Adventist Church Caught Up in Crisis and Violence in Egypt
by AT News Team
With additional information at the end of the story.
An Adventist pastor and his wife have been reported kidnapped in the aftermath of an assault on their church in Assiut, Egypt, according to a list of 56 Christian churches, schools, offices and monasteries attacked by supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood. The list was compiled by three Egyptian Christians who identified themselves on the Internet as Mai El-Sadany, Amir Beshay and Amira Mikhail.
The report of the kidnapped Adventist couple was also published in the Egyptian newspaper Watani and by the Religion Today international news service. Sources have told Adventist Today of at least one other Adventist Church that may have been burned. It had extensive coverage of violence against Christians by partisans of Mohamed Morsi, the president deposed by the nation's military with widespread popular support.
A crisis committee met today at the General Conference of the Seventh-day Adventist denomination in Silver Spring, Maryland, to review the situation in Egypt. The immediate area around the Egypt-Sudan Field office and Nile Union Academy in the Heliopolis neighborhood of Cairo was reported to be peaceful.
There are fewer than a thousand members and 17 Adventist congregations among a population of 116 million; definitely a minority religion. The secondary school has been operating at it’s capacity of 135 Egyptian and Sudanese students and expects to open a new school year at the end of August.
Addendum Thursday Evening
The burning of the church in Assiut "was not part of a wider, organized political movement," a statement later in the day from the Adventist New Network (ANN) said. "The pastor and his wife hid in their upstairs apartment and were not found by the attackers, who set the building on fire. The pastor and his wife were rescued from the burning building by Muslim neighbors."
“This was a small group of people bent on doing harm … not representative of Egypt or the people of Egypt,” ANN quoted Pastor Llewellyn Edwards, president of the Egypt-Sudan Field. “As Adventists we want our relationships to be strong with Egyptians of all faiths." The Muslim neighbors rescuing the Adventist couple showed “the true picture of most people in Egypt,” Edwards said. He told ANN that the government has announced it will pay for the rebuilding of all churches destroyed last night during rioting in several cities.