ETSC May update
The current newsletter from the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo is now available. It is included below.
What do People need and expect from theological institutions?
For many years, theological education focused its brand as a scholastic, intellectual and philosophical discipline. It was natural to classify it in many universities under the department of Philosophy and Arts. No doubt, attaining “good theology” requires an integration and interaction of many disciplines including exegesis, doctrine, history, anthropology and philosophy, all of which require intellectual skills such as analytical, critical and logical thinking. However, theological education lost much ground when it satisfied itself with such an approach, neglecting its purpose and the groups it was targeted to serve. Accordingly, there was not enough effort to relate the educational approach to both the purpose and the people it intended to serve.
In our new curriculum and after the many challenges which resulted from the Arab Spring, we found ourselves in ETSC in dire need of making each course we offer be purpose driven and mission oriented towards serving our church, nation and region. This requires that analytical, critical and logical approaches must lead towards the transformation of people’s lives. The scholastic and philosophical approaches should not be a destination by themselves. Rather, they should inform, direct and transform the field and market, i.e., life outside the church’s walls.
By the end of this month, we will have our graduation ceremony and our students and graduates will go to their assigned field ministries. Please pray for them and for us to see fruitful results out of the changes we made in our new curriculum. We appreciate your ongoing support to ETSC and continue to see in many ways the impact of our ministry on the church of Egypt and the Middle East.
Atef Gendy, President, ETSC
**Spring in Cairo can mean daytime temperatures varying from the 70s to 90s. The winds could be the wicked khamaseen winds that are the dry, hot, sandy local wind, blowing from the south Sahara. This year we have been blessed with balmy evening breezes cooling off apartments and dormitory rooms. The jacarandas are in bloom and the 2014 campus landscaping is being well maintained and adds to our pleasure every day. Our students returned from their Easter break and are gearing up for the final four weeks of classes, examinations and graduation on May 29th. Our fulltime Ordination Track students received information about their Summer Internships as well as the churches the graduates will serve beginning this summer. Spring is always an exciting time for new beginnings here at ETSC.
**The investment of time and treasure in the Center for Middle East Christianity continues to bear fruit for the wider Christian Church and brings many people together in various gatherings. Fifty students and researchers are enrolled in a training course on “Arab Christian Theology” in partnership with Bibliotheca Alexandria. It met on Fridays and Saturdays over three weekends. The speaker for the April public monthly lecture was the head of the Coptic Studies Center at Bibliotheca Alexandrina. He spoke on “Coptic Christianity.” CMEC’s fourth book, Ammar al-Basri and Arab Theology comes out next week. Ammar was a 9th century Arab Christian theologian. We praise God for the important work being done under the leadership of Dr. Wageeh Mikhail at the CMEC.
Pray for ETSC
We praise God for the success of Samy Estafanos in defending his dissertation research at Princeton Theological Seminary. He will be awarded the PhD on May 23, 2015. Please pray for Samy’s family as they finish out their school year and make the transition back to Cairo after six years of living in New Jersey.
Continue in prayer for our students as they complete this academic year and for the families of the graduates as they prepare to travel to Cairo for the celebration of their graduations.
For Sherif Habib completing the second of three cohort based terms in the School of Intercultural Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary as he pursues his Doctorate of Missiology.
For the difficult situation for Christians throughout the Middle East and the role ETSC plays as a beacon of light providing a sound theological education for church leaders and pastors.