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Response to Jersey Journal Articles Regarding St. Abanoub & St. Antonious in Bayonne

The Coptic Orthodox Church of St. Mark is dismayed by false accusations and misinformation published by the Jersey Journal on October 12th and 13th regarding service at the neighboring St. Abanoub and St. Antonious Coptic Orthodox Church in Bayonne.

The article of October 13th makes an outrageous statement that St. Mark’s is motivated by corruption in order to take over St. Abanoub’s. The truth is that St. Abanoub’s faces administrative, financial, engineering, spiritual and behavioral challenges that require special managerial expertise and spiritual leadership. The protest inside the church with a few  protesters exhibiting unacceptable behavior during a worship service is one of the outcomes of such challenges that need to be addressed. St. Abanoub’s has been the subject of unrest for more than fourteen years with numerous challenges being raised to the late H.H. Pope Shenouda III and H.G. Bishop David, the previous General Bishop of the Archdiocese of North America. Because of these continuing issues and the lack of improvement, H.H. Pope Tawadros II, the current patriarch of the Coptic Orthodox Church created a committee to review the complaints received. The committee was comprised of H.G. Bishop Karas, the General Bishop of the Archdiocese of North America, Hegumen Rev. Fr. Abraam Sleman, the senior priest of the nearby Coptic Church of St. Mark of Jersey City and one of the most senior priests in New Jersey, and Hegumen Rev. Fr. Moises Boghdady of the Archdiocese of St. Mark in Cedar Grove. The committee presented their findings to H.H. Pope Tawadros and based on these findings His Holiness issued a papal decree reassigning the two priests serving the church and appointing Rev. Fr. Abraam Sleman to manage the administrative and spiritual affairs of the church. Rev. Fr. Abraam was elevated to the rank of Hegumen (Archpriest) in September of 2003 by the Late H.H. Pope Shenouda III. Ecclesiastically, a Hegumen can oversee the affairs of many churches.

Eight months ago, H.H. Pope Tawadros requested of Fr. Abraam to manage the affairs of the church.  In obedience to His Holiness Pope Tawadros, Fr. Abraam accepted the assignment and began to manage the affairs of the church of St. Abanoub.  Fr. Abraam shortly thereafter resigned, citing lack of cooperation. Afterwards, the Hegumen Rev.  Fr. Moises Boghdady was appointed to oversee the church and he also resigned for the very same reason. Alleging that St. Mark’s Church, Fr. Abraam or other priests of the church are attempting a “take-over” has no basis or merit.  Fr. Abraam agreed to take over the responsibility of managing St. Abanoub’s Church out of insistence by and obedience to H.H. Pope Tawadros despite St. Mark’s Church of Jersey City being in the midst of the massive construction project of its Community Center–a project that requires the full attention of its senior priest. St Abanoub’s Church is in dire need of the support of a well established church such as St. Mark’s, with all what God has granted her. It is disappointing that the Jersey Journal would publish such a claim without first requesting a comment from St. Mark’s Church, which it had already interviewed for its previous article on October 10th.

The article of October 12th and the headline of the October 13th article claim that Fr. Abraam Sleman arrived to St. Abanoub’s with a police escort which is patently false.  Fr. Abraam arrived at St. Abanoub’s at 8:00am on Sunday, October 12th in his personal car without any police escort. Protesters had requested a permit to demonstrate outside St. Abanoub’s Church and based on that the Bayonne Police Department provided one police car that was parked outside of church. The police car drove around patrolling the church. The church did not request police presence ahead of time. This simple fact, that was the headline of the Jersey Journal’s article, could have easily been verified with the Bayonne Police Department instead of taking a one-sided statement from a protester, whose self-serving statement only worked to inflame an already volatile situation.   The Bayonne Police Department was then later called by local church parishioners when a small minority of protesters did not demonstrate outside church but rather entered the church shouting and screaming, interrupted the worship service and verbally assaulted clergy and other congregants.

As a well respected newspaper, the Jersey Journal is responsible for its news reporting and should have, at the very least, verified its statements before making them in the print and online editions.  Furthermore, the Jersey Journal, by printing such blatant lies, have served to defame St. Mark’s Church and its Reverend Father.  St. Mark’s Church is the first Coptic Church in the Western Hemisphere whose reputation is untarnished.  Such reckless reporting serves to damage said reputation.  It’s one thing to quote an individual.  It’s a completely different thing to state facts that you knew, or should have known, to be false.   A correction is hereby demanded and we request that any future reporters fact-check their allegations in order to not further inflame an already sensitive situation and to not defame members of this community.

St. Mark’s Church, its clergy, deacons, servants and congregation pray for the peace and safety of its sister church, St. Abanoub and St. Antonious.  We pray that the media exercise wisdom in dealing with this matter.

For press comments, please contact Mr. Joseph M. Ghabour, Esq.,  the Deacon of Public Relations at 732 705 7105 or ghabour@gmail.com.   You can find more information about St. Mark’s at: http://SaintMark.com

PP_2014-09-29_17-07-29_657

New Building Foundation Completed

With the grace of God, we’re glad to let you know that we thank God that He has completed the foundation of the new building. The steel frame of the three floors is in the process of manufacturing and shortly will be delivered to the site for installation. More prayers and support are needed.
To Donate:
Write your check payable to:
Coptic Orthodox Church of St Mark
PO Box 4397, Jersey City, NJ 07304
Online by Credit Card:

PP_2014-09-29_17-07-29_657

Demolition has started

St. Mark’s congratulates all on the start of the construction of St. Mark Parish Center. You can follow the progress of the work by live cam. The demolition is scheduled to last for there weeks.

