The spring term at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo is almost concluded and we will have four students receiving their Masters' degrees in the program I have been called to administer. The picture above shows the four, about to make their presentations to the "Scholar's Seminar" last week. Behind them are three of the faculty of the seminary. The one in white shirt and tie is Dr. Atef Gendy, who serves at the president of the seminary. The students have been working with an advisor all this term and will "defend" their dissertations to a committee of three professors this coming week, before receiving their diplomas at the graduation ceremonies on May 30.
Briefly, here is some information about them and their work:
Daniel Amum (at the far left) is a pastor from the Sudan who has written an analysis of the concept of affliction (sufferings) in St. Paul, particularly in his Second Letter to the Corinthians. He has developed this so that as he returns to his Christian community in that African country still so involved in turmoil and violence he can lead his people in their faith journeys. He has written how Paul accepts suffering for Christ, and that this has been an essential part of his ministry. Daniel writes that the Christians in the Sudan have also grown in numbers and in faith during their time of tribulation.
Nashat Habi, to the right of Daniel with the dark glasses, has written abou the development and use of the "Van Dyke" Bible, an Arabic translation of the Bible done by a 19th century missionary. It is currently in use among most Christian groups in Egypt. Nashat looks at the reasons for a new translation to be developed today, using the Biblical texts in Hebrew and Greek which were not available to Van Dyke and up-dating the Arabic (since this language too has undergone significant changes in the last 150 years). Nashat works with the Bible Society of Egypt and his dissertation will help that organization in its study of the issue of a new translation.
To Nashat's left is Magdy Rida, who has worked many years as an engineer in Egypt, and has returned to the seminary to study. His topic is the study of the influence of the Evangelicals who have come to Egypt since the mid 19th century on the Egyptian Coptic Church, the church which has been the community of Christian witness here from the beginning. He shows how some positive efforts, like the Sunday school movement, have opened the Orthodox Church to a more ecumenical world view, and also provided current church leaders with the inspiration to write literature using more Biblical texts for their community. Though Evangelicals and the Coptic Church are separate identities here, they work together on many projects.
Sungmin Cho has completed her dissertation on the history and disappearance of the Nubian Church, (the area south of Egypt which for many centuries provided a stronghold for Christian communities). She cites several reasons for this, the most important being that the churches there never developed a truly indigenous expression which touched the hearts of the common people. After graduation she plans to serve as a Korean missionary in Upper Egypt.
That's all for now. The next blog will feature pictures of the graduation of students preparing for ordained ministry in the Presbyterian Church of the Nile. Blessings, Roger