[Diocese of Egypt] Pastors and young people in Egypt have held an unprecedented meeting to exchange ideas. A spokesperson for the Diocese in Egypt said: “The day aimed for youth to speak about their honest opinion of the church and the liturgy in order to reduce the gap between the youth and the church.”
The event started by lunch followed by an opening by Bishop Mouneer where he said that the focus for clergy should be on youth not only for the sake of the future but also for today. He also acknowledged the Coptic Orthodox Church which “has managed to build the sense of belonging in their youth and succeeded.”
Young people present answered two specific questions: “What I like in my church?” and “What holds me back from the church?” In answer to the first question, most of those present expressed their gratitude to the church where they felt peace and love. “My church is a church with a vision for evangelism and encourages visionaries” Michael said, who is from an evangelical church. “My church is not full of words only but living liturgy” said Marco, from the Coptic Orthodox Church. “I love my church because it is humble and serves everyone in need” Francine commented on the Anglican Church. In answer to the second question, many of those present expressed concern that church leaders never involve them in any decisions in the church as well as a lack of dialogue with the church leaders and ministers: “The church doesn’t always welcome the sinners” said Helen.
After hearing the youth, the pastors started talking as well. Bishop Mouneer began by asking forgiveness from the youth for not hearing them before and not being there for them. He then expressed his joy that the church had started to fix this problem. He also acknowledged the churches that do accept youth in their counsels, as a step forward in eliminating the problem.
The gathering ended by practical tips for leaders to take back to their churches such as imitating similar meetings in individual churches and taking time to listen to some of the youth who have actually abandoned the church.