November 2014 ETSC Update-A Milestone Observed
One hundred and three International Guests trooped through the newly painted gates of the Seminary on a beautiful Cairo morning as the 150th Anniversary Celebration began on November 13th. After months of preparation and a whirlwind of finalized interior and outdoor projects in October and November, the whole community was poised to celebrate with guests from 17 countries. Trees and flowers were newly planted, every nook and cranny of accumulated debris was hauled away on a student work day, walls were painted, and the Sports Court was all decked out in a typical oversize Egyptian party tent. From Alfred to Zack, by 9:00 a.m. the guests had all retrieved their nametags and gifts and were seated shoulder-to-shoulder in the chapel.
Anne Zaki lead the liturgy using the four roles of Jesus pictured in the new chapel windows as the worship outline. Rev. Victor Makari preached and music and songs were provided by students, faculty and their spouses. Following worship, the guests were organized in twelve groups for campus tours that took them to the Center for the Study of Middle East Christianity, the Computer Lab, the Library, and the unfinished space on the second floor of the high rise that is the future space for ETSC’s Center for Church and Society Services (CCSS).
The tours were ably conducted by a dozen students with explanations at each stop shared by faculty and staff. At the conclusion, our guests prayed for their student guides before breaking for Egyptian snacks, tea and conversation. At noon the guests gathered in the beautifully refurbished Conference Center on the second floor of the Dormitory building for four more presentations and a three course luncheon. These guests departed at 3:00 and the worship and program were repeated in Arabic for Egyptians from 4:30 to 9:30.
The Friday festivities began at noon on the Nile River where the guests were hosted on the upper and lower decks of a restaurant boat for a buffet luncheon. After a short word of welcome from Dr. Atef Gendy, ETSC’s president, Dr. Tharwat Wahba offered a brief history of the role that the Nile River played in the history of the Evangelical Church. As lunch concluded, the boat passed near the “original seminary” for all to see the aging houseboat, the Ibis. The culmination of the Anniversary Celebration was the worship gathering on Friday evening in the beautiful sanctuary of the Heliopolis Evangelical Church. Our International Guests were each supplied with wireless translation headsets. The congregation included local ecumenical and interfaith representatives and government officials who were joined by the ETSC Board of Trustees, Synod of the Nile office holders, pastors, alumni, students and many Presbyterians from around Egypt. Music was provided by a well-rehearsed choir of thirteen students and volunteer instrumentalists from the ETSC Community. A newly produced video of ETSC’s history was featured. Highlights of this celebration will be posted on the ETSC website as soon as they are available with English captioning.
Like a wedding or baptism, this celebration took a great deal of preparation by the workers, staff, faculty and students. The ETSC Community was deeply honored to host so many people from around Egypt and around the world. Like any family event, it was a milestone in the life of ETSC that allows us to look back and look forward with great anticipation to what God has in store for us in the century ahead.
A Message from the President
Let me call your attention to four highlights that were clear from the Thursday and Friday 150th Anniversary presentations, film and words:
- ETSC is renewing itself through the major curriculum review that took place recently, which responds in practical ways to the Church needs and the region’s contemporary challenges.
- ETSC is determined to reach out to Christians in the region with theological education, making it available in different formats and packages to suit the needs of different age groups, cultures and education levels in the Arab world.
- ETSC is planning strategically to empower the Church through a series of services offered via the CCSS. These services should enable and support the Church and its councils to make decisions based on good information, well studied needs and good priorities.
We hope all of our partners will feel the same excitement we experienced here in Cairo this past month. As one of our visitors from Houston wrote, “ It is going to take me a while to mentally unpack everything from the trip – the amazing people we met, the Kingdom work being done, and the unique time/window of opportunity we’re in right now in the Middle East with Egypt leading the way.”
Please keep ETSC’s students, faculty, staff, workers and alumni in your prayers as they participate in the work of the Kingdom in this kairos season.
Atef Gendy, ETSC President
HOW CAN YOU PARTNER WITH US?
On December 2 the world comes together to give. Start your Advent season with a focus on the blessings we have been given by God. Your gratitude for God’s blessings can be reflected as a gift to support the needs of the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo. GIVINGTUESDAY is a global initiative devoting one special day to Giving. We invite you to make a donation to ETSC on this special day but don’t stop there…encourage your family and friends to also make a donation.
Through our two PC(USA) donor pages
The Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo (ETSC), Student Scholarship Fund offsets costs to provide all qualified students a quality theological education. E051809 http://www.presbyterianmission.org/donate/E051809/
The Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo (ETSC) Special Projects allows donors to choose such projects as the Student Emergency Fund, Library or the Center for Church and Society Services (CCSS). E862376E862376 http://www.presbyterianmission.org/donate/E862376/ Designate your gift choice on the donor page
Through The Outreach Foundation donor pages at https://give.theoutreachfoundation.org/
Designate ETSC and your choice of needs at ETSC on the donor page