Ancient truths retold in a new song

The Coptic Church in Sydney is using radio and podcasting to build up listeners’ faith

What do you get when you take the wisdom of one of the most ancient churches on earth, combine it with discussions about contemporary issues and add a dash of classic hit songs such as Bon Jovi’s Living on a Prayer?

Coptic Voice Radio, that’s what.

Yes, the Coptic Orthodox Church was founded in Egypt in the 2nd century AD and is renowned for its conservative maintenance of tradition and ritual through the centuries. However, a respect for the past hasn’t stopped Sydney Priest Father Shenouda Mansour from turning to present-day methods to share the church’s timeless truths.

They discuss contemporary issues … interspersed with the occasional old favourite tune.

Every Saturday, from 2-4pm, host Father Shenouda welcomes a panel of experts and guests on Sydney’s 98.5FM to talk through a devotional passage, along with a range of relevant topics.

Together, they discuss contemporary issues ranging from facing bullying, developing patience, dealing with family diversity, and mending fractured relationships – interspersed with the occasional old favourite tune. Their discussion is then turned into a podcast that is made available through the radio station’s website and iTunes podcasts, for modern Coptic parishioners and anyone else who tunes in.

For Stana Georges – a regular panellist on Coptic Voice Radio – the opportunity to contribute her expertise through the medium of radio and podcasting was a welcome opportunity and a perfect fit.

“I believe every experience in life is a lesson and a gift and I try to use mine to make others shine.” – Stana Georges

Stana has a Masters in Psychology and has worked in the private and public sector, specialising in child, youth and family services. She professes a passion for psychology, especially criminology, philosophy and sociology, and has been involved in designing programmes and workshops on areas such as resilience, building self-esteem and a healthy self-concept, drug awareness, healthy relationships and raising families, to name a few.

She has also attended St Mark and St Paul Coptic Orthodox Church, the latter where Father Shenouda has served as parish priest for 20 years, and longs to see others receive the strength and wisdom that that she has found through growing in her faith.

“My greatest hope is to inspire hope and insight into Christianity using innovative topics and discussions … I believe every experience in life is a lesson and a gift and I try to use mine to make others shine. Christianity gives us the grace to blossom and bloom.”

Stana hopes the programme might inspire hope in listeners of all faiths.

The team prepares a programme rundown early each week, talking through the key points of discussion, before coming together in a debate that is aimed at bringing greater insight to biblical reflections, life reflections and common issues of the day that affect all of society.

Although Christianity is the focal point of all that is shared, the topics discussed are of universal importance, and Stana hopes the programme might inspire hope in listeners of all faiths, traditions, customs and viewpoints.

And having already hit 60,000 listeners on one Coptic Voice Radio episode – she just might be right!