ETSC's Update, November 2022
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Doctor of Ministry programs allow pastors to continue their education while continuing their ministry. They encourage the participant to explore their own pastoral setting in the light of larger issues and to apply these ideas to their own ministry context. In conversations with the leadership of Fuller Seminary in Los Angeles, ETSC saw the opportunity to develop a D.Min. that enables Middle Eastern pastors to incorporate global trends into their own situation. After overcoming several obstacles, the joint project became a reality in July of this year. Nine pastors accepted the daunting challenge and came to Cairo in October for an intensive week of lectures, conversations, worship, and community building. The foundation for their time together was a course entitled, “Missional Ecclesiology and the Middle Eastern Context.” Taught by Dr. Kurt Frederickson of Fuller, Dr. Hani Hanna and Dr. Tharwat Wahba, the course examined the missional challenges faced by churches in minority cultures and how church leaders could strengthen the lives of those churches.
Dr. Fredrickson said of the week, “Not only was this a dream finally realized, but it was also an amazing week with ministry leaders in an Arabic context as we explored how to do ministry and live out the gospel in challenging times. This is Doctor of Ministry training at its best.” The participants were equally appreciative of the experience. Mena Awny, an Egyptian pastor said, “This is a very strong program. While it was difficult for us to be away from our churches and our families, it is a wonderful opportunity for pastors in the Middle East to be part of this program.” Moffed Samir, a Syrian pastor observed, “We are blessed to have this program that is especially designed for Middle Eastern culture. With professors from both the Middle East and America means that we are connected to the world and at the same time to our own context and culture.”  Andrew Salama, a Lebanese pastor exclaimed, “I was studying at another seminary, but I moved to this program because of its emphasis upon missions. I appreciate the opportunity to study with pastors from my own region so that we can share ideas and how to find solutions for the problems we face.”

Students of the Bible recall the partnership of Ezra and Nehemiah in rebuilding the city of Jerusalem and the Temple. When Dr. Atef Gendy became president of ETSC in 2000, he faced many challenges, not least among them the business of operating a seminary. Given his engineering training, he might have been tempted to oversee that responsibility, but he recognized the folly of that path. Like Ezra, he needed a Nehemiah. So, he turned to a trusted friend, Sameh Hanna, also an engineer, to administer the business enterprise side of ETSC. Hanna accepted the role on a part-time basis, but the position quickly became a full-time role. As Vice-President for Administrative Affairs, Mr. Hanna oversees the buildings, the dormitory, the accounting office, and the human resources office.
Visitors to Mr. Hanna’s office receive a warm welcome. It becomes quickly obvious that he loves ETSC and understands its mission. His eyes twinkle as he takes visitors on a verbal tour of maintaining 100-year-old buildings and balancing books. Although it is not listed on his job description, his engineering background allowed him to supervise the construction and renovation of the building projects over the past 20 years, including the extension office completed in 2020. He says, “I’m grateful that God has used my previous engineering experience to support ETSC’s leadership in finishing those projects.” It is no small task to maintain 38,000 square feet of offices and classrooms, especially with significant financial constraints. For example, he recently had to postpone some projects because of escalating construction costs.
Hanna says that the financial issues pose the greatest challenges for him. Scholarships are the largest piece of the pie, but the most daunting obstacle of the moment is the soaring inflation that has reached 50% in the last year! He frowns as he says that while inflation is running at 50%, the seminary has only been able to increase salaries by 5%, acknowledging the burden this creates for faculty and staff. He comments, “It is a big challenge that we find ourselves unable to make salary increases that would enable employees to face their own financial challenges.”
Despite these obstacles, Hanna focuses on God’s work at ETSC. His tone turns to gratitude as he says, “With God’s grace and the support of God’s people in and outside Egypt, we can see many accomplishments. We renovated 80% of our 100-year-old administrative building, established new ministry centers, opened a new media studio that allowed us to shift to online learning in 2020, and opened the new extension that houses four centers.” Hanna recognizes the impact of these structural changes upon academics, reflecting upon the student body growth from 70 to 620 students. In closing, he said, “We feel blessed and privileged to have faithful partners who believe in our ministry, and we strive to be faithful stewards of the generous gifts entrusted to our hands.”
Although his work often goes unnoticed outside the seminary, Sameh Hanna’s expertise has been vital to keeping the wheels turning smoothly at ETSC.

I spent most of May at the Evangelical Seminary in Cairo, meeting with students, faculty, and staff. I came away deeply impressed with their character and their commitment to theological education. As I walked around the campus, something else caught my eye. Wherever I looked, I saw small plaques acknowledging the gifts of donors that had underwritten the costs of the buildings. I called them “signs of grace,” because they reminded me of the many faithful and generous individuals, churches, and foundations whose gifts these plaques recognized. There must be a dozen in the main hall of the administration building. Although some are oxidized and somewhat difficult to read, they remind the reader that God has been at work here. Plaques in almost every place at the seminary recall the gifts that made possible its renovation\establishment. Twenty-three such projects have been completed over the last 20 years. They include the library, faculty offices, the chapel, the Center for Middle Eastern Christianity, the classrooms and many others. While not every space has a plaque, there are plaques in the cafeteria and the computer lab to mark the generosity of those who invested in ETSC’s future. It is tempting to list these donors, but I do not trust myself to remember all of them. Be assured, however, that the seminary’s leadership knows who they are. When President Atef Gendy made his final remarks as he passed the mantle of leadership to Dr. Hani Hanna, he mentioned the people who believed in him and the seminary twenty years before when they had little reason to do so. Today the seminary is flourishing. It faces some challenges, but God is using it to prepare pastors and leaders for Arabic communities around the world. As I reflect on these blessings, I recognize that yesterday’s gifts make today’s work possible. Like the 12 stacked stones that memorialized the Israelites’ crossing over the Jordan in Joshua 4, these plaques recall God’s grace at work in the hearts of faithful Christians across the world. Their gifts continue to work to the glory of God.

Don Crittenden

Give thanks to the Lord, for his steadfast love endures forever.” Psalm 136:3
On behalf of the ETSC campus community, we wish you a blessed season of Thanksgiving. As you pause at your tables with friends and family, may your hearts be filled with gratitude for the blessings, past and present, which flow through your life.
Please join us in prayer for the following concerns:
  • That the seminary will successfully navigate the new normal of having students on campus again.
  • That ETSC will find ways to overcome the issues raised by inflation.
  • That faculty and staff will be able to meet their personal needs in the face of these same economic challenges.
  • That the Egyptian churches will continue to have successful ministries in their communities.
Support the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo
You can make financial gifts to the seminary though one of these wonderful seminary friends:

Give online 
The Presbyterian Foundation
The Outreach Foundation

Or send a check to:
Presbyterian Foundation
200 East Twelfth Street
Jeffersonville, IN 47130
The Outreach Foundation
381 Riverside Drive, Suite 110
Franklin, TN 37064
Christians Caring for Egypt, Inc.
PO Box 6475
Monroe Township, NJ 08831-9998

Friends from other countries can contact Mariam Hanna to discuss ways to give. 
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