Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
There are no words that will come close to describing the sense of outrage and condemnation I feel for the horrific attacks against the Coptic Churches on this Palm Sunday in Tanta and Alexandria, Egypt. News reports and images paint a macabre picture of horrors perpetrated against worshippers gathered to rejoice as the Holy Week pilgrimage began.
The attack against St. Marks Church in Alexandria would have been much worse had the bomber made it inside, having been stopped by security forces, many of whom died in the ensuing blast. Prayers are offered for those who have fallen victim and for those who raise, what must be tired and drooping arms, to continue the work of ending these atrocities.
I would ask that Churches and Anglicans across our diocese add our prayers to those of faithful people around the world who stand in solidarity with the victims of extremism, hatred and terror.
I had the privilege of meeting Pope Tawadros the Second when he visited Kingston to deliver the Mathers Lecture at Queens University in 2014. A humble and gentle man, we spoke about the challenges facing his Church due to the rising threat of ISIS and extremist groups. The situation at that time was relatively stable in Egypt, but Coptic Christians in Syria were suffering terribly and it was for them that he asked prayers to be offered. Alas, the cancer of extremism has continued to spread, but we must remain a people of steadfast hope who refuse to let the victimized stand alone.
I am thankful that Pope Tawadros was not injured, but I know that his heart is breaking tonight for the people committed to his care as their spiritual leader. May the Good News of Easter sustain him and his people through these dark times.
Yours in the Faith of the Victorious Christ,