Slideshow - Egypt
A slideshow of worship in Egypt.
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"Blessed is Egypt my people . . A blessing in the midst of the Earth" Isaiah 19:24, 25
The year 2004 marked the 150th anniversary for the presence and ministry of The Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Egypt, also known as Synod of the Nile. Mission work began in 1854, and the Presbyterian Church of Egypt was independent in 1954, but financially supporting its own pastors by 1926. It is now the largest Protestant denomination in the Middle East. The Presbyterian Church of Egypt has a strong sense of national identity. Its ministries of education; compassion; health and development are creative, successful and highly regarded by both Muslims and Christians of other denominations.
Its seminary, The Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cario (ETSC) has been graduating Arabic-speaking pastors for over 130 years. They lead ministries all over Egypt and in many other Arab and African countries. Five years ago, ETSC began a short term theological education program for women leaders who are nominated by their presbyteries for excellence in lay ministry. Graduates from this focused program have contributed richly to the ministries of the local churches and to the developing role of women in the Egyptian Church. Nevertheless, the Egyptian Church still does not ordain women in the ministry.
In October 2005, a teaching team from the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship was invited to conduct a workshop on Reformed Worship during the 105th Annual Prayer Festival in Alexandria, where more than 90% of Presbyterian pastors gathered for a time of prayer and learning. The workshop included 3 lectures: (1) Theology of Reformed Worship, (2) Reformed Worship and Preaching, and (3) Reformed Worship and Pastoral Care, and was presented to an audience of over 750. Pastors were encouraged to bring their wives along (who tend to be very involved in youth and women's ministries nationwide), their elders, and their women leaders. So even though it was mainly an event for pastors, in a church that does not yet ordain women ministers, the gender balance was quite striking as you will see in the photos. The entire workshop was repeated in Cairo to a much smaller audience of seminary students, staff and faculty of the Presbyterian Theological Seminary.
At the end of the workshop both in Alexandria and Cairo, we were able to thank the church there for the invitation and their hospitality through a book gift to each participant, an Arabic copy of Sunday Morning Live. The decision to translate this book was based primarily on the church's vision and desire to keep the youth in the church and include them in worship. People were overjoyed to have such an incredible resource in hand. We were encouraged to learn that based on the teachings of the workshop, the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo has committed to redesign its worship course, and the Arabic version of Sunday Morning Live will be integrated in the denomination's national curriculum for middle and high school students.
In addition to leading the workshops in Alexandria and Cairo, the teaching team had the opportunity to worship in various Egyptian churches, as well as a chance to tour a few national monuments in both cities.