With concerns rising over the fate of Coptic Christians who have come under attack in Egypt in recent weeks and months, organizers of the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity are moving this year’s statewide ecumenical prayer service to a spacious new church being built in western Cranston by the state’s one Coptic congregation.
The service, which is expected to draw clergy and lay people from a variety of Protestant, Catholic and Orthodox congregations, will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 29 at the new St. Mary & St. Mena Church, which is now in the last stages of construction at 2433 Scituate Ave.
The Faith and Order Department of the Rhode Island State Council of Churches says members chose the Coptic Church, with its gleaming white walls and golden dome, in part to call attention to the plight of the Coptic Christians who fear that the Arab Spring that was celebrated last year will become a winter for the region’s Christian minority.
The Very Rev. Peter –Michael Preble, pastor of the St. Michael’s Romanian Orthodox Church in Southbridge, Mass., will preach at the prayer service. His message will be preceded by an introduction by Dr. Douaa Girgis to the situation of the Christian Church in Egypt.
In addition to music by the choir at St. Michael’s Orthodox Church in Woonsocket and by the choir of St. Mary and St. Mena, ministers and priests from a number of denominations will take part. Donations received at the service will be divided between the Egypt Relief Fund of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of North America and the Rhode Island State Council of Churches.