For centuries, in the life and history of the early church, Alexandria played a central role, giving birth to great Church Fathers like Athanasius and Clement of Alexandria, who in turn enriched the life of the global Church with their deep theological writings. Although less famous today, this same city and the surrounding area are still producing many faithful vibrant church leaders who are filled with passion for ministry and searching for opportunities to enhance their theological and Biblical knowledge. However, ETSC (the only Presbyterian seminary in Egypt) is located more than 2 hours away, in Cairo. Thus, the one major obstacle which stands in the way of these future leaders, specifically those who can only pursue their education part-time, is the difficulty of having to travel back and forth to Cairo every week, which prevents them from benefiting from ETSCísmany excellent academic programs.
God-willing, this is all about to change! A new branch, strategically located to reach and train leaders in the Nile Delta region, the northern part of Egypt inhabited by nearly 45% of the country's population, has just opened.
Although the current situation in Egypt after the January 25thRevolution,has created many challenges, it has made way for some wonderful opportunities as well. ETSC has been encouraged to invest itself in starting a new branch in Alexandria to serve this Delta area. This is the kind of open-door, full of unprecedented opportunities, which we have been waiting for! Accomplishing this would allow us to address our goals for national Church growth more comprehensively and strategically.
As all of Egypt now struggles and speaks openly about issues of democracy, and about the formation of a new constitution that will respect citizenship, and religious freedoms, the Church must make every effort to expand its territory. A key aspect of this will be training and qualifying more leaders who are capable of effectively participating in equipping the church, rebuilding the nation, and reforming its morals and values.
At a time when the whole nation is seeking to form a new identity and society that cares for social justice, freedom, peace and reconciliation, the seminary feels that there is no more golden opportunity than this to communicate the gospel through trained and qualified leaders who can incarnate the love and life of Jesus Christ.
We thank the Lord for the 24 men and women admitted to this Alexandria branch, who already started their studies on October 28th. They will be offered a general diploma in theology at the completion of 70 credit hours, which is expected to take 2-3 years. Weíre looking forward to seeing those students graduate and enter ministry better equipped to serve the church in Alexandria and the rest of the Nile Delta.