Caring for the body of Christ

Members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together. (I Cor. 12:26)

At a home for girls, the sister who runs it cares for about 80 girls from poor families. For many of these girls, "Sister Agatha" was their only hope. Here at the Home, the girls will work hard, many will graduate from school or get more training, marry and have a family.

“If she’s not here,” Sister Agatha says of the girls, “She’d be in the street.” In many ways, the sister and her staff are helping to save these girls’ lives.

The Home began more than 100 years ago, the pastor tells me. For the past 50 years, the Home has been part of the church’s ministry. It is now a Global Family Project for Mennonite Central Committee.

The pastor thanks MCC for its help and asks for our continuing prayers.

Later in the day, I visit the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Cairo where MCC has a worker teaching theological English. Dr. Atef Gendy tells me that Christians are 10-12% of the Egyptian population. Of this 10% or so of the population, the Coptic Orthodox Church accounts for about 85%, with about 10% being Protestant and 5% Catholic.

Dr. Gendy says that the Egyptian revolution has meant that the Christian groups have needed to work together more closely and support each other.

One organization that is providing a lot of help in the Christian communities is the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services (CEOSS), one of the largest NGOs in Egypt. Its work includes agricultural development, microenterprise, dialogue and peacebuilding, publishing and more. MCC is helping with several smaller peacebuilding projects.

From a base begun in the evangelical community, CEOSS is reaching out to the broader Christian community and beyond.

In Egypt, where Christians are a small part of the population, caring for one another has practical implications. When one member suffers, all suffer together. Members care for one another.

Ron Byler is executive director of Mennonite Central Committee U.S.


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