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Unimaginable Hope

1 January, 2012

New Year in Tahrir SquareNearly unthinkable! Holding a worship service in Cairo’s Tahrir Square would be seemingly unimaginable, especially in light of the recent violence there. But a member of Kasr El Dobara Church, a major evangelical church just off Tahrir Square, put it this way, "We have always been protected under the ceiling and between the columns of the church. The day has come for us to leave our chairs to share with those who need to understand our hope more fully."

The idea of taking public the scheduled New Year’s Eve praise and worship service at Kasr El Dobara came from consultation with leaders of the major Christian denominations and some local activists. Ultimately between 5,000 and 10,000 people joined the worship as it moved from the church into Tahrir Square.

Senior Pastor, Sameh Maurice advised the congregation to proceed calmly and peacefully to the square. As the worshippers emerged from the Church, their candlelit procession was joined by those who had been participating outside the church via video screens placed nearby. By the time they reached Tahrir Square a substantial crowd from many backgrounds sang out to God asking for His comfort and love to be extended to those who suffer. One song repeated over and over stated, “You are the God of love. Please listen to our prayers. Make our country a paradise. Give those grieving back their rights. Take away fear and injustice, throw out hunger and corruption…”

Thousands celebrate togetherThis communal cry to God encouraged Christians and non-Christians alike to rely more fully on God for the future of their community and country. One of the organisers of the event, who is not a Christian, shared this afterward on Facebook, “I was questioning the security of the event. We must think of everything. But a colleague who was a representative of the church replied, ‘Don’t worry, it’ll be peaceful because we’ve been praying a lot for this.’” The organiser continued, “During the event I was crying because I could feel the unity. I said to my colleague, ‘You were absolutely right. This is true faith in the true God. Thank you for showing me what it is to really have faith in God.’”

This New Year’s Eve event did indeed end peacefully, and also generated hope across the region as SAT-7 carried the act of witness live to millions of others who could not be there themselves. During and long after the event, which lasted from 8pm till 3am, praise, prayer and words of hope were on the lips of Egyptians - and many others across the Middle East and North Africa!

To share in the joy and view clips of the event, please go to the YouTube page.

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