A season of Christian festivals in Egypt, culminating in an event uniting an estimated 14,000 worshippers has brought hope to millions in a year that has seen ruthless attacks on the nation’s church.
Christian broadcaster SAT-7 streamed The Count it Right festival (26-28 October) live to viewers across the Arab world as thousands attended for worship, teaching and encouragement. After ten months (since 11 December 2016) that saw over 100 Egyptian Christians killed or injured in terror attacks, six major Christian festivals held this autumn in the country were televised by SAT-7.
SAT-7 Egypt Executive Director, Albert Fawzi, said “Church festivals are really important. These are times when you see people gathering, seeking the Lord, worshipping, uniting and praying. Many people attend for the first time and we hear so many stories of life-changing experiences from people who are freed from bondages and addictions and start to follow Christ.
“SAT-7’s role in broadcasting these events is no less important. We help connect believers together, allow them to feel the joyful spirit of praise and connect with the larger church. Those who cannot attend can join in spirit as they watch. Ex-pats and other Arab viewers across the region follow our live broadcasts and send us their prayer requests.
“I cannot tell you how good it feels to receive a message from someone who was not able to physically attend but said, SAT-7 your live broadcasting (Social Media or TV streaming) made me feel like I am with you and I decided to take steps in my life. God has granted us wonderful tools and we should do our best to use them to the maximum.”
“I want to meet these good people”
Viewer feedback for the Count it Right festival, in fact, came from as far afield as Pakistan, the Philippines and Malaysia. “I want to come to Egypt and meet these good people,” one wrote.
Others spoke of the personal impact of the event’s preaching: “Thank you for allowing me to attend the meeting via the internet. Thank you, Jesus, for saving me with your precious blood. Create in me a clean heart, live in me and reign in me.”
Between May and August this year, security alerts from Egypt’s security forces led the Christian community to cancel all outdoor activities. However, new advice this autumn allowed a series of festivals to go ahead.
Mr Fawzi explained: “The churches are in constant communication with security forces especially when arranging mega events where thousands of Christian worshippers gather. We thank the Lord for His protection. However, separate incidents against Christians, such as the [12 October] slaughter of Fr Samaan Shahata as he returned to his church, occur from time to time, causing anger and disappointment.”
Prayer for peace – for both Egypt and the wider region – features strongly at the festivals, Fawzi said. “We will continue to pray not only for Christians but for each person in our country. We pray for peace and love to rule. We pray to see an end to these shameful and painful terrorist attacks! Join us!”
Learn how SAT-7 enables churches in the Middle East and North Africa to disciple Christians in the region