ALONGSIDE THE HURTING
With its studio in Cairo and a number of associate production ministries also based in Egypt, SAT‑7 is never far away from the country’s pain and struggles. Being part of Egyptian society, with all its hopes and trials, enables the SAT‑7 Egypt studio to be an authentic and trusted voice for its audience.
Recent months have seen an escalation of terrorism in the country in which Christians have been a prime target. The bombing of a Cairo church in December was followed by killings in a coastal city in North Sinai in February. These were succeeded by the bombings of churches in Alexandria and Tanta on Palm Sunday, and the shooting of worshippers travelling by bus to a monastery in May. A total of 96 lives were lost in attacks which sent shockwaves through the Christian community and wider society.
SAT‑7 adjusted its schedule to interview survivors and family members of these attacks and to allow church leaders and the channel’s own presenters to broadcast messages of comfort and hope.
The restraint and immense faith of relatives in the face of tragedy was remarkable. The wife of the security guard who died preventing a bomber from entering the cathedral in Alexandria, told Bridges: “I can only say this to those who did this: May God forgive you…We love you, we don’t hate you. Jesus said on the cross ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’”
In Needle and Thread, Nelly Yousef, the cousin of a SAT‑7 staff member, spoke of losing her mother and sister in the St Peter’s Church blast. Despite her grief and the daily discrimination she said Christians in her country experience, she had a new resolve to live for Christ. “Let’s live in the realisation that our days are short,” she said. “We must be a good example in the midst of all this darkness.”
“I can only say this to those who did this: May God forgive you…We love you, we don’t hate you. Jesus said on the cross ‘Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.’”
The wife of the security guard who was killed.
Messages from leaders of Egypt’s different Christian communities encouraged viewers not to fear because Christ has conquered death. Episodes of Keep on Singing came alongside viewers and callers, praying into situations, sharing personal testimony, and playing worship songs that recognise suffering whilst declaring the truth that nothing can separate us from God’s love.
Amidst the pain came rays of hope. SAT‑7 filmed a thousands-strong International Prayer Conference in Egypt at the end of March. Then from 28-29 April, the channel broadcast and gave expert commentary on Pope Francis’ peace visit to Egypt. The Pope stressed messages of tolerance and peaceful co-existence and at a 15,000-strong Christian gathering he said “True faith fuels love, mercy, and respecting others”.