The singing of traditional Coptic hymns plays a big part in each mass. (ABC News: Emma Siossian)
More Egyptian migrants are expected to call the New South Wales mid-north coast home after the opening of a Christian Coptic Orthodox Church at Cundletown.
Previously, Coptic Christians in the region had to travel to Sydney to attend church, but after a Coptic priest was ordained in the Manning region, they began searching for a permanent local place to pray.
One of the driving forces behind the project has been Moheb Ghaly, who was born in Egypt and is a long-time Manning Valley surgeon.
Moheb Ghaly says the church opening at Cundletown was “overwhelming”. (ABC News: Emma Siossian.)
Dr Ghaly said locals had searched for a long time to find land for the church, and had wanted somewhere central so people from outside the region could also attend.
He said people of all faiths were welcome at the church, and the project had been a labour of love.
“I’ve been here more than 30 years and I used to drive to Sydney to go to church once a month, but then a number of people came here, more Coptics came,” he said.
“A priest was ordained here about two years ago for our community, and the idea came from there as we had a priest and no church.”
Named after former head of church
Dr Ghaley beamed with happiness when he joined a packed congregation at the church’s opening mass on March 9.
“I’m so emotional about it all, it’s overwhelming,” he said at the time.