Regarding the Current Situation

On January 16th, 2016 the StMarkDC Board of deacons sent the following email with the subject “Regarding the Current Situation”:

Dear St Mark’s family,

Peace and Grace!

We wish to clarify and give you a summary of the very recent events and we feel it is necessary to be transparent with all of you. We pray that everyone would respond in wisdom to this situation.

At the moment, St. Mark’s is facing an unusual situation.  On January 8, 2016, Fr Bishoy Andrawes submitted his request for early retirement from his priestly service at St Mark to His Holiness the Pope and HG Bishop Karas and also to the Board of Deacons due to his health concerns.

Neither His Holiness the Pope nor HG Bishop Karas, nor the Board of Deacons, because of their love and respect for Father Bishoy and his many years of service at St Mark’s, has accepted the request.  However, since submitting the request, Fr Bishoy has been unreachable despite many attempts by HH the Pope, HG  Bishop Karas, the Priests and Board of deacons of St. Mark’s.

HH Pope Tawadros sent a message to Fr Bishoy inviting his reverence and his wife to meet HH soon in Cairo, to discuss with them their needs, to guide and support them as their father.

HH the Pope and HG Bishop Karas decided to send tomorrow Sunday January 17, a committee from the following Hegomens: Fr Angelos Saad from Mississauga, Canada, Fr Moises Boghdady from the Archdiocese, and Fr Yohanna Naseef from Chicago, IL, to provide support for the church to pass this circumstance peacefully and to gain a full understanding of  the situation and to report to HH the Pope.
The Priests and Board of St Mark’s are in continuous communication and will provide all the necessary support to the visiting committee.  The Board will do all it can to keep the peace of the church and keep the congregation updated with the situation as it evolves in a transparent manner.

We ask you during this tough time to pray for our beloved church, our Pope, HG Bishop Karas the visiting committee, and for Father Bishoy.  We also ask you to pray for the clergy and Board of  Deacons, so God can give us wisdom and guidance throughout this process.

Thank you.

In Christ,
The Priests and the Board of the Deacons

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7 comments

  1. Oldchurchgoerand observer

    All my respect and prayers to Fr. Bishoy and his family during this difficult period,
    For more than 15 years I can witness that he was an honest and respectable priest, actually one of the very few priests that touched my life and I am 62 years old! I enjoyed his inspiring and low-voiced sermons, his bible studies and for the first time in my life his detailed explanation of the liturgies. As a human, he reached my heart with his comforting smile and humble demeanor even when you can see his pains!
    I can not belong to St. Mark Church without him. When he was healing in his sabbatical, the church was already changing and separating from my family and other sinners like us. For instance, we heard the “new rules”, you can not just go to Church as we always do, you have to get registered and sign a paper contract! You have to get a Church ID card with your picture taken! Sinners like us can not go to the Church that NOW belongs to the only Saintly believers! Wow! This is no longer a Church for worshipers whoever they are, it is exclusively a church for members with ID’s
    Though Jesus came to earth for the sake of saving “SINNERS”, but our Coptic church now seems to allow only members who have preregistered with Church Photo IDs, and signed the documents.
    How different are we from fanatic Islamists! They claim the righteousness and kill others who are different.
    Now are we doing the same to Fr. Bishoy!
    Where is the Teaching of Christ; Forgiveness and Love!
    If Fr. Bishoy is your enemy then at least love him!
    Shame on you!

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    • The Truth Always Prevails

      Dear Oldchurchgoerand observer:
      We all love Fr. Bishoy, but why are you making up lies about the Church? What are you trying to do? Again, there are no church ID cards or contracts – it’s a membership drive!! God forbid the Church tries to get an understanding of their actual members in the area. Why don’t you take a minute and read before making ridiculous statements like this. Here’s the link: http://www.stmarkdc.org/become-a-committed-member-of-st-mark-dc-by-registering-with-the-pastoral-care-office

      If you’re too lazy to click on the link, here is the actual text (please tell us where it says you’re signing a contract or need and ID card:
      Become a committed member of St. Mark DC by registering with the Pastoral Care Office!
      Who: YOU!
      What: Register as a member or visitor of St. Mark’s
      When: During church hours
      Where: Front desk.

