As Egyptians gathered this week in Cairo's Tahrir Square to mark the first anniversary of the "Egyptian Revolution," nearby Jasr El Dobara church continued to be a bridge-builder between communities of faith.
In January 2011, during the intense protests that brought down the government of Hosni Mubarak, the Evangelical Church of Egypt building became a gathering place for protesters who were wounded and exhausted, earning the congregation the nickname "Church of the Revolution."
"People with medical expertise made themselves available and the church gave 'hospital' space and refuge to Christians and Muslims alike," said the general secretary of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC), Setri Nyomi, in a statement.
"This is a model of the supportive and united community protesters were hoping to create in their country. Today, one year on, it still stands as an example of cooperation between communities of faith," Nyomi stated.
During talks with the Evangelical Church of Egypt, Nyomi said he heard of concerns about tension between some Muslim and Christian groups that has led to violence, including destruction of worship spaces.
"Members of the church continue to pray for a nation which values all its citizens no matter what their religion. It is their hope that as Egypt maps its democratic life going forward, it will be characterized by respect for all the religious communities and freedom to live and contribute to the new Egypt," Nyomi said.
In praising efforts of the Evangelical Church to participate in rebuilding the country, Nyomi said: "It is my hope that the emerging political leaders will value freedom of religion and will work hard at creating space for all Egyptians to participate fully in building a new Egypt in which the welfare of all is paramount."
The WCRC's 230 member churches represent 80 million Christians worldwide.
--Jan. 26, 2012