In a year when the Easter festival falls at the same time in the Eastern and Western church calendars, Christian satellite TV broadcaster SAT-7 will transmit worship services from all the main denominations and from churches in Syria, Egypt and Lebanon. Through its Arabic, Farsi and Turkish language channels it will give Christian viewers and others across the region access to the message of Easter, and to worship in many traditions.
“At a time when many in the region experience either great danger or uncertainty, SAT-7’s broadcasters in the region are doing all they can to share the Easter message of redemption, fresh hope and new life,” said SAT-7 UK Executive Director Rachel Fadipe.
Many of the services and special worship meetings are being broadcast live, beginning with a special Family Prayer night from Kasr El Dobara Evangelical Church in Cairo on Monday 14 April. Organisers say this is being held for the first time as an opportunity to affirm that God is in control over events in Egypt, to give thanks for the forbearance and peaceful witness of Christians even after attacks on churches and properties last August, and to renew their commitment as families to be salt and light for Christ.
Other broadcasts will include prayers for Easter recorded at the Christian Unity Church (pictured above) in Damascus, Syria, an Easter service from an historical Maronite Catholic Church in Lebanon (Saint Maroon Church in Beiteddine), an Orthodox Easter Mass from Egypt on Holy Saturday (19 April) and a praise concert and Easter celebrations from Cairo and Heliopolis, Egypt, on Easter Day.
SAT-7 PLUS (available in North Africa and Europe) will also include an Easter drama programme made in Algeria. The Jesus Film and The Passion of the Christ will enable viewers to consider the events at the heart of the Easter season, and a range of SAT-7 magazine and children’s programmes will also carry a strong Easter theme.
On SAT-7 ARABIC and SAT-7 PLUS, Easter broadcasts will climax with a live 8-hour recording of an Easter night of prayer from Wady el Natroun, between Cairo and Alexandria.
Tens of thousands expected
Tens of thousands of Egyptians are expected to gather for this night of prayer and celebration. It follows similar, national gatherings attended by up to 70,000 people, in October and November in the last three years.
SAT-7 Egypt director, Farid Samir, said many SAT-7 staff had chosen to give up their Easter weekend to help facilitate and broadcast this event. He explains: “Broadcasting these events has sent powerful messages to audiences about the unity of Christians in their nations, their love for their home countries, and the joy they have even during the most challenging times.”
A SAT-7 viewer in Kuwait wrote to thank SAT-7 for the broadcasts: “I wish you a very happy Easter. I am so blessed and I enjoyed watching the Easter services, especially the Live programmes you aired on Good Friday. God bless you.”