      A follow-up three-week campaign of the membership initiative will be help from December 27, 2015 till January 17, 2016 for those who were unable to register during the the previous seven-week campaign. In those three weeks, members and visitors will be able to contact the front desk, during church hours and on a walk-in basis, to update their membership information and address. St Mark’s remains committed to our vision. As we have communicated throughout the last several years, we want to remind you of the core values of our church which are to be committed to a life of Orthodox Worship, maturing in Christ through Discipleship, and spreading the gospel through Mission.
      This year, the Lord has blessed the Washington Metropolitan Area with many new churches to serve His people in a deeper way. A few weeks ago, we were blessed by the visit of HG Bishop Karas, the General Bishop of the Archdiocese of North America, to the area. As he gathered the priests of the area, he assisted us in designing a plan to ensure that every parish is serving its own geographical zone of 5 cities and serving its own committed members.
      The five cities of St Mark’s geographical region of outreach are: Fairfax, Centreville, Clifton, Burke and Fairfax Station. Please note: Anyone outside of these 5 cities is welcome to be a full member of St Mark’s and any family among these cities have the freedom to become members of any other church in the area. Due to the rapid growth of our church, we believed it to be necessary to figure out how many members we serve. In order to do that, we will have a seven-week campaign of updating our church membership database. It is of great importance that each person in the Northern Virginia Washington DC Metropolitan area register their name and membership in one of the local churches.Every person has the freedom and is encouraged to join the parish of their preference to be your home church while you are still welcome to enjoy the services of any other parish as a visitor. All visitors to St Mark’s are welcome to participate in all of our ministries, but due to the limited resources of space and servants, priority will be given to the members of St. Mark’s. Membership will be for one year and must be renewed annually from September to the following year. In order to apply for membership at St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Church, DC, you have to be Christian, Coptic, Orthodox, obedient to the rules of the Coptic Orthodox Church, regular attendant of liturgies and church occasions, participate in communion and confession periodically. You also have to be committed to the following in your relationship with God and with the other members of the church.

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      • Anonymous

        @truth: sounds like you’re going to support fr Bishoy no matter what. You keep getting defensive by discounting everything you don’t like being said by others and stacking them personally. Seems you’re putting your head in the sand rather than showing respect to other people’s experiences or perspectives.
        Many people are hurt and feel abandoned by Fr bishoy’s actions, but you shouldn’t take that out on people here simply because you can’t take it out on him.
        You can defend him and his actions all you want, but I challenge you to go defend him to the parents who can’t contact their kids who went to follow and be with him. Defend him to his children who must at this point have been pulled out of school and had their world turned upside down. Go look his confregants and community in the eye and defend him.
        It’s easy for you to stay anonymous and poke other anonymous people in the eye on a website, but let’s see you be so brave when you’re faced with the life-changing destruction of what this man has done.

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    • anonymous173ate

      Dear oldchurch goer and observer,
      The church is trying to be more organized, in order to serve the needs of congregation that is in the thousands. We are all sinners, even the “saints”. Abouna Bishoy would not want you to stop going to church because he is not there. If St. Marks is too overwhelming for you, then there are other churches that are smaller and maybe more comfortable. Every church administration has issues(Coptic and non Coptic). Do not let politics and administrative rules harden your spirit. We must pray for Abouna and his wife and the church and not lose faith. What good is faith, if it cannot be tested? Everything will work out in time.

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  2. Mat

    To all of u, I say fallow His Holiness Pope Tawadros, His Grace Bishop Karas and the clergy he has apointed to see this situation, I also say, talk to His Grace Bishop Karas about pointing someone with a high degree or doctorate in theology to teach and guide u all.
    God bless u all

    Like

  3. Anonymous

    I’m extremely in pain for you guys in DC. I am praying for you all. My only advice to you is to not follow people . Follow the lord. I know it’s hard when you have a father that left in such way… But I will tell you, if he was a real father… He would have NEVER left.

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    • faithful2God

      Thank you. Please do keep us in your prayers. We have a truly blessed congregation that cares so much for their church and spiritual lives. We trusted Abouna Bishoy so much, and we didn’t know all of this. I think we’re truly still in shock about everything. May God guide us, and if we follow His way and our blessed Coptic Church’s guidance, I’m sure God will give us grace to get through this. He can bring great joy and blessings out of trials and difficulties. We know He always has a special plan for His people. God bless you all.

      Like

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