Greetings in Christ’s name from an exceptionally hot Cairo! The Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo (ETSC) has become quieter with most of the students away on their summer internships, and it is a time to look back and reflect on the busy end-of-session period.
Amid all the excitement and preparations for the graduation in May, the ETSC community received a double blow, as it learned of the deaths of Jack Lorimer and, two weeks later, of Ken Bailey. Both were missionary giants, who in their different ways made an immense impact in the life of the Egyptian Church and indeed internationally. Both were great friends and advocates of the Seminary, and we mourn their passing.
Jack Lorimer, who died at the age of 92, was born in Egypt, the son of Presbyterian missionaries. After studying in the States, he returned to Egypt with his wife Mary Louise in 1952 as missionaries, working in village development, before coming to ETSC in 1972 to teach Church History, Public Speech and Christian Ethics. He would become firstly Vice-President, then President of the Seminary. It was during this time that he wrote his monumental 5 volume History of the Christian Church, written in Arabic, which has had a lasting influence on many theological students. Jack and Mary Lou retired to the States in 1990. Atef Gendy, President of ETSC, said that Jack gave the best years of his life to ETSC. He was always ready to fill in for any need or gap in both academics and administration.
Ken Bailey died at the age of 85. His parents were missionaries in Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia, and he grew up immersed in Arabic language and culture, giving him an insight he would use to tremendous effect in his studies. After completing seminary in the States, he returned to Egypt with his wife Ethel in 1955, serving in village evangelism and then working at the ETSC’s programme at Assiut. In 1965 Ken and his family moved to Beirut, and he would later teach in Cyprus and Jerusalem. He specialised in New Testament, and focussed on the Middle Eastern context of the Gospels. His many books and articles influenced scholars and students throughout the world, challenging them to read the Gospels from a different mindset – a Middle Eastern mindset. He was invited to lecture at theological colleges and conferences round the globe. In 1995 he retired back to the States, to New Wilmington, with Ethel, but he maintained his close links with ETSC, and in 2005 he realised his great vision of establishing at ETSC a Centre for Middle Eastern Christianity, whose library is named in his honour. Dr Gendy was keen to travel to Pittsburgh and be with the Bailey family during the memorial service. His tribute was entitled “The Story of the Storyteller and the Parable of the Parable’s Interpreter”
As the ETSC community we give God our thanks for the lives of these faithful men, whose passion for God’s Kingdom and for the Church in the Middle East has inspired so many.
As the ETSC community mourned the passing of these two giants of the faith, so it also looked to the future and to those who, by God’s grace, will be used in the extension of God’s Kingdom. The 2016 Graduation was held at Heliopolis Church on Friday, 27th May. The church was packed to capacity, as 68 students, resplendent in their gowns and hoods, were presented with their degrees. The ceremony was attended by representatives of the Government, Parliament, of the various church bodies and councils and of other faith communities, along with families and friends. It was a colourful affair, very slick and professional, but most of all, a joyful occasion. Rev. Reda Thabet, the chairperson of the Board, welcomed the attendees at the beginning of the Ceremony, and one of the M.Div. students, Tharwat Musa, was given the honour of speaking on behalf of his fellow graduates on the theme of ‘Theological Education and the Devout Life’. This was the theme taken up and expounded by one of our distinguished alumni, Rev Amir Tharwat.
One graduate was awarded the degree of ThM. 15 MDivs, 2 BTh, 11 MAOL and 35 MAT and 4 DipTh were also awarded. It was especially good to have 15 of the MAT students from the Alexandria campus, who had traveled all the way to Cairo to receive their degrees. Presentations were also made to three alumni, Rev Ibrahim Shawki, Rev Ishak Kostandi and Rev Dr Samuel Yousef (who served ETSC for over 17 years as Professor), who graduated from ETSC in 1966, 50 years ago! Another presentation was also made to Dr Magdi Gendy who served for 20 years as Professor of Old Testament and Vice President of ETSC, before moving to serve with the Overseas Council. Dr Atef Gendy concluded the evening by thanking the honoured guests, the congregations which had donated books and financial gifts to the students, as well as paying tribute to those who had passed away. He also reminded the graduates of the need for holy and faithful lives, lived in God’s service.
The Practice of Mission in Egypt
A new book has been published, an Historical Study of the Integration between the American Mission and the Evangelical Church of Egypt, 1854–1970. Click here for more information.