On Saturday, November, 17, 2018, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, the Patriarch of Alexandria and the See of St. Mark, Ambassador Nabila Makram, the Minister of Immigration and the Egyptians’ Affairs Abroad, participated in the closing session of the Scientific Conference of Sunday School at the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center, in the presence of His Grace Bishop Ermia and a group of father bishops and priests and participants of the conference.
His Holiness the Pope’s Word:
In his speech at the closing session of the Scientific Conference of Sunday School, His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, the Patriarch of Alexandria and the See of St. Mark, assured that Sunday School teaches everyone about love for God, homeland and people without discrimination, and that all the Egyptians have lived around the River Nile, pointing that the Church’s ministry has expanded to faraway places all over the world, and he added, “Sunday School also teaches us to love our land, as well as all creatures, and to love Eternity as well”.
His Holiness Pope Tawadros II added that the year 2018 is a joyful one to the Church, as it marks the centenary of establishing Sunday School, the 50th anniversary of establishing the Cathedral and the 50th anniversary of St. Virgin Mary’s apparition at Zaitoun.
He said that celebrating the centenary of Sunday School is a joyful issue as its influence is powerful over all generations, expressing his rejoice at the attendance of Ambassador Nabila Makram, the Minister of Immigration and the Egyptians’ Affairs Abroad, and participation in the conference events.
His Holiness the Pope said that the main factor affecting a child’s character since his childhood is an honest servant; he is the primary factor affecting everybody’s life, referring that he is much proud at his graduation from Sunday School, as are all the bishops and priests, and that he was raised at Sunday Schools of Sohag where he learnt awe and circumspection in all life matters thanks to Sunday School.
He followed, “Sunday School service takes the course of Archdeacon Habib Gerges, who was really honest in establishing Sunday School and keeping it continuously working with a sole motive which is love and working as one family in order to present teaching and mercy in all forms, expressing his wish to ordain a bishop to be in charge of childhood phase”.
His Holiness the Pope made reference to the establishment of an institute aiming at developing the intellect of servants and priests, so the church would be able to cope with all the developments occurring in the society, and that he aspires that every man would work positively towards the country and the Church.
Ambassador Nabila Makram’s Word:
Ambassador Nabila Makram, the Minister of Immigration, commenced her speech at the session titled “Sunday School and the Future Vision”, by expressing her greetings to His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, the priests and the attendees, declaring her rejoice for being invited to participate in this scientific seminar of Sunday School.
Ambassador Nabila Makram presented a research paper titled “Sunday School’s Role in Reinforcing Patriotism and Nationality”, asserting that the Church always prays for all the officials of the country and for the peace of the country and the world, clarifying that she is not speaking as a government minister, but rather as a Sunday School graduate.
The minister pointed out to the crucial role played by Sunday School in building one’s character, particularly with regards to the Egyptians’ children abroad, and that Sunday School focuses on building characters during childhood phase, stating that the Church teaches the children about patriotism, taking part in building the country and positive working.
She asserted that Sunday School plays a fundamental role in building the character and culture of its students; through raising children on the societal values and concepts, represented in uplifting the values of citizenship and serving the poor and the needy, which all enhance the national identity on which our children shall be raised.
The minister allured to the necessity of making contact between the family and the Sunday School’s servants in order to counter the ferocious electronic attack of social media, expressing her thanks to His Holiness Pope Tawadros II for dealing wisely with different issues, which is a carefully drawn path for building the society and the church.
The minister of immigration praised the role done by the Coptic Church abroad in gathering the Egyptians and encouraging them to vote in the elections.
Concluding her speech, the minister gave credit to “Back to Roots” conference, which was organized by the Church at the Papal Headquarters in St. Bishoy’s Monastery, Egypt, as an attempt to face the challenges imposed by the Copts’ immigration to the west, the disappearance of the original identities and the degradation of the immigrant youths’ national feelings.
Engineer Samy Mitry also presented a research paper titled, “Sunday School and the Ecumenical Movement… A Dynamic Relationship throughout Ages”, while Mr. Gerges Saleh spoke about “Sunday School’s Role in Ecumenical Work… His Grace Bishop Youanes, the Bishop of Gharbiya as a Model”. Dr. Snott Delaware uncovered a research paper titled, “Sunday School in a New World… A Future Study”.
Dr. Adly Anis proposed a topic titled, “the Geographical Content in Sunday School Program between the Real and the Desired”, while Adly Fouad Sefien presented a study titled, “A Proposed Introduction to the Doctrinal Theology’s Methodology of Sunday School”, the session was conducted by Dr. Rasmy Abdel Malek.
At the end of the conference, a number of Sunday School pioneers were honored, among whom are Their Grace Bishops Bakhomius, the Metropolitan of Beheira, Matrouh and the Five West Cities, Bishop Mousa, the Bishop of Youth, Bishop Rewis, the General Bishop as well as a group of servants of powerful influence in Sunday School’s route throughout 100 years.
The conference commanded the preparation of a data base for the Church Education, intensifying the work in slums and rural areas, in addition to giving care to Sunday School at the immigration churches.
It is noteworthy that Sunday School Conference continued for 3 days, included 10 scientific sessions at the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center in St. Mark’s Cathedral, Abbasiya. During the sessions, 50 research papers were displayed, tackling the history, present and future of Sunday School, on the historical, educational, social and spiritual levels, as well as its role in serving the Church, the society and the country.
The Events of the First and Second Days
The events of the second day of the Scientific Conference of Sunday School, held to celebrate the centenary of its establishment, under the patronage of His Holiness Pope Tawadros II, and Bishop Daniel, the Bishop of Maadi and the General Secretary of the Holy Synod, included 8 sessions organized at the Coptic Orthodox Cultural Center, located in Anba Rewis, Abbasiya.
The first session was titled, “Sunday School throughout History and Pioneers of Sunday School Service”, during which Engineer Adel Ramzi Gerges spoke about the administration system across the history of Sunday School, while Dr. Aida Nassif spoke about “The Thinkers; Influencers of and Influenced by Sunday School”. Dr. Ra’if Yanni proposed a research paper titled, “Founding Sunday School’s Service in Immigration Churches”, Maged Kamel spoke about the topic, “The Prominent Role of Sunday School’s Service Pioneers in Service, Bishop Ghreghorius as a model”. Ehab Helmi Nicola concluded the first session with a research paper titled, “Bishop Bimen, the Bishop of Malawi, Ansena and Al Ashmonin, and his Influence on the Educational and Pedagogical Respects in Sunday School”, the session was conducted by Dr. Nassif Fahmy.
Then another session was held, in which Dr. Adel Fakhry Sadeq tackled a topic titled, “Sunday School’s Contribution in Coptic Legacy… Bishop Samuel, the Bishop of Shebin al Qanater and its Affiliates as a Model”, while Dr. Hanan Hanna tackled the topic “The Obstacles which Sunday School has overcome throughout its History”, Malak Bushra Hanna talked about “The Emergence and Development of the Higher Committee of Sunday School”, Zakaria Abdel Sayed Gerges presented a research paper entitled “The Role of Sunday School Pioneers in the Church History Studies”, also, Neveen Gerges Roushdi proposed a research paper entitled, “The Role of Sunday School Magazine in Developing the Service of Sunday Schools in the First Ten Years”. The session was conducted by George Germans.
The third session was titled “Leading Churches in the Service of Sunday School and Pioneers in the Service of Sunday School”, and was conducted by Adel Fakhry, while 5 topics were presented by Priest Bishoy Helmi, Deacon Youssef Moussa, Ishaq Ibrahim El Bagoushi, Bishoy El Qomus Youanes and Rami Gamal Samuel. The fourth session was titled, “The Role of Sunday School in the Service of the Church” and was conducted by Dr. Adly Anis, during this session, Dr. Nassif Fahmi Mankarios, Zakaria Abdel Sayed Gerges, Safwat Raja’i Amin, Archpriest Ish’aia Mikhail and Priest Philobus Bebawi Tadros gave speeches.
The fifth session of the conference was held under the title “Sunday School and its Impact on the Service of the Community”. It was conducted by Dr. Ishaq Agban and its speakers were Dr. Iman Nasri Dawood, Ramez Atallah, Doaa Samir Botros, Mamdouh Milad Saad, and Priest Tawadros Obaid. Another session was also held by Dr. Sinot Delwar, in which Dr. Elaria Atef gave a speech, as well as Dr. Gamal Zekri, Dr. Marian Amir Azer and Dr. Gamal Mohamed Abu Zeid, who presented a research paper entitled “The Role of Sunday School in Instilling the Values of Citizenship”, in addition to Dr. Ramy Atta, who spoke about Christian media and its role in serving the children, juveniles and youths audience.
The seventh session of the second day’s events of the scientific conference on Sunday School included speeches on the service of the village and slums, presented by Dr. Moheb Khilla, while Dr. Madonna Emad spoke about the role of Sunday School in supporting the social values. Archpriest Athanasius Fahmy tackled the topic of “The Church Education and its Pedagogical Role”, while Dr. Suzan Emad Morcos spoke about “The Church Education in the Framework of the Innovations in Educational Techniques”. The session was conducted by Dr. Ramy Atta.
Honoring the participants of the conference by His Holiness Pope Twadros II