St Mark Coptic Orthodox Church, FIJI – News

Blessing of New Lands
Two large areas of land were acquired by the Church, through the grace of God, in Samabula and Pacific Harbour. His Grace blessed the land with the Reverend Fathers, the deacons, and youth from Fiji, Australia and America sharing in the prayers.

Samabula is a suburb of Suva, and the land in Samabula consists of 2.5 acres of high & low land. God willing, it may be used to serve the congregation in St. Mark’s, Suva since the space they use is currently leased and not owned. Also, it tentatively may be used to establish a Coptic Center with a village and various social services to serve the needs of the growing congregation both spiritually & physically.

Pacific Harbour Laying of Foundation Stone
The land in Pacific Harbour consists of 109 acres of beautiful lush land remotely set in the hills. God willing, tentatively the land will be used to establish St. Athanasius Coptic Theological College, a church and possibly a monastery. His Grace laid the foundation stone for the Theological College during this eventful visit.

St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church - Taveuni
The Holy Divine Liturgy was celebrated for the first time at St. Mary’s Coptic Orthodox Church in Taveuni with the blessings of His Grace Bishop Suriel. The vessels, including the pool-sized baptismal font, were consecrated. In comparison to St. Mark’s Church in Suva, St. Mary’s Church in Taveuni is younger in practicing the rites of the church. As in Suva, each member of the congregation followed the ceremony with a book and was very mindful and respectful of the Church and it’s traditions. All the women covered their heads during prayer, and both men and women were very modestly dressed despite the extremely hot & humid weather.

St. Anthony & St. Athanasius Church
The first prayers in St. Anthony & St. Athanasius Coptic Orthodox Church were celebrated in a small makeshift church building consisting of three walls, a roof and a floor covering on an overgrown piece of land that had just recently been cleared overlooking the mountains. The land consisting of 2.25 acres. The church is located in a humble village with many small shanty houses lining the road. Many Fijians walked to the Church to participate in the prayers and to learn more about the Church that they had heard about on the evening news or from their neighbors by word of mouth. The congregation of Fijians consisted of mothers, fathers, children ranging in ages and older youth. According to a servant, up to 60 people had come throughout the evening service. The people were very gracious and embraced the church and her rich apostolic roots. At the end of the service, many were very interested to know when the next one would be and when there will be a regular schedule of services.

Ordination Of First Coptic Consecrated Deacon
The first Fijian Coptic Consecrated Deacon was ordained as Deacon Mina. This was a very momentous occasion for the Fijian Coptic Church and is an indication of the fruits of the evangelism service that has continued in Fiji through the grace of God.

Purchase of 29 Seater Bus
Through the blessings and prayers of His Grace Bishop Suriel, St Mark’ Coptic Orthodox Church has purchased a 29-seater bus to accommodate for the congregational members’ need for transportation to attend various church services, liturgies and activities.
The bus goes on its route gathering members to attend the services, activities or liturgies or youth/Sunday school meetings and takes them back home. This need arose as a result of spiritual neccessity.

Fish Trading Room
Provided that the fishing activities will be resuming shortly, a construction of a small shop-front structure just outside the church where the catch of the day will be sold fresh to our members and the poor and needy. This activity will assist in providing employment for those church members within the fijian community.

Elderly Visitation
Church members have been active in visiting an elderly home located a short distance away from the church on Friday mornings. We have paid them a few visits where a rich bible study was conducted and various prayers and hymns had taken place.
Many of the elders have actually recognized the Coptic Orthodox Church and have heard of His Grace’s visits earlier this year and are awaiting his blessed return.
However due to the Home’s various commitments, they have kindly requested that such visits to be put on hold for a few weeks, and we will be returning to them on Fridays, as soon as their schedule allows to do so.

Second Hand Clothing Store
As a result of the generosity and blessings of all second hand clothing and soft toys donations, St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church – Fiji, was able to lease one of the shop-fronts located underneath the church to establish an Opportunity Shop type store, where clothing items are distributed to the poor for a small donation if they can afford them.
The response has been extremely positive very supportive from the community, and they are already awaiting the release of the second container for them to take advantage of the many valuable and much needed items that were donated from their fellow Australian Copts.

Medical Room
Neighboring the second hand clothing store, by God’s grace, a medical room has been established and completed for the many blessed Doctors who come offering there medical advise and treatment, free of charge, to both congregational and non-congregational Fijian community. At the moment, the church is aiming to have a Visiting doctor arrive for a period of 2 weeks every month.

Church Services for St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church, Fiji
Tuesday & Wednesday Pastoral and Village visitations
Wednesday Liturgy 5am – 7:00am
Thursday Discipleship meetings for new members seeking baptism and joining the Orthodox faith.
Friday Liturgy 10am – 12:00pm
Family Night Bible Study Meeting
Saturday Sunday School, Youth Meeting, Vespers, midnight praise, confessions.
Sunday Liturgy 8am – 11:00am
Deacons/Hymns Classes

5 Baptisms
By the grace of the Holy Spirit, and the constant prayers of His Grace, 5 new members have joined the already baptised of 62 fijians in the Coptic Orthodox faith and were baptised by Fr Mark Attalla. A father with his 2 daughters, as well 2 sisters, and instilled them in the orthodox faith.
This blessed and joyous event took place on Sunday 24/9/04, where the baptized had taken part also in the Body and Blood of Christ. The work and joyful fruits of the Holy Spirit was very evident on their faces. After the liturgy, the new members in the Body of Christ were taken for a precession around the church, and the church members had taken them in and celebrated their new birth that afternoon.

New Bible Study Cell Groups
We are currently overseeing a new bible study group in the villages where our congregation live. These bible studies are targeted and open to members of the village to attend, listen to the word of God, and it provides an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to work within them to direct them to the truth faith. We pray that God blesses these meetings and work among them.

Youth Choir
The first CD recording by St. Mark Coptic Orthodox Church – Fiji Youth Choir has been completed. The 14-Track CD, titled “WE BELIEVE” has been compiled, recorded and packaged as a result of the efforts of our blessed Tasoni Meriam Attalla. The CD will be launched and sold across the Diocese on the Fundraising dinner.