On Sunday 21st January 2007, during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, the Young People’s Home Group visited the Midlands Coptic Orthodox Centre. The Copts come from Egypt and are one of the oldest Christian communities in the world. We began the day by joining the congregation for the 2 3/4 hour liturgy. This was an education for all of us as we experienced music that the Pharaohs would have been familiar with as the Copts have taken ancient Egyptian music and added Christian words as well as prayers in Coptic, Arabic, Greek and English.
After the service we were welcomed by Fr John and Bishop Missael and we gave them a letter written by our Bishop John sending them his greetings, before moving to the church hall for food and drinks. Bishop Missael then presented all of us either with an icon or a necklace before giving our curate Craig a very large Orthodox priest’s crucifix with the words “I give you this as a priest in the Church of God”. Needless to say Craig was very moved.
We then all attended Sunday School where we learned about the meaning of the word Epiphany. Every time one of the young people answered a question correctly they were given either a small picture or a key ring. The quality of the teaching was superb and each of us took something away from it.
We then had the opportunity to share our impressions of the Liturgy and ask any questions before moving on to yet more food (sweet meats and Danish pastries) before playing games together.
We are very much looking forward to welcoming the young people from the Coptic Centre to St. Nicholas in the near future. We were very grateful for such a warm welcome and it will be great to return the favour.