What is Coptic Society?
College. To some, a complete waste of time and money. To others, a great opportunity to learn about themselves in a scholastic environment meant to aid them in their own personal development. Being raised in an Egyptian household left many of us without much of a choice when it came to higher education. College is a path that introduces us to the demanding life of an adult with a seemingly endless list of responsibilities. In spite of the burdens that college presents, many of our own youth have found time to explore our Coptic heritage, whether it be through theology, hymnology, church services, or various forms of art. By the grace of God, many of our youth sacrifice a great deal of time and effort into their respective services, while fulfilling their roles as students. Despite the fact that college is a great time for our youth to develop themselves, it is also exposure to an unfortunately dangerous environment.
The Holy Scriptures speak of the devil in the manner of a beast. In St. Peter’s First Epistle, he urges that we should “be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).” Unfortunately, college provides an environment filled with many temptations. These include drug use, drinking, and sexual immorality. While these are blatantly immoral, it is also easy to fall into more subtle temptations such as academic cheating, avoiding church services, or even mistreating our professors and those around us. Nobody is perfect and we all have our shortcomings, but we are constantly attacked by the “fiery darts of the devil” (Ephesians 6:16) at college. If we have not established a solid foundation during college, we can easily be consumed by earthly life and lose sight of what is really important, our eternal life.
Thank God, we have a framework that cares for and loves her youth like our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ cares for us as written, “He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge (Psalm 91:4).” The Church in her wisdom provides for us and many other campuses a safety net for her children through Coptic Society and our sister organizations, like OCCM (Orthodox Christian Campus Ministries). Essentially, these ministries are meant to be an extension of the church to provide a safe haven for those on campus to have spiritual nourishment through weekly meetings and Christian fellowship with one another through events (with lots of fun and food!). Also at the core of its mission is our calling to witness to everyone on campus. Through these ministries some youth are introduced to the idea of service outside the common notion of Sunday school through skits, community service, and event planning. Coptic Society is a platform that encourages many youth to become more involved with services within their own churches as well as on campus. As such, these ministries are meant to be a guiding light for the people on campus as Christ said, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life (John 8:12).”
Coptic Society has been established for over 20 years and has been under the faithful care of our spiritual advisor, Fr. Markos Ayoub, and more recently, Fr. Thomas Nashed. It is one of the many great campus ministries that is run by the youth, for the youth. But Coptic Society is not just a club. We are not just several events scattered through the year with weekly meetings tied into it. Coptic Society is the love and fellowship we have with one another through Christ during our time in college. It is the bonds that we form through our events, our services to one another, and spiritual nourishment that ensures we stay within the light and joy of the church. As it is written in the first epistle of John, “that which we have seen and heard we declare to you, that you also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ (1 John 1:3).” We invite you to join Coptic Society, the church on campus, so that we may have a joyful and peaceful time during our college years. God bless you and May God be with you during the coming semesters.