US and world churches join Copts in praying for Egypt

By Agencies
1 Feb 2011

The member communions of the National Council of Churches USA have joined the Coptic Orthodox Church in North America in a three-day period of prayer and fasting to seek God's presence amid the upheavals in Egypt.

The World Council of Churches, based in Geneva, Switzerland, has also issued a statement of concern.

Last week, the Coptic Orthodox Church in North America said: "In response to the tragic events in our homeland of Egypt, the Coptic Orthodox bishops of North America have declared 31 January – 2 February as a period of fasting and prayer.

"During these days, we are to observe strict abstinence as any Wednesday or Friday. In addition, many churches will offer the celebration of the Divine Liturgy every day during this period to pray for peace and safety in Egypt for all our Egyptian brothers and sisters. May God remember the land of Egypt and her people."

The Rev Dr Michael Kinnamon, general secretary of the National Council of Churches, called upon NCCUSA member communions "to honour this call from the Coptic Orthodox Church and to express their prayerful solidarity with all the people of Egypt, including the Christian minority and foreign service workers from the U.S. and other nations."

The WCC statement said that "member churches in all parts of the world are praying for the people of Egypt. There are disturbing reports of increasing numbers of people being killed, of assaults and threats and of many living in fear. Our hopes and prayers are for the safety of citizens, for wisdom and compassion on the part of the authorities and for a non-violent and just resolution of conflicts and grievances."

Kinnamon said the NCCUSA joins with the World Council's call "for peaceful dialogue and joint efforts at every level of society to find the way forward to a future that brings hope and security for the good of all people and communities ... We pray to God for mercy and protection for the Egyptian people and for all religious communities, and we are standing together with the churches in these challenging times."

The NCCUSA represents 37 member communions that include 45 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations. The WCC is a worldwide fellowship of 349 churches.

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ENInews (www.eni.ch) contributed to this story.

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