Sabbath Day in Egypt
Sabbath greetings from Egypt! Our day began VERY early (my alarm went off at 4:45) as we needed to be on the road by 6a.m. Our journey required a 3 hours drive to reach the Red Sea town of Safaga where a New Church Development of the Presbytery of Upper Egypt awaited our arrival. Planted by a "seasoned" pastor, the 70 families which are forming this new community of faith await an actual building to make their presence "official" and, indeed, a parcel of land has been identified and now must await the delicate negotiations with local authorities which are required in order to receive the necessary permissions.
In the meantime, a local Synod advisor to the project has approached a well-established congregation in Qena to ask if they would be willing to sell a piece of THEIR existing property in order to further Christ's Kingdom in another part of the country. Can't quite imagine one of our US churches making that kind of sacrifice, can you?
For the time being, this growing new almost-church is meeting in homes or in the retreat center owned by the Presbytery (a 4 story office-looking building) with dorm rooms and a meeting hall. In fact, it was at the retreat center where we gathered for worship this morning. Our visit overlapped with a weekend youth retreat of one of the nearby congregations. Cinda, one of our team, had been asked to preach and she did a fine job with the story of the Good Samaritan, engaging the congregation who were also joined by a couple dozen of the high school retreaters. It was significant for a female "reverend" to be seen in the pulpit, especially as the Presbyterian Church here tries to lean forward into the ordination of women.
The conversations, lunch and hugs shared all around were a powerful reminder, once again, of the wonderful BIG family of faith which unites us as Christians....and Presbyterians! And we will have ADDED confirmation of that we will soon depart our hotel (after our micro-rest) to worship at the evening service of the Presbyterian Church back here in Luxor...Rev. Paul, another of our group, will be bringing the message.
We love you and are grateful for the prayers which sustain us,