ELCA Companions in Egypt
Who are the ELCA companions in Egypt?
Who is the Evangelical Theological Seminary of Cairo and what are its ministries?
|ELCA Middle East Desk Director Robert Smith's reflections and |
photos of his March, 2011 visit to Egypt.
The Evangelical Theological Seminary of Cairo (ETSC)
is the seminary for the Evangelical Synod of the Nile. One of the largest Christian Arabic-language theological seminaries in the world, it trains pastors, teachers, and musicians for Egypt, Sudan, Iraq, Palestine, Jordan, the Gulf States and North Africa. It offers a Diploma in Theological Studies, a four-year Bachelor of Theology degree, and a Masters of Theology in Biblical Studies and Middle East Christianity. In 2005 the seminary inaugurated its Center for Middle East Christianity, which invites both Western Christians and Arab Christians to come and study more about the roots of Christianity in the Middle East. It publishes theological books and Christian education materials in Arabic for the Middle East Christian community.
Who is St. Andrew's United Church and what are its ministries?St. Andrew's United Church
St. Andrew’s Church in Cairo
of Cairo is an international English-language ministry of word and sacrament providing English-language worship and other ministries to the international and expatriate community of Cairo. Weekly worship, pastoral care and educational opportunities seek to provide support for members of the congregation living far from their own support networks, and in a different cultural context. St. Andrews provides educational and spiritual opportunities for the congregation to learn more about the predominant Muslim culture of Egypt, as well as the history, theology and piety of the Eastern Church.
What is St. Andrew's Refugee Ministries and what does it do?
Girls from St. Andrew’s refugee school
St. Andrew's Refugee Ministries, (StARS)
has evolved from a ministry of St. Andrews' into an independent organization in which refugees themselves are providing leadership. StARS operates a children's education program that educates 180 children from Southern Sudan, Darfur, Ethoipia, Eritrea, Somalia and Burundi; an adult education program teaching 650 adults computer, business and English skills; a humanitarian assistance program and an income-generating project through which people sell their arts and crafts. The Community Legal Aid Project provides legal services to refugees seeking to relocate to the United States. The Youth Leadership, Education and Access to Development program reaches out to young Sudanese men who live without parental support in the challenging setting of urban Egypt. St. Andrew's also cooperates with other expressions of the Egyptian Christian community in dialogue with and witness among Muslims.What is the Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services?
The Coptic Evangelical Organization for Social Services (CEOSS)
is one of Egypt's largest development organizations, providing integrated approaches to poor communities in the areas of economic development, agriculture, education, health care, and the environment. CEOSS uses a rights-based approach to improve the quality of life in impoverished Egyptian communities, empower communities and individuals with sustainable development, promote a culture of dialogue based on pluralistic democratic approaches, and encourage religious and social enlightenment. CEOSS positively impacts 2 million Egyptian citizens each year.How do these companions and the ELCA accompany one another?
A computer class at the St. Andrew’s refugee ministry school
Through the churchwide ELCA Global Mission unit, the ELCA relates to and is in bilateral relationship with over 80 companion churches and institutions. The ELCA Global Mission unit stewards relationships with these companions.Churchwide funding
through the ELCA Global Mission unit supports key priorities identified by these companions, including congregational development, refugee education and advocacy, community health and development and developing evangelical theological education with an emphasis on building positive Christian-Muslim relations.
This work and these partners have educated us in how we relate as Christians to the diverse and rich Muslim world and its people, strengthened our understanding of the Church in the East and helped us in understanding our call to build justice and peace.
The ELCA accompanies St. Andrew’s United Church and StARS by providing a pastor and a seminary intern, long-term ELCA mission personnel to serve as directors of StARS and a two-year missionary to serve as the Adult Education program. The ELCA also joins in the ministry of the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo by providing a full-time Professor who serves as the Director of Graduate Studies. Egypt: the context in which our companions serve
Egypt became a republic on July 23, 1952; it gained independence from British rule on February 28, 1922. More than 70,700,000 people live in Egypt. They recognize Arabic as the official language while French and English remain widely understood. The religious make-up of the country is Muslim (mostly Sunni 94%) and Coptic Christian (6%).
President Mohammed Hosni Mubarak came to power in 1981 after the death of President Anwar Sadat, whose leadership resulted in the Camp David Accords of 1978. Egypt’s economy is unstable due to rapid demographic growth and limited arable land (96% of all the land is desert). Agriculture accounts for almost one-third of national income, and the Suez Canal continues to be a major source of income for the Egyptian government. Egypt's high level of education has resulted in a net export of its skilled labor to other Arab countries. Important oil and natural gas deposits strengthen the industrial sector of the economy. The tourist industry, which normally provides 12% of revenues, has been in decline since the terrorist attack of 9/11 in the United States.
For more information on Egypt, type "Egypt" into an online search engine or visit these links: