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NCC leaders send prayers and good wishes

to new Coptic Christian Orthodox Pope

New York, November 6, 2012 -- Leaders of the National Council of Churches have expressed congratulations and prayerful support for the newly elected Pope Tawadros II of the Coptic Christian Orthodox Church.


In a letter to Bishop Serapion of the Los Angeles Coptic Diocese, a long-time ecumenical leader in the National Council of Churches, the NCC president and Transitional General Secretary expressed joy at the new pope's election.


"We hope you will soon be able to share with His Holiness the congratulations and good wishes of the 40 million Christians in National Council of Churches communions in the United States," said the letter signed by President Kathryn Lohre and Transitional General Secretary Peg Birk.


Pope Tawadros, 60, was one of three candidates for the papacy whose names were placed in a bowl Sunday. In an ancient ceremony, a blind-folded boy selected Tawadros' name. He becomes the 118th pope to lead the church. 


"At this historic moment in the Coptic Christian Orthodox Church, we are also mindful of the complexities of the political transition in Egypt, the churchís homeland," the NCC leaders wrote. "We know the safety and advancement of Christians in Egypt will depend in large measure on His Holinessí wisdom and the strength of his faith throughout the coming months and years. We know the Lord has blessed him and those who elected him, and we will faithfully keep him and your church in our prayers."


Since its founding in 1950, the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA has been the leading force for shared ecumenical witness among Christians in the United States. The NCC's 37 member communions -- from a wide spectrum of Protestant, Anglican, Orthodox, Evangelical, historic African American and Living Peace churches -- include 40 million persons in more than 100,000 local congregations in communities across the nation.

NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 646-853-4212 (cell),


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