For safety reasons, no one is allowed to enter the project site or be in contact with workers on site. Please continue to pray and to support this project for the glory of God’s name.

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Repose of Dr. Maher (Michael) Kamell

dr-maher-kamel-1

Dr. Maher (Michael) Kamell passed away peacefully at his home on Monday, May 5, 2014.  Dr. Maher played a key role in the founding of St. Mark’s in 1970. Dr. Maher and his wife opened their house to newcomers and helped new immigrants who came to New Jersey. He authored many books, monographs and articles in French, English and Arabic in the field of psychology, education, philosophy, religion, aesthetics and Middle East studies.

We remember Dr. Maher’s love and service to St. Mark’s and its congregation and ask for the repose of his soul.

 

dr-maher-kamell

 

New Building Picture

Project Progress Report

We received the following project update from the construction management company and would like to share with you.

Project: Coptic Church of St. Mark Parish Center
Lot 9 Block 20802
421 Westside Avenue, Jersey City 07304 Job #: ALL114
Date: 04-11-14
Subject: Project Status

Work in progress: Demolition Preparation & Main Permit Approvals

Introduction:

In order to demolish the residential houses prior to the construction of the new building the following requirements needs to be satisfied:

Underground Storage Tank

Underground Storage Tank permits or certification that no tanks exist: the tanks were removed.

From 08-19-2013 to 08-23-2013

Unfortunately one of the five tanks had holes and town inspector didn’t pass it and we were asked to contact to DEP. As per the DEP regulation samples need it to be collected in two different stages to
determine if there is any contamination due to the tank or not it, the investigation started 09-2013 to November, 23-2013.

Due to the investigation results, the soil was contaminated. Removal, disposal and replacement of the soil were required and site assessment and environmental controls were involved.

Due to high weather impact, Public Work authorization, holidays time and the controlled environmental process to dispose the soil the job was delayed from 12-25-2013 to 03-15-2014

Job is completed

Please Note the soil amount was more than expected, the excavation were over 12 feet down from the existing grade and parallel to house front elevation

Removal of gas and electric services.

  • Removals of the services were on hold due to the bank loan approval.
  • The letters were submitted to PSEG to terminate the service on 1-15-2013.
  • The process usually take from 2-4 months.
  • The service termination letters were received by 03-14-2014

Disconnecting & Capping Water and Sewer Lines

Permits and request to Jersey City Public Work in order to close and cut the street to cap the water and sewer. Permits were submitted 04-01-2014.

Due to Pulaski skyway construction and traffic engineering regulations of Jersey City, process on hold until the dates and times of street closers can be allowed and directed by the traffic department. Street work will be allowed only from 10 PM to 4 AM

Please Note the Cost of the road work will be increased due to the following:

  1. Renting generators to light up the work area
  2. The cost of the Police officers for working at different normal hours
  3. The cost of the labors for working at different normal hours
  4. Building Inspectors and Local authorities for working at different normal hours
  5. 6 hour working time, only per day which will increase number of days 

Asbestos Abatement -certification

“stating that the requirements of USEPA 40 CFR 61 subpart M . have or shall be met.

Job Completed.

Main Building Permit:

  • The design plans were completed and finalized to accommodate the church needs.
  • The Plans were submitted for Soil erosion approval.
  • The plans were submitted for MUA approval 1—15-2013, approvals were received by 02-21-2014.
  • The plans were submitted to Township approval 02-24-2014.
  • Initial review for the plane were received by 03-03-2014.
  • The plans were revised to comply with local jurisdiction by 04-11-2014.
class rooms-Model

New Building Floor Plan and Features

Features

 Below you’ll find the floor plan for each of the three floors of the new building. Here are some additional features:

  • Building is three stories above ground with footprint of 7,763 SF.
  • Total building area is 23,289 SF.
  • Building’s frame is structural steel with concrete floors (non-combustible material).
  • Building elevations are stucco finish with 5 feet of brick wainscot.
  • Building is provided with an elevator (2500 LB).

First Floor – Multi-purpose Hall

First floor contains ± 4000 SF. Multi-purpose hall, kitchen, bookstore and storage.multi purpose floor model

Second Floor – Class Rooms and Conference Halls

Second floor has 16 Sunday School classrooms and conference halls.

class rooms-Model

Third Floor – Basketball Court

Third floor is Multi-purpose for church and youth activities.

basketball court-Model

Progress of Cheerful Giver Campaign

The Lord has moved the hearts of many to support the progress or our Cheerful Giver Campaign. Among the list of Cheerful Givers, some of the needy families and people who came from Egypt insisted to contribute. The list includes many names with heroic stories. Some of them are single parents, people who sold their jewelry, students who donated their entire internship’s wages and people who got loans to donate. Such amazing people left no excuse for those who did not donate cheerfully and generously until now.

Donate now to show your support.