WHEN Sandy O’Donohue, one of the organisers of this year’s World Day of Prayer in St Stephen’s Cathedral Brisbane, approached the Egyptian Embassy in Sydney for one of the country’s flags she got an unexpected bonus.
“The Consul General Ayman Aly Kamel asked if we had a guest speaker yet,” she said.
“I said we didn’t and he said because of the situation in his country he would be glad to speak at the ecumenical service.
“I was absolutely floored as his presence will be a great bonus.”
This year’s World Day of Prayer ecumenical service, being held in Brisbane on Friday March 7, will have as its theme Streams in the Desert.
The theme will link to prayers for the Christian Churches in Egypt.
Egypt is a predominantly Sunni Muslim country with only 12 per cent of the population identifying as Christian.
The country has been wracked by turmoil since the ousting of democratically elected president Mohammed Morsi by a military coup last year.
A booklet prepared for the service notes the significance of Egypt to the Christian faith: “When the Lord Jesus himself was threatened by Herod’s infanticide, Egypt was a safe place for him and the Holy Family.”
The Church of Abu Sarga in Old Cairo is built where the Holy Family is said to have rested after fleeing from Bethlehem.
Ms O’Donohue said the Egyptian ambassador’s additional gift of booklets on the Holy Family’s journey through Egypt was a reminder of this important connection.
The World Day of Prayer ecumenical service will start in St Stephen’s Cathedral at 11am next Friday.