Wherever I am in the world, I like to attend church on Sunday. In Egypt and particularly in Qatar, I found the process of attending Anglican church quite interesting.
My Anglican Church Experience In Doha And Cairo
Typically, when I am out of the country I will attend an Anglican church because I prefer liturgy from the Book of Common Prayer and I greatly prefer an organ and hymns to a guitar and contemporary choruses.
Qatar is a semi-constitutional monarchy, ruled by a hereditary emir with a prime minister serving as the head of government. The freedom of religion is partially guaranteed, but must be practiced in accordance with “the maintenance of public order and morality.”
Practically, in Doha there is a religious compound for non-Muslim faiths. Within that complex is several churches, including the Church of the Epiphany, the Anglican church I attended.
From the Four Seasons, I took an Uber to the “Religious Complex” located in the heart of Doha:
On a Friday morning (not Sunday, but Friday since that is the holy day in much of the Muslim world and therefore a day off from work), the complex was hopping. With so many expats working in Doha, including a huge Filipino population that is predominantly Roman Catholic, there was a lot of people going to the various churches on the campus.
I passed a checkpoint to get in, where a soldier or police officer in military uniform patted me down. I then proceeded through a parking lot until I came to the Qatar Anglican Centre.
The church was in a new structure and the service very well-attended.
A couple of weeks later I found myself in Cairo on a Friday morning. Egypt is more democratic than Qatar and there are fewer restrictions on religious gatherings of non-Muslim faiths (or the “wrong” flavors of Islam).
The campus was behind a tall walled gate and I had to go though a security checkpoint to get inside. Once inside, I found a coffee shop (next time…) and a large cathedral:
But due to small attendance, we met in the chapel instead. Every Anglican Church may preach from the same passage of the Bible each week, but every church is different. Here, the pastor was downright Evangelical…I felt like I was in a Baptist Church in America. Typically Anglican sermons are 10-15 minutes, but he preached for 45 minutes.
In both Doha and Cairo, there is coffee time after the service, which is a great chance to meet like-minded expats and locals.
I love visiting different churches as I travel the world and enjoyed attending Friday church in Egypt and Qatar. I am thankful that while so many Christians (and other religions) face persecution around the world, in Doha and Cairo there is a vibrant community of faith that freely worships each week.