Medford, NJ – On Saturday, October 29, 2016 H.G. Bishop Karas of the Coptic Orthodox Archdiocese of North America hosted the fourth annual Philadelphia Regional Concelebration of the Divine Liturgy at St. Anthony Coptic Orthodox Church in Medford, NJ. Participating clergy included Fr. Rafail Guirguis and Fr. John Bishara of the hosting parish, Fr. John Rizkalla of St. Mary & St. Athanasius Coptic Orthodox Church, Fr. Tesfom Abrahale of Medhane Alem Eritrean Orthodox Church, Fr. Oshagan Gulgulian of St. Sahag & St. Mesrob Armenian Apostolic Church, Fr. Jacob (monastic) of Kidist Selassie Ethiopian Orthodox Church, Fr. Joy John of St. Peter’s Malankara-Syriac Orthodox Cathedral, and Fr. Tesfa Alem Bereki Mezenghy, a priest of the Eritrean Orthodox Church studying at St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Seminary.
After the service and a delicious agape meal featuring traditional Egyptian cuisine, the local youth (and a number of the adult faithful) gathered for a spiritual conference on the theme of “Transforming Our Culture Through Living Our Orthodox Faith” featuring keynote speaker Fr. John Rizkalla. Fr. John later participated – along with Fr. John Bishara, Fr. Tesfa Alem Bereki Mezenghy, and Fr. Mina Shaheid of St. George Coptic Orthodox Church – in a Q&A session/panel discussion with the youth, fielding questions on topics ranging from how best to witness to our faith to those outside the Orthodox Church to the potential need for the revival of the female diaconate. The conference was convened jointly by the Standing Conference of Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Rutgers Camden chapter of Orthodox Christian Campus Ministries, and served as a lead-up to the Oriental Orthodox Youth Conference to be held on November 12 at the Malankara-Syriac Orthodox Archdiocese on November 12 in Whippany, NJ. Details and online registration info here: http://www.scooch.org/2016/09/5th-annual-youth-conference/