secular and pluralistic society based on democracy.

We are so grateful to all of you who have generously contributed towards our ministry to the disadvantaged at this time of turmoil. Thank you so much!

Yesterday there were big demonstrations in Tahrir Square as people continue to celebrate the Revolution. Sheikh Yousef Al Qaradawi, a strong Egyptian Imam who lives in Qatar, came especially to lead the Friday prayers and to preach to the crowds who are estimated to be more than one million. Sheikh Yousef previously was not allowed to lead any of these activities within Egypt because of his extreme views. This gave a serious signal to many of us about the direction that may take place.

Christians in Egypt request the drop of Article 2 of the current Egyptian Constitution which states that the Islamic Sharia is the sole source of legislation. We find this restricting in many ways the development of a pluralistic democratic country. It also contradicts with Article 40 which affirms rights for every citizen in all aspects.

At this point, the best we can do is to pray so that God’s will would prevail. We are encouraging all Christians to be more active and participate in the upcoming elections.

Once again, thank you for your prayers and your support. Please continue to pray for us and for our beloved country Egypt.

May the Lord bless you!

Yours in Christ,
+Mouneer

The Most Rev. Dr. Mouneer Hanna Anis
Bishop of the Episcopal/Anglican Diocese of Egypt with North Africa and the Horn of Africa
President Bishop of the Episcopal/Anglican Province of Jerusalem and the Middle East

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