In the early days of 2003 the small Newcastle congregation were determined to buy a church for the local community. We started the search but found that not many churches were available for sale so it took a while to find one in the Minmi area which is close to the freeway and convenient to the people who live in the central coast. We found the Minmi Presbyterian Church which was built in 1885 and was listed as heritage.
The Church was for sale by auction and on the day of the auction it drew a crowd of 400 interested parties but was eventually purchased by the Egyptian community. The Church had been closed since 1995 and at that time it require a lot of interior work to incorporate the requirements of the Coptic service as well as a lot of exterior work to bring the Church to the beautiful building that it is today.
Through the grace of God, the church has greatly grown and expanded over the years, now serving over 1000 famWe had obtained approval from Bishop Daniel to proceed with the purchase in June 2003.
As soon as the contract was signed and we had Bishop Daniels blessing we announced the establishment of the first church in the hunter area and proceeded to name the Church St Mary and St. George Coptic Orthodox Church.
We registered the name officially on June 26, 2003.
The church was in desperate need of restoration work and straight after the settlement the hard work started with the help of the congregation members and through private donations.
Due to the small number in the Coptic community in Newcastle it was hard to support a full time priest so we had a service once a month. With the growth of the Church we have recently been able to have a permanent priest who was ordinated on the 2nd of July 2016 for our Church, Father John Ghandour.