October 2012 Letter
Very recently we celebrated the beginning of the new Coptic year 1729, and with this occasion perhaps it would be useful for us to remember that the Bible is asking us not to imitate the worldly people but be different and keep our image as children of God: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Rom 12: 2). And therefore the Bible gave us some examples to explain the relationship of Christians with the people of this world. Among these examples:
1) The Christian is a light for the world, and although Christ said about Himself: “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness” (Jn 8: 12), yet He also said: “You are the light of the world” (Mt 5: 14), as every Christian is asked to reflect the light of Christ exactly as the moon reflects the light of the sun.
2) The Christian is a salt of the earth (Mt 5: 14); for as the salt is a preservative and a small amount gives taste to food, likewise the Christians.
3) “For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing” (2Co 2: 15). As the beautiful smell imposes itself without effort on those around, so Christians are asked to show the beauty and sweetness of Christ to all around them.
4) Also St. Paul demands us: “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God” (2Co 5: 20). As an ambassador living in a strange country representing his native country, so the Christian is a heavenly citizen who lives in this world representing the Lord of glory and witnessing to his Living Victorious Christ in every place and time.
5) Like a leaven that carries life inside it and leavens the dough (Mt 13: 33), so the Christian
carries the life of Christ and transfers it to those surrounding.
As for the church news, through God’s Grace and the blessings of St. Mary & St. Mercurius, the city of Belleville has granted us the preliminary approval for the planned Youth Center, and now begins the practical steps in the preparation of architectural drawings until we receive the final approval. We hope that you will continue to support this project with your prayers.
And for this reason the annual festival will be held on Saturdays and Sundays: 6th and 7th of October, and the following weekend: 13th and 14th of October. Enclosed is an invitation you can deliver or send to any of your colleagues, friends or neighbors
Asking you to remember the church, priest, servants and all services always in your prayers, may the blessing of St. Mary & St. Mercurius be with us all.
Fr. Youssef Halim & Fr. Luke Istafanous
Belleville, October 1, 2012