Saturday,22 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1408, (6 - 12 September 2018)
Saturday,22 September, 2018
Issue 1408, (6 - 12 September 2018)

Ahram Weekly

Connecting Coptic youth

With its Back to Roots initiative the Coptic Orthodox Church is focusing on younger members of its congregation from around the world, writes Michael Adel

 

Connecting Coptic youth
Connecting Coptic youth

Last week a delegation representing 200 young Copts from five continents — participants in the first World Youth Forum for Coptic Expatriates organised under the motto Back to Roots — accompanied Pope Tawadros II to the presidential palace to meet with President Abdel-Fattah Al-Sisi.

The forum aims to connect Egyptian expatriates and their children with their homeland and acquaint them with developments taking place in the country, said Al-Sisi.

During their visit forum members were offered cultural and touristic programmes as well as spiritual and educational tours.

“I dream of a gathering of the Church’s youth from all over the world,” said Pope Tawadros, addressing the participants in the forum. However far they go, expatriates should strengthen their ties with the mother church, he said.

One problem facing the Coptic Orthodox Church is the absence of a youth leadership capable of establishing a constructive dialogue and formulating solutions to contemporary problems, said the pope.

Every Coptic church, whether in Egypt or abroad, has a service unit for young people, said Tawadros. He pointed out that in 1989 the Coptic Church established an episcopate dedicated to young members of the congregation, tending to their needs through conferences and courses focused on dialogue, awareness building and strategic relationships.

On the sidelines of the week-long event, Barbara Suleiman, head of papal projects and foreign relations, talked about development projects organised by the Church.

“We are committed to society through volunteering and charitable work,” Suleiman said. In the past five years the Church has built five schools and is currently engaged in constructing three more. It has also instigated the Sehaty (My Health) programme which, in collaboration with experts from the UK, provides healthcare.

“We have already built a clinic in Faqous village and are working on four other sites,” said Suleiman.

This week also saw the Virgin Mary Church’s service episcopate in Nasr City host the World Christian Student Union in the Middle East conference. The conference, which concluded on Sunday, gathered young people from Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Sudan and Palestine.

The union aims to foster cooperation between regional bodies, including the Council for Middle East Churches which the union helped establish.

The union was founded in Paris in 1895 with the aim of providing services to students in universities and dormitories and developing programmes that foster dialogue, social justice and peace.

It counts among the first international organisations for students and is one of the world’s oldest youth movements.

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