A few weekends ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Winnipeg, Manitoba and visit a variety of Orthodox churches. The group that I travelled with visited Egyptian Coptic, Romanian, Greek, and Russian Orthodox Churches. This trip was very exciting and eye-opening. Through it, I was able to see the vastness of God and just how large the Christian Church actually is.
One of the most interesting churches that we saw was the first church that we went to, the Egyptian Coptic Orthodox Church. This church was founded in Winnipeg by a group of Egyptian immigrants. Originally, they worshipped in the Romanian Orthodox Church. Then they eventually moved into an old Evangelical Free Church, then an old Lutheran Church, and into another old Evangelical Free Church. This was an incredible church with very hospitable people, who welcomed and fed us with open arms. In fact, several of the people who we met there were originally from Egypt and had been in the original group that moved to Winnipeg.
The fact that God has and is working in Egypt was one that struck me. We often think of Egypt as a Muslim majority country. However, there is still a strong church presence there. In fact, the Coptic Church in Egypt was one of the very first churches founded. I remember a banner that was hanging in the church that we visited very distinctly. It had all of the Coptic Popes from present day going all the way back to St. Mark, who was credited with founding the Coptic Church in Alexandria, Egypt between 48 and 61 A.D.
Although the Coptic Orthodox Church was one that stuck out in my mind, the other churches were just as awe-inspiring and intriguing. We had the opportunity to go to both a Vespers (Saturday Night) and a Sunday service. It was very interesting to see the different ways in which they practiced their faith, especially how they take communion. Yet, despite the differences, I was reminded that we worshiped the same God throughout the services.
As I stated earlier, this trip served to show me the vastness of the church. It had never really occurred to me just how large the Christian Church really is. There are Christians living throughout the world in places where we might not even think of. For example, there are Coptic Orthodox Christians in Egypt, a Muslim majority country, where someone may not think to look for Christians.
Overall, the trip was one that I will not forgot, nor will I forget what it showed me. I will remember that God and his word has spread to places that I cannot even imagine meeting a Christian from. Yet, the Christian Church is vast and much larger than we often give it credit for.