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Message from WCC Executive Committee to Member Churches in Egypt

This message from the WCC's Executive committee to Member Churches in Egypt has been adopted by the Executive committee during its meeting in Bossey, Switzerland, 23-26 February 2010.

27 February 2010

ADOPTED
For Action
Doc. PI 1 Annex 2

World Council of Churches
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Bossey, Switzerland
23-26 February 2010

We, the executive committee of the World Council of Churches (meeting from 23 to 26 February 2010 in Bossey, Switzerland), send you greetings in the precious name of our Saviour and Lord, Jesus Christ!

The general secretary of the World Council of Churches in his letter addressed to His Holiness Pope Shenouda III has expressed the WCC’s deep concern over the vicious attack by a group of people on a Coptic Orthodox congregation in Nag Hammadi on January 7th, 2010. This crime injured several people in one of the ancient Christian sites in Egypt leaving six Christians and one Muslim dead.

During the meeting of the executive committee, we again heard about this tragic happening, and we take this opportunity as members of the executive committee to convey our deep concern.

We understand that the timing and cowardly nature of the attack were wholly indefensible, since the act was perpetrated at the conclusion of the celebration of a Coptic Christmas midnight mass. This attack against the churches and the killings of innocent people took on added political significance, as this incident occurred during an important religious celebration and its only purpose was to undermine the historical and natural ties between Christians and Muslims in Egypt.

We, the members of the executive committee of the WCC, convey the concern of the entire ecumenical family and affirm our unequivocal support to the churches in Egypt in these troubled times. We draw courage from knowledge that you in the churches of Egypt stand firm in sustaining your witness through the many trials and tribulations that continue to threaten. We count your perseverance in faith as a living example of true Christian witness, even to the point of martyrdom.

It is a matter of regret that in Egypt today Christians can easily fall victim to violence and hatred, and that their security is not fully guaranteed. Many Copts, in particular, are made to feel like aliens in their own country. This marginalization is further compounded by sectarian violence and hatred.

We are conscious of the great pain this has inflicted on the churches in Egypt. While we share with you the agony and anguish of the people, we express to the churches in Egypt our deep concern and solidarity with all your members in these troubled times. We believe that whatever happens to one community has a direct bearing on all communities. Notwithstanding the challenges before us, we know that we cannot despair. Rather, as Christians, we must find ways to be messengers of love and to convey the peace of God in Jesus Christ even amidst hostility and aggression.

We encourage the churches in Egypt to continue to counter negative trends with a pro-active engagement in dialogue and partnership for life and for Christian-Muslim coexistence.

We reaffirm our support to the various initiatives of the Egyptian churches aimed at advancing the common good of all people in Egypt regardless of their religious identities.

We pray with all members of the churches in Egypt for the strength and courage to withstand and overcome the immense challenges that confront Christians in Egypt in these difficult times.