His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos, Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London and CTE President shares our reflection of the month for September 2020…
We have all received one kind of education or another and have all had our opinions about that education. We have often complained, grumbled, and sometimes even thought whether it was relevant to us at all. What has become undeniably apparent over the past months however is the incredible importance of education, educators, and all those who support them, and the significant impact it has had on our lives.
Over these challenging months we have all seen the world differently and have undoubtedly learned very differently. We may have been deprived of classrooms and lecture rooms, but we have been provided with means of learning at every turn and through daily encounters. We have learned what it means to be vulnerable. We have learned what it means to be supported and supportive, and in many cases we have learned what it means to be a community and a people of God.
We have learned not only to rely on ourselves but to rely on others and on God’s generous gifts, which can often be taken for granted. We have learned to be appreciative and observant of that which we may not have otherwise even considered.
At the time of being deprived of classrooms and lecture rooms however we have also learned the value of those settings and of the educators, support staff, and administrators who make education possible. Alongside healthcare professionals, teachers, teacher’s aides, school administrators and all those who enable our educational institutions to function have been looked upon in a different light. Teachers who were once unrecognised and unappreciated are now seen for the ‘superheroes’ and ‘essential workers’ that they really are, and for the love and faithfulness for those they teach, and for the pivotal role they play.
We will, by the grace of God, emerge from this pandemic, and go onto whatever normality looks like beyond this; but as we do, I urge you to not forget the invaluable lessons we have acquired along the journey. We must not forget that even in the greatest sorrow and challenge, God has not left us, and we must recognise that there are many around us who have worked tirelessly to ensure that we were cared for through this experience and have prepared us to the best of their ability for what lies ahead.
At this time, we give thanks for our teachers and teaching assistants, our education administrators and all those who ensure that our schools and teaching institutions are open for our children and our young people. We pray that God rewards their commitment and faithfulness.
Having commenced his pastoral ministry in the United Kingdom in 1995 as a parish priest, Archbishop Angaelos was consecrated a General Bishop in 1999 and Proclaimed Bishop of the Coptic Orthodox Diocese of London. On 18 November 2017, His Eminence Archbishop Angaelos was enthroned as the first Coptic Orthodox Archbishop of London. Archbishop Angaelos specialises in youth ministry and initiatives relating to advocacy, international religious freedom and development work. He is founder and convener of the Asylum Advocacy Group which works closely in partnership with the All Party Parliamentary Group on International Religious Freedom or Belief.