At the end of June, I will finish fifteen years of serving as a President of this Seminary. I found it helpful to share a few lessons I learned during this period.
Days pass very quickly. We don't have the luxury of wasting time on what we are not called to do.
- In ministry one is easily pushed and challenged to be part of fights and disputes but the best lesson I learned is to choose my battles.
- The Lord has blessed me with an abundance of things and encouraged me by many achievements. The best of these blessings were friends, partners and colleagues who made it possible to face challenges and overcome problems.
- One cannot accept the role of leadership and avoid risk taking.
- My role required investing lots of time in managing projects, doing fund raising, leading committees etc. It made the whole difference when I asked myself what would this activity add and how does it contribute to achieving the mission of the seminary.
- Listening to God may take time and effort but it does not slow the achievement of an organization. To the contrary, it results in confident, wise and good decisions.
- In God's Kingdom, the missed opportunity is no less or more than missing being part of God's plan.
- Finally, I need to bow down to God, who in His great grace and mercy counted me worthy to serve Him. I owe lots of gratitude to the people of God from partner churches, organizations and individuals in Egypt and across the world for walking alongside me during these years, flooding me with support, encouragement and counsel.
One HOT graduation week!
Our graduation week at the end of May included wonderful celebrations. Tuesday evening the students were hosted by the faculty on the roof of the Library building for a buffet dinner with their immediate families. The temperature that day rose to 35C/ 95F but large fans and a nighttime breeze kept things comfortable for the guests. Fortunately no celebrations were scheduled for Wednesday, May 27th when the wind storms were pouring out sand and heat at 44C/112F degrees. By Thursday the weather was milder but the new A/C in the Conference Hall was still a bonus. Having the windows closed against the neighborhood noise was helped, too. Another outdoor dinner was served at dusk on the Sports Court to the parents and pastors who had already arrived from Upper Egypt, Alexandria, and Sohag. Two hundred and fifty boxed dinners were served in record time thanks to great preparation by our kitchen crew, volunteers and the new Kitchen Supervisor, Joseph Ibrahim.
The Commencement ceremonies were held at the Helipolis Evangelical Church. Dr. Andrea Zaki, General Director of CEOSS and recently elected President of the Protestant Community, gave the Commencement Address. The class of 2015 included the first nineteen graduates from the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership as well as the thirteen men who were the last class to receive their Bachelor of Divinity. (As of 2016, the new curriculum culminates in the Master of Divinity degree.) There were also three students who received their M.A., one man who was awarded the ThM and two men who received their Diploma for completing their studies. There were twelve women and twenty six men in the Class of 2015.
We offer our congratulations (mabrook!) to all of these graduates and look forward to seeing the fruits of their labors at ETSC in the ministries ahead of them in congregations, schools, and social service agencies.
. Faculty Goodbyes
Dr. Joshua Yoder and Rev. Rebecca Kirkpatrick arrived in Cairo in June of 2013 just in time to experience Egypt’s Second Revolution. They both have served ETSC as Presbyterian Church (USA) Mission Co-Workers. Over the past two academic years Joshua taught New Testament courses, including Introduction to the New Testament as well as courses on Luke-Acts, 1 Peter, and the Pauline epistles. He received his PhD. in 2012 from the University of Notre Dame. Rebecca has worked with the ETSC faculty in the development of online courses for the MAT programs in Alexandria and Minya, including coordinating faculty and student training as well as assisting with course development and editing video links. One of her favorite activities was teaching a class on Theological English for the third year MDiv students.
Joshua’s dissertation was published in 2014 under the title Representatives of Roman Rule: Roman Provincial Governors in Luke-Acts (Berlin: Walter de Gruyter). This September, SPCK Press will release Rebecca’s first book, 100 Things For Your Child to Know Before Confirmation: Growing Faith Together. It will be available in the Spring of 2016 from Westminster/John Knox Press.
Their ten year old son, Owen Yoder, has been a student at New Ramses College for the past two years. He was the seventh “faculty son” in a tribe of eight faculty children who play together in the Sports Court.
Prior to coming to Cairo, Joshua served as pastor of a Mennonite church in Elkhart, Indiana and Rebecca served as Associate Pastor at Sunnyside Presbyterian Church in South Bend, Indiana. The family will move to Pennsylvania where Rebecca will serve as Associate Pastor of Adult Education and Mission at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church in July. All three of them will be sorely missed as part of the ETSC community and we pray for a smooth transition back to the States and many rich opportunities to tell the stories of their work in Egypt.
Did you know that ETSC has offered a Masters Degree in Management and Organizational Leadership since 2010?
Three cohorts of students will be on campus in June for their studies in the Masters Degree in Management and Organizational Leadership. These students have demonstrated proficiency in English and come together for classes with an instructor two times a year, (June and January) for a total of two weeks annually.
This accredited M.A. degree is conducted primarily through Distance Education. It focuses on the specific needs and issues facing Christian leaders of organizations serving in Majority World countries. The needs addressed by the program include modeling servant leadership, wise stewardship of financial and human resources, financial management and planning from a Biblical perspective. Students assess cultural and economic realities in the locale they serve and engage in strategic management in a world that is in constant change. They are provided opportunities to enhance their leadership skills while remaining actively involved in their job and ministry.
