Friends of Coptic Education Inaugural Dinner
A heartfelt thank you to our Friends of Coptic Education!
The Inaugural Fundraising Dinner on October 14 was a resounding success.
We are deeply grateful for your generosity and support of the initial fundraising campaign that will allow us Friends to donate a substantial amount to His Grace Bishop Kyrillos’ Education Initiatives.
To strengthen His Grace’s efforts with consistent financial support, we ask that you Become a Friend of Coptic Education as a sustaining supporter with a one-time or monthly donation commitment. Even further, please Kindly share this message with friends and family with an encouraging note to donate to this worthy endeavor.
Thank you for supporting Coptic Education for all ages.
Please continue reading for event synopsis
Bishop Kyrillos’ Education Initiative & Vision
His Grace Bishop Kyrillos delivered a moving speech at the event, read below for quotes of the different areas highlighted within his speech:
Importance of Education
“Next month the Church will celebrate 100 years of the establishment of Sunday School; and next year we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Church here in Los Angeles. It is on these occasions we are compelled to reexamine our commitment to education and secure a concrete plan for the next 50 years of the diocese, and the next 100 years of Christian education. If we have learned anything from the life of Habib Girgis in the past 150 years, when the Church’s education is deficient, Her mission is drastically compromised.”
Education in the Church Agenda
“Last week, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II invited bishops, priests, and servants from North America, UK, and Australia for a week-long seminar dedicated to Christian Education. There is no doubt that our church, starting with His Holiness, His Eminence Metropolitan Serapion (who suggested this topic as the focus of the conference), the bishops and clergy value the education agenda as central to our Church’s evolution.”… “At that meeting last week many things were discussed. HH was challenging us to meet the growing needs of Christian education like hiring Full time staff and faculty, developing more Christian schools, accrediting our existing theological school, and even hosting fundraisers for Christian education. HH was joyfully surprised to hear of tonight’s event for this purpose.”
His Grace outlined many areas of struggle to fulfill the mission of ACTS and the Christian Education Department. He points towards mainly issues of adoption and resources.
Need for Continued Support
“We face many challenges, and in the journey of education, we are bound to face many more. I sincerely appreciate your dedication to the importance of education. But I hope and pray that your involvement does not end with dessert. We as Copts, and as Americans, expect and search for the best, especially when it comes to education.
Our children, our youth, our servants, our priests, our church and our salvation depends on the best education of scripture, the Holy Trinity and the Church. We must, together be dedicated to providing the best quality of education in whatever form or audience. Our children should not have to settle for less, because we were unwilling to provide more.
By the end of the year we are submitting our application for accreditation for ACTS. One of the most important factors, if not the most important factor, for accrediting bodies is financial sustainability. They always prefer one person contributing $100 per month, than a one-time $1200 donation—not only for predictability of funds, but also to determine the commitment of the donors.”
50% of funds will be allocated for hiring faculty and staff.
20% will be dedicated to the broader goals of Christian education, including the development of curricula for Sunday School, Servants’ Preparation, and Deacons/ Hymns school. These curricula and programs will not only be used within in our beloved diocese, but throughout North America, Australia and UK as agreed in our meeting with His Holiness that took place last week. So what we are doing here in Los Angeles will potentially affect Coptic Education in NA, UK and Australia!
10% of your contributions will go toward our scholarship program for new students in the lands of Immigration.
10% development of future programs beyond that of the MTS and ThM which we are applying for this year.
10% will go toward Marketing and Advertising
Mark Swanson’s Message on the History of Christian Education in the Coptic Church
In his keynote address, Rev. Dr. Mark Swanson, the Harold S. Vogelaar Professor of Christian-Muslim Studies and Interfaith Relations at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, turned attention to the importance of the emphasis on education throughout Coptic Orthodox Christian history, even back to the 12th and 13th centuries. Rev. Dr. Swanson focused on the transition of the church from a state of crisis of discipline, piety and, ultimately, education in the 12th century to one of overflowing literature and progress in the 13th, under the guidance of Pope Gabriel II and the monk and later Pope Gabriel III, respectively.
Pope Gabriel II faced a shift in language, from Coptic to Arabic, that left many members of the church unable to understand the Coptic prayers at each service, forcing them to blindly recite prayers they could not understand or benefit from. Pope Gabriel II became a pioneer for the education of priests and lay members of the church alike, initiating the integration of the local Arabic languages into the Coptic services. He also lead these efforts by instructing the bishops of the time to also teach the Christian people they shepherded, through the memorization of the Creed and doxologies, in a tongue they could understand. He also allowed for the first translations of the Old and New Testaments, priestly books, and other Coptic literature, into Arabic, allowing people the opportunity to understand the holy books they read from. Fast-forward one century, and the Coptic Orthodox Church found itself in a type of literary renaissance, eventually under the guidance of Pope Gabriel III. Starting out as a monk and scribe, Pope Gabriel III contributed to the extensive Coptic libraries and copies of Coptic literature that marked the 13th century, producing and copying texts of Coptic Orthodox literature in theology, philosophy, apologetics, preserving the Coptic language through books on Coptic grammar as well as Coptic dictionaries. Such a tremendous turn from a period of Coptic literary darkness to a literary outpour over the span of this century was only made possible by a readiness to learn and people who were prepared to support this learning.
An example such as this, one rooted so deeply in our Coptic Orthodox history, demonstrates the importance and the power of Coptic education and its integral role in a thriving future for our Coptic community and faith.
Written by Anastasia Ibrahim- Click here to see the full article