Egypt must transform from 'religious rigidity to spiritual openness'
"We need to live by Christ's example and teach it to everyone. Your faith is able to stand against all challenges."
These are the words of His Grace Bishop Thomas of El Qussia and Mair Diocese (Upper Egypt). He was the headline speaker at the annual Embrace the Middle East lecture which took place yesterday evening at St James' Church, Piccadilly, in central London.
'The transformation of a nation' was the title of the lecture in which His Grace highlighted three social and political areas Egypt needs to alter in order to see transformation - a hierarchal society to become democratic, gender equality and a "transformation from religious rigidity to spiritual openness".
"I want this society to respect spirituality and be open to spirituality. I want us to take the example of Christ who actually was a revolutionist in his time. He was able to break the chains of rigidity in society and he was against the Pharisees," he said.
He continued: "When people ask me 'what do you think of the future of Egypt?' I want to tell them according to the Christian faith or the morals of Christ every person in the world is in the circle of love and this is the power of Christianity. We are able with love to conquer any challenge that is facing Christians all over the world."
Also present at the lecture was His Grace Bishop Angaelos of the Coptic Orthodox Church in the UK, Reverend Ruth Scott who chaired the talk, and Jeremy Moodey, chief executive of Embrace the Middle East.
"Our special calling for many years is to support Christian social witness in the Middle East," he said. "We support Christian led social witness in Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Egypt.
"One of our distinctive features is that we have people of all denominations involved in the charity here in the UK. It is our privilege to partner with many different traditions in the Middle East."
Formerly known as BibleLands, Embrace the Middle East is a Christian charity that was set up in 1854 with a mission to improve the lives of the vulnerable people in the Middle East.
They have been active in Egypt for many years working with schools, refugee projects, with healthcare projects, disability projects and also increasing in community development in some of the poorest parts of Egypt.
Moodey added: "In the last few years, it has been a special privilege to build a closer relationship with the Coptic Orthodox Church both here in the UK and Egypt."