The MAOL uses the cohort model to bring students together in a collaborative, team-focused learning experience. Distance learning in this model includes course workbooks and current leadership resources. Dialogue with faculty/mentors includes face to face meetings, e-mail and other forms of online learning.
The Instructors are recruited by Development Associates International (DAI) in Colorado Springs, CO. (www.daintl.org) DAI partners with 14 schools in Africa and six in Asia. ETSC is the only location in the Middle East at El-Abasseyah, Cairo, Egypt.
Students engage in practical projects to apply what they are learning to their current leadership role and complete a number of written assignments. The MAOL degree can be completed in a minimum of three years and a maximum of 5 years.
The cost of this degree varies depending upon the student’s citizenship. Egyptians pay 1,200.00 L.E. per year. Non-Egyptians pay more. Books, fees, room and board at the Seminary are the responsibility of the student.
The MAOL is another example of the Seminary’s impact on Egypt, the Middle East and the developing world in the marketplace as well as the local church, schools, and NGOs that are making a difference. The first twenty students from cohorts 1 and 2 received their MAOL degrees on May 29th.
In late May ETSC was blessed with a visit and a wonderful gift from
Dr. David W. Shenk. Dr. Shenk was born and raised in a Christian missionary home in Tanzania.
For ten years he was involved in educational work in Islamic Somalia and lectured in comparative religion and church history at Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya for six years. Since 1980, Shenk has been based at Eastern Mennonite Missions (EMM) headquarters, Salunga, Pennsylvania, where he helps to coordinate interfaith commitments as the Global Consultant for (EMM).. He is the author of many books, including A Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue and Surprises of the Christian Way.
Dr. Shenk generously donated two sets of his books to the ETSC libraries. Four volumes are from the Christians Meeting Muslims Series and four are in the “People of God” Series. A ninth donated volume, The Holy Book of God: Is the Bible trustworthy? is in its third printing from EMM Press. In a Muslim and a Christian in Dialogue he and a Muslim, Badru D. Kateregga. acknowledge the fact that millions of Muslims and Christians are neighbors, and believe that they worship the one and only God. Yet they seldom witness to each other. In their attempt to witness and listen, Kateregga and Shenk open up the basic questions of the human situation and confront similarities and differences in Muslim and Christian responses. Instead of antagonistic Muslim-Christian interactions, the authors pioneer another way: that of authentic dialogue between friends.
Christian-Muslim dialogue is offered as a Skills course for Third Year M.Div students at ETSC. Conducting dialogue events is one of the frequent events hosted by the Synod of the Nile. These books are a welcome addition to our library shelves.
Dr. Peter E. Makari, Executive for Middle East and Europe Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ and Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), brought a delegation of leaders from both denominations to the Middle East in late April, early May. ETSC was happy to host this group of elected leaders of the two churches, as well as key staff people in various divisions and departments. Their visit to ETSC included conversations with Dr. Atef Gendy, President and Dr. Hani Hanna, Academic Dean, about the "vision for the seminary's future" as part of their preparation to launch the Middle East Initiative for both church bodies this summer, They also met with some fourth year students to learn about their experience as students and their hopes for ministry in the near future. We are delighted that Peter included ETSC as part of their effort to become familiar with the partners in the region and the current issues. The blog posts detailing their trip are posted at http://www.globalministries.org/global_ministries_leadership_middle_east_trip_blog.
How quiet is the Seminary in the summer months? Not very. The Guest Rooms and vacant student rooms in the Dormitory are made available to Christian groups from June to mid- September. This good stewardship of these otherwise vacant places allows groups to have access to the Dining Room and the upgraded Conference Hall as well as the Sports Court for their recreation activities and the Canteen for their snacks. Steady occupancy provides much needed additional revenue for the Seminary’s General Operating Budget. Rooms are already reserved for nine of the 14 weeks of summer break.
Mona Gamel "Dormitory Manager" reports that groups making use of these spaces this summer include the two weeks of MAOL student cohorts; a conference for the wives and fianc?es of students; two separate student groups from the Middle East and Egypt; and the Religion Teachers from all of the Synod of the Nile schools. The workers put in a major effort cleaning out piles of the accumulated stuff left behind by students when they disappear at the end of the term as well as cleaning the rooms throughout the summer months.
- For our Ordination Track graduates and their families as they adjust to their roles in their congregations and the realities of being reunited as families on a full time basis.
- For our Th.M., M.A., MAOL, and Diploma graduates in a variety of Christian Ministries where they use their education and gifts.
- For the Yoder-Kirkpatrick family as they return to the Philadelphia area and transition back to life in the USA and the Kennedy family on their Mission Interpretation journey in Southern California and Arizona.
- For Atef Gendy, Tharwat Wahba, Willem de Wit, Cinda Gorman, Mariam Hanna and students in their international travels on behalf of the Seminary.
- For all of our fulltime students in their Summer Internship/Practical Training locations.