Saint George Parish, located within The Coptic Orthodox Church Centre in the United Kingdom, serves approximately one hundred and fifty families. Established in 1991, the parish was served by visiting priests until December 1995, when a permanent priest was appointed by His Holiness, the late Pope Shenouda III, to serve the parish and the Centre. Since then, the Church and its’ spiritual and social activities have grown.
The chapel of Archangel Michael and Saint Anthony, located in the manor house, originally served as the main parish church, and continued to do so for 15 years, until the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral of Saint George was built. The chapel continues to be used for mid-week and Saturday Liturgical services, as well as for retreats, with its’ distinctly monastic feel. In 2000, as the congregation grew in number, parish priest Father Shenouda Asham Shenouda was ordained from within, and specifically for the congregation.
The parish to date provides a variety of spiritual, social and community services for an area approximately 50 miles in diameter. Serving people within Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Greater London, Cambridge and other surrounding areas, the parish provides services and activities for all the family, with a variety of facilities within the Centre that encourage a well-rounded experience for all.
Saint George parish boasts a variety of spiritual, recreational and youth activities that include: four Divine liturgies a week, prayer meetings for people of all ages, regular Bible studies three times a week, as well as a number of social gatherings and sports events.
Included in the spiritual programmes within the parish are regular Sunday school classes serving children ranging from pre-school to those in university. There is a weekly youth meeting, Bible study, and choir, with performances throughout the year. In addition to this, those serving as Sunday School leaders receive training in regular group meetings, and there are a number of retreats and trips available to people of all ages within the congregation.
Other services include hymnology meetings, artistic performances, both live and produced, elderly and care home visits, and fund-raising events.
The Parish and the Cathedral are well recognised by the community in Stevenage, having been awarded a Blue Plaque, recognising it as one of the five most popular places in Stevenage.The Coptic Orthodox Church is also a member of Churches Together in Stevenage (CTIS).
The parish caters for its own members, while also reaching out to the local community through a number of engaging outreach programmes and events as listed below:
- Stevenage Day
- Annual Christmas Carol service in the Coptic Orthodox Cathedral of St George, open to the public
- Festival Day, an annual open day for the local Stevenage community