Seven young Christian leaders within the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Egypt are coming on a 17 day study tour of the Presbyterian Church USA. Between Sept. 6- 23 they will journey from Louisville to Philadelphia. A vision shared both by World Mission and the Synod of the Nile will be realized.
It has been the hope of Rev. Refat Fathy, Secretary-General of the Synod of the Nile, and leaders of the PCUSA World Mission to have more human contact between our denominations. Americans can afford to come to Egypt. So, we have published the tour of Cairo, al Minya, Assiut and Luxor planned for the end of next October.
Our Egyptian colleagues need our assistance to make this trip. With funding through the American Mission Fund in Cairo, come September, Sarah Samir, Amgad Zariff, Basim Adlay, Rafik Thabit, Heidi Gamal, Amgad Samir, and Emile Anwer will be hosted by former Mission Co-Mission Co-Workers to Egypt, Revs. Drs. Steve and Cinda Gorman. The five men are all pastors; the women are Administrative Assistants with two Councils of the Synod.
Over the course of these 17 full days they will:
- stay at both Louisville and Pittsburgh Theological Seminaries, taking classes in leadership development, community outreach, mission history and community outreach, to name a few. During their time at our headquarters they will meet and share with a score of leaders in the breadth of our church[s ministries.
--visit both Hanover and Westminster (Pa) Colleges
--visit Llanfair Retirement Community Cincinnati.
--tour the Presbyterian Historical Society in Philadelphia.
--participate in severalurban ministries in Cincinnati and Philadelphia.
--share ininformal Q & A presentations in six churches, the Presbytery of Cincinnati and a
-- visit a number of museums and historical sites.
-- visit in churches small, medium and large, worshipping and sharing over dinners and
informal presentations, making friends in these congregations.
-- best of all, they will live with six different Presbyterian host families.
-- yes, shopping!
Why do this? A lot has changed since those first missionaries arrived from westernmost Pennsylvania over 160 years ago. The movement they began has resulted in over 375 congregations and worshipping fellowships (NCDs) all along the Nile, Red Sea and Mediterranean. The Evangelical Theological Seminary of Cairo (ETSC) is now the largest Presbyterian Evangelical (Protestant) Seminary in the Middle East. The Coptic Evangelical Organization of Social Services (C.E.O.S.S.) is the largest Christian NGO in the entire Middle East. The Bible Society of Egypt is filled with Presbyterian leadership. We helped launch all of this including several conference centers, hospitals and nearly 30 schools with some 35,000 students. We, in the PCUSA, need to learn of this amazing growth!
However, we are not well known by our present Egyptian colleagues. So, these seven 30-something leaders will experience much of the length and breadth, height and depth of work of thePCUSA. They will return to their homes up and down the Nile to share their experiences and insights. The historical partnership between our denominations will grow. We hope their learning will be included in their ministries. In short, they will know much more about us; we will learn much from them. Naturally, friendships will grow.
This will be a wonderful time of worship, prayer, sharing, laughter and true insight into the mission efforts of the PCUSA and the situation of Christians in the Middle East. We trust these seventeen days will increase our mutual understanding and appreciation for each other. We Americans will know much more about the Arab Spring, Revolutions and the struggle for Christians living among Muslim neighbors and friends, amidst the terrorist acts abhorrent to most in the Middle East.
Keep these seven leaders in your prayers for their sharing and learning; keep our church encounters in your prayers for the insights and friendship which we know will begin.