Church

Bookshops of the Egyptian Bible Society Burnt and Destroyed

Dr. Ramez Atallah, director of the Bible Society of Egypt, writes today (August 14, 2013):

Dear friends,

I have just received the sad news of the complete burning and destruction(by Muslim fundamentalists)of our Bible Society’s bookshops in Assiut & Minia (the largest cities in Southern Egypt). These were both very beautiful, fully equipped bookshops. Fortunately we were closed today, fearing such an attack, so none of our staff were injured. The attackers demolished the metal doors protecting the bookshops, broke the store windows behind them and set the bookshops on fire. They did the same to many stores on those streets as well as demolishing many parked cars.

Similar incidents are taking place across the nation and to date 15 churches and 3 Christian schools have been attacked and some set on fire.

Dispersal of Sit-ins

Most of you know by now that the Egyptian police, supported by the army, have dispersed the demonstrators from one of the big sit-ins of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) protesters and are working now to evacuate the other, larger one.

To understand why most residents of Cairo feel that these sit-ins should not continue, you should imagine how long residents of New York – or your own city – would tolerate the following scenario:-

Imagine more than 10,000 protestors camped for six weeks in Times Square in New York. No traffic can go through the square and, as a result, all other traffic in the area becomes congested, especially at rush hour. People and businesses in the surrounding buildings have their lives completely disrupted – they can hardly get access to their shops or homes and cannot stand the stench of 10,000 people in the middle of summer using the street and sidewalks as housing. In addition these strangers have set up their own shops and facilities in the middle of the streets. So it is a very scary scene. Add to this the non-stop onslaught of speeches blaring from loudspeakers all day long, and those living in Times Square will neither rest nor sleep as long as the sit-in continues!

In retaliation for the government dispersing the sit-ins, this morning Muslim Brotherhood leaders called for nation-wide protests. In response to these calls, Muslim fundamentalists all over Egypt have gone on a rampage of violence; some of it aimed at Christian targets, but also targeting government institutions, police stations and private property especially parked cars.

One of the reasons why the government has been so reticent in dispersing the sit-ins was precisely because of the MB’s many threats of retaliation. So most Egyptians expected the violence. Nevertheless, it is heartbreaking to watch on TV this bloodshed between fellow-Egyptians unfolding before our eyes.

Trusting God for the future

It is important to underline that — while some Christian properties have been the victim of this violence — they are by no means the only ones targeted. This is an attack against the State by a violent minority in an attempt to destabilize the Nation. Please pray….

  • That the government may manage to disperse the remaining sit-in with as few injuries and loss of life as possible.
  • That these sad incidents would not increase the alienation of the MBs but that they would somehow be re-integrated into Egyptian society.
  • For protection for all Christian properties across the Nation.
  • For Christians to have a spirit of forgiveness and love towards those who are perceived as being our enemies.

Bible Society of Egypt, bookshop, burntThe Bible Society of Egypt has been in operation for 129 years and this is the first time we have been the victims of such attacks. We thank God for His protection, praise Him that none of our staff were injured, and are determined – as soon as things settle down – to rapidly restore these two bookshops to continue providing God’s Word in those two strategic cities. Sincerely in Christ,

Ramez Atallah, Bible Society of Egypt, signature

Ramez Atallah General Director The Bible Society of Egypt

Sources

 

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Church

Violence Escalating Against Christian Churches in Egypt

CWN:

Islamic zealots attacked 23 Christian churches in Cairo and surrounding regions on August 14, as violence spread after the Egyptian police cleared out camps of protesters supporting the ousted Morsi government.

Father Rafic Greiche, a spokesman for the Catholic Church in Egypt, said that 7 Catholic churches had been attacked, as well as 15 Coptic Orthodox churches and one Protestant church. Last week Father Greiche said that Egyptian Christians are living in fear because of Islamic violence; he has criticized the Western media for its failure to report the attacks on Christians.

The violence directed against Christian targets reflects the belief—widely held by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood—that Christians in Egypt conspired to bring down the Morsi government…

 

Church

ELCA Elects First Female Presiding Bishop(ess)

Religion News Service:

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America on Wednesday (Aug. 14) elected the Rev. Elizabeth Eaton as the denomination’s first female presiding bishop. Eaton received 600 votes against incumbent Presiding Bishop Mark Hanson, who received 287.

Eaton, the current ELCA bishop of the Cleveland-based Northeast Ohio Synod, is married to the Rev. Conrad Selnick, an Episcopal priest. Like Hanson, she is considered a moderate who supported the denomination’s decision to allow partnered gay clergy while allowing room for churches to disagree, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

A native of Cleveland, she received a master of divinity degree from Harvard Divinity School.

“We are a church that is overwhelmingly European in a culture that is increasingly pluralistic,” Eaton told the ELCA Churchwide Assembly in Pittsburgh shortly after the election.

“We need to welcome the gifts of those who come from different places, that is a conversation we need to have as a church.”

The ELCA, which has lost members nearly every year since its founding in 1987, experienced a dramatic drop when it lost nearly half a million members in 2010 and 2011.

Hanson is credited with leading the nation’s largest Lutheran body — with more than 4 million members in 9,638 congregations — with a steady hand during turbulent times as the ELCA wrestled with the gay policy that Hanson favored but was hesitant to push on the larger church.

Even so, under his watch the Chicago-based ELCA saw a small but significant schism as conservatives upset with the decision to allow gay clergy defected to a new rival denomination, the North American Lutheran Church.

The election was a surprise to many, as Hanson was expected to win an unprecedented third term after 12 years in office. Hanson was the third presiding bishop in the denomination’s history; three of four finalists for the position were women…