I really enjoy our church Coptic hymns. However, many people, including myself, have a very hard time understanding the language. Why doesn't the church sing all the hymns in English, a language we can all understand?
The Coptic language is an integral part of our liturgical worship. As we inherited the holy tradition, we have also inherited the beautiful Coptic hymns. Most of them have already been translated into English and many churches already use English hymns in their liturgies. Even all the Pascha week hymns are translated into English in the Pascha books; so a person can understand the meaning of the hymns chanted. However no matter how accurate the translations are, they do not keep the exact melody and character of the hymns. I know of churches that on Good Friday, read the long hymns like 'Omonogenis' in English before they start chanting it in Coptic.
Coptic Hymns are one of the important links that bind us with our mother church in Egypt. While we think of the English speaking congregation, we cannot forget that our church is still a migrating one, receiving newcomers from Egypt all the time. We need to think about those newcomers who in this transitional period are eager to hold onto anything that seems familiar to them. Chanting the Coptic hymns during an English liturgy are the least we can do to accommodate them and make them feel at home.
I would like those who do not understand Coptic to either start to learn it or at least follow it in the liturgy books, the Psalmody books or the Pascha books to understand what is being chanted and worship the Lord with gladness.