Dear sisters and brothers,
Well, I have been in New Jersey now for seven months and ten days. It has been an interesting time of my life and not the easiest at times. Yet, it has also been a very fruitful time. This time away from my diocese has given me a chance for much reflection and prayer. It has also been a very busy time full of useful activities and work.
Being in New Jersey has given me the opportunity to concentrate for a while on my research which I hope one day will be of benefit to the Coptic Church and to religious educators in general and I pray that it may add a little to the body of knowledge. It has also given me the opportunity to gather many valuable resources that are not available in Australia.
During this relatively short period of time I was able to complete my Qualifying Paper and have it approved by my committee of three professors. I was also able to complete and defend my thesis proposal and have this approved as well. This will now open the path to continue the research process.
I am grateful for the fatherhood of His Holiness Pope Shenouda III for his enduring support and love throughout this time. I thank him for entrusting me with overseeing mission and evangelism and youth ministry whilst in the USA.
Working in such a ministry I hope assisted in some way to encourage and inspire local parishes of the importance of mission and evangelism as a central part of our daily work. I enjoyed meeting with the many churches (in NJ, PA, NC, DC and Ottawa), clergy, Sunday School teachers, youth leaders and laity and discussing this work with them.
So, now it is getting very cold in New Jersey and perhaps some snow is expected overnight and the temperature during the day tomorrow will peak at 24 degrees (-4 celsius). Even though I prefer the cold weather, but I think I can do without the sub freezing temperatures! My bags are almost packed and some dear friends will come tonight to bid their farewells.
So then, tomorrow evening (Tuesday) I will be travelling to Cairo and from there I will be heading back to Melbourne, Australia. One positive aspect of that at least, is that it will be summer and the weather will be wonderful and the trees will be in full bloom.
There is much awaiting me back home, yes in a way it is home as a bishop is married to his diocese according to the traditions of the Church and the diocese is his "bride." Yet our permanent home is in the heavens with the Lord and His angels, which I desire in every morning and with every breath.
Please pray for me. Thank you and God bless you.