His Grace Bishop Angaelos of the UK is a strong supporter of Coptic Orphans,. A several years ago, His Grace gave a speech to an ecumenical group on the Coptic Orthodox Church in development. The speech highlights the strength available when the Church, the place where most authentic community is possible, and which is the Holy Spirit’s agent of transformation on earth, meets the best resources of the world that its children bring to the service of the Kingdom of God.
Below is his talk, as available on siteresources.WorldBank.org
The Coptic Orthodox Church:
Partners for Development
[An address given by His Grace Bishop Angaelos, General Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the United Kingdom, to the African Christian Leaders’ Gathering of the Alliance of Religions and Conservation (ARC) in London on Monday 15 November 2004]
I bring you the greetings of His Holiness Pope Shenouda III, Pope of Alexandria and Patriarch of the See of Saint Mark, and of the Coptic Orthodox Church inEgyptant theUnited Kingdom. While His Holiness was unable to attend this distinguished gathering, he has delegated me to attend in his place, reiterating his and the Church’s continued interest and commitment to the ministry of the people of God and the preservation of His world.
The Coptic Orthodox Church of Egypt is an Apostolic, main stream andTraditionalChurchestablished by St. Mark the apostle, writer of the second gospel, in the first Century. It is the largest Christian Church in the Middle East, with about twelve (12) million faithful inEgyptalone.
Within the true concept of “Church” the Coptic Church is not just an institution but rather is an intrinsic part of the life of every community, every family, and every individual member of the faithful. The Church also sees its’ ministry being one of partnership, and these partnerships are with Coptic dioceses and parishes, Government bodies and NGOs, special interest groups, but above all these is the partnership in ministry with God Himself.
In the current world climate in which we find ourselves and especially in a country like Egypt where, according to the World Bank Report of 2001/2002, thirty-three percent (33%) of the population lives under the poverty line, twelve percent (12%) is unemployed and forty-nine percent (49%) in some rural areas is illiterate, the Church finds herself as a major source of support for these individuals, families and whole communities. While the main role of the Church is to provide spiritual support for her children, there is also a real need for social and economic support in these areas.
Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Incarnate Logos, came to support the poor, marginalised and oppressed. He came to “preach the good news to the poor…to proclaim release to the captives and, recovering of the sight to blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed” (Luke 4:18-19). And so we, as His Church, need to do the same. When the multitudes came to listen to His life-giving spiritual words, the Lord was also mindful of their physical needs, and constantly instructed His disciples to feed them first. Our Lord Jesus Christ intended to teach His disciples, and in turn us, that this holistic model of ministry was to be the blueprint upon which they were to build the mission of His Church on earth, using the tools and skills that He had given them, and has given us.