Greetings again from the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, Egypt, where I will be serving as an ELCA Missionary directing the Master's Program. Immediately after my return here in early August, the faculty retreat was held for the coming year. Pictured is one of the planning sessions of the five day retreat, when we were together in a suburb of Alexandria, Egypt.
Many topics were covered:
- the opening of a distance learning center in southern Egypt, where there has been significant
growth in the past several years. The seminary wants
to be more available to the pastors and lay leaders in their ministries and to become even more sensitive to the challenges of parish ministry in the 21st century.
- a review of the curriculum and a standarization of requirments for all seminary courses in the program to train pastors (i.e. how much reading is required, how many papers, etc.). This is particularly important because the seminary employs several part-time teachers and all need to be on "the same page".
- the faculty includes mostly Egyptian teachers and is supplement by teachers and other staff from North
Americans, who received their financial support from the Presbyterians and Mennonite communities world-wide. Dr. Darren Kennedy has just been awarded his doctorate from the University of Edinburgh and his spouse Elizabeth is writing her thesis at the same school. She will return to teaching Hebrew at the seminary this fall. Dr. Dustin Elingston teaches New Testament courses. The Rev. Brice Rogers heads the Development Department at the Seminary. (The Seminary still receives the majority of its financial support from ouside of Egypt, but this is changing as the visits by seminary personnel to Presbyterian churches in Egypt encourage each congregation to have a "Seminary Sunday", and receive an offering to support its work. Ms. Elaine Pequegnat, a Canadian, teaches English at the Seminary.
All are deeply committed to their ministry. Classes begin the last week in September.
The seminary community held its own version of the Olympics, which included water sports and track events.
(I placed last in the competition in the water balloon
toss). It was nice to have many of the families of the faculty be with us for the five days of the retreat. It was held in a Christian community, away from the traffic, the noise, and the smoggy skies of Cairo. Now it is back to work, preparing classes for the fall, dealing with registration issues, (it looks like we we be receiving at least six new students, including a visiting student from Norway - I am still waiting for the TOEFL - "english competency test" for others - a score of 500 is required), and the opportunity to welcome a new Biblical scholar from the Netherlands.
But more about that in my next report which should come about the end of this month. Stay well and cool.
Thank you for your support and prayers. In Christ, Roger Rogahn