Prayer: What, Why, & How? (Sunday School Lesson & PPT)


Looking for a Sunday School lesson with a PowerPoint? Periodically I’ll upload my Sunday School lessons and PowerPoint slides for you to download. To see all the Sunday School Lessons I’ve uploaded on my blog, click the following link: Sunday School Lessons.  For many more that I’ve uploaded previously, check out


Here is one on Prayer, given 3/22/2015.

You can download the full PowerPoint by this link: Prayer – Sunday School Lesson

Here is a preview of all the slides: Continue reading

Behind the Iconostasis: Who May Enter Beyond It, and How We Copts May Have Gotten It Wrong

Iconostasis St Mary Atlanta Coptic Church

I was really surprised recently about hearing of many Coptic church members who decided to stop attending a particular church because the priest does not allow anyone among the laity to go beyond the iconostasis, as we Copts are (unfortunately) accustomed to.

Another situation came up recently as well, whereby a particular rank of the minor orders (I presume a chanter) was very upset by a request of the deacons (and I use this term loosely, referring to the minor orders of our church), that none should leave their position in the choir section of the church and stand behind the iconostasis during the service, unless they are engaging in a liturgical purpose, or unless otherwise they have received permission. Again I was greatly saddened to be reminded of a fact I had known but didn’t want to dwell on: most in the Coptic Church have forgotten where we should stand (and shouldn’t stand) in the church, and why that is the case.

What are we to think of this? Is the priest correct? Does he have any basis for his rule? What about the deacon? Should several deacons be allowed to rest or stand during the service behind the iconostasis? Continue reading

American Orthodox Church of Alexandria: What’s in a Name?


Update 5/5/15:

Link below to AOCA slides no longer working. Here is a working link to the PDF (click here)

Update 5/1/15:

Here is the latest on this endeavor, and it appears that the most substantive change will be language, while all other cultural aspects will remain mostly intact. Was hoping for more, particularly when it comes to the manner of singing hymns. Nonetheless, may God bless the bishop and all the servants in this attempt to reach more people.…/embed_code/…/7KdpbppPbbuKC7

Original Post:

H.G. Bishop Youssef has announced his intention to establish mission churches in his diocese, and the latest I have heard is that His Grace has settled on the name, “American Orthodox Church of Alexandria” [although I have also heard the title “American Coptic Orthodox Church” as well]. The plan is Continue reading

Fasting Defined: According to Pope Shenouda III

Coptic Meme by Suzy Tawfik

Coptic Meme by Suzy Tawfik; note that the word “Siyami” is an Arabic word that means fasting, for those who do not know

In a book that forever changed my perspective on fasting, the late Pope Shenouda III defined the physical aspect of fasting, which can be distilled as follows:

“Fasting is abstinence from food for a period [during which you feel a sufficient extent of hunger], followed by eating food [which you limit in three ways: kind, quality, and quantity].”

I thought of writing this post because, in speaking with an adult Coptic friend of mine he confided that he had never heard of fasting in this way ever before, which reminded me of the fact that for many of us in the Orthodox Church, fasting is simply a change in our diets, and we do everything we can to make it as enjoyable as possible, including ignoring (or making excuses for) ingredients that make a particular food we crave “non-fasting.”

If you were to break down the definition of fasting, you would see the following components: Continue reading