SENIOR MIDDLE EAST CHURCH LEADERS COMMEND THE MINISTRY OF SAT-7
Senior church leaders from the Middle East have commended the work of SAT-7 on its 25th anniversary of broadcasting, speaking of the ministry’s vision and impact as well as the crucial need for its witness in the region today.
In a special online meeting on 1 June, His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London and Papal Legate to the United Kingdom, shared his memory of his introduction to SAT-7 with 150 SAT-7 staff and trustees from around the world. In 1994, the archbishop was Private Secretary to Pope Shenouda in Egypt when SAT-7 Founder, Dr Terence Ascott, “came to see Pope Shenouda to float this crazy idea of a Christian satellite television network”. Today, Archbishop Angaelos is Chair of the International Board of that improbable vision!
He said, “This has been an unprecedented year, but it has been a time when SAT-7 continues to be a source of blessing around the world.”
Dr Michel Abs, Secretary General of the Middle East Council of Churches, referred to Jesus’ parable of the lamp in Matthew 5:15–16. He said, “With this ministry, the candle is not under the table. The candle is on the table and gives light to the world.”
Bishop Paul Sayah, former Maronite Archbishop of Haifa and the Holy Land and long-time council member, said, “I am one of those who met Terry 25 years ago. We didn’t know what was going to happen. Here we are 25 years later, celebrating a wonderful ministry. This tells us how close and how great God’s presence is to every one of us.”
Bishop Marcos, Coptic Orthodox Bishop of Shubra al-Kheima in Egypt, remembered how, after beginning a Christian magazine for Egyptian readers, Dr Ascott “started to establish a channel for all people who speak the Arabic language, and many churches cooperated with him”. Now, he said, “We ask God to complete the vision and attract many people to the Christian life and faith.”
Several other senior church leaders, including Rev. Joseph Kassab, President of the Supreme Council of the Evangelical Community in Syria and Lebanon, have also commended and prayed for SAT-7. “We give special thanks, O Lord, for SAT-7, which you planted in our Middle East to be good leaven, capable of leavening the whole dough. We thank you for SAT-7’s service in years past. Put on the staff’s lips, and on viewers’ screens, Your wisdom; words that build the hearers; and testimonies that overflow with grace and truth.”
Archbishop Youssef Soueif, Maronite Archbishop of Tripoli-Lebanon, thanked God during the special meeting for “this jubilee of SAT-7”. Reminding the gathered audience of the vital need to continue to make God’s love visible in a divided and hurting region, he spoke of visiting students at a church school in the district where almost all the pupils are non-Christians.
He said the students there live in an area that is blighted by almost daily conflict between two ethnic and religious communities from which they come. Soueif said he was reminded of “the mission of SAT-7, of how SAT-7 is transmitting the message of love, peace, reconciliation, brotherhood and encounter. Our presence in the region is very, very important because of the [Christian] culture of love and mercy.”
We at SAT-7 are also giving thanks for our supporters and donors, without whom our work would not be possible. As we mark this ministry milestone and look ahead to continued witness in the Middle East and North Africa, please pray for our viewers; that God’s love, peace, and reconciliation will touch and transform their lives, families, and communities.