From HG Bishop Youssef
Dear beloved in Christ,As you know, the Copts have been in an era of immigration for the last 40 years. During this time, two needs have arisen. First, as the Coptic people have settled and have had children, these children, or their grandchildren, have been raised entirely within the cultural milieu and language of the country of their birth. That being the case, there is, naturally, cultural differences between the first immigrants and the third generation Coptic-Americans. An extensive research has been done to assess the best approach in developing an American Orthodox church to serve the future generations.A total of 8 churches are envisioned to be established in the Southern Diocese. They will be located in major metropolitan areas where large populations are located. These Churches will ensure we can serve the needs of both Coptic and non-Coptic Americans for decades to come, while still maintaining the strong spirituality that St. Mark bequeathed to us.Through the grace of God, in order to serve the spiritual, social and cultural needs of these native-born Coptic-Americans, the first of eight churches will be located in Orlando, FL. God willing, services will begin during Holy Week at St. Athanasius Coptic Orthodox Church, which will offer all English services for the week of Holy Week. This church will be fully established once an appropriate priest is ordained to serve it, but until that day, the Florida priests will support the church by serving during the Holy Week and conducting a monthly liturgy on Saturday and weekly Holy Bible studies on Friday evenings.This future church will be in the language and ethos of the host country and will ensure we preserve the faith of our people for generations to come. In addition to serving future generations of Coptic-Americans, this church will also allow us to reach the non-Coptic people of America. The Church that our Lord Jesus Christ created was for the benefit of all humanity, and this church will be a place where they can also come to know God and grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.I request your full support of this new endeavor. Your prayers, active help and encouragement of those servants who are doing this work are vitally important. We must be forward-thinking and plan today for the future welfare for our people tomorrow.