‘Fitting feet’ in Egypt …

BY llewis | 27 January 2015 |

Celebrating 150 years!

The Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo (ETSC) recently celebrated its 150th anniversary. Founded in 1863 with the help of Scottish and American Presbyterian missionaries (at that time Abraham Lincoln was president and the American Civil War in its third year!) it offered training on a ‘floating campus’ that travelled the Nile from Aswan in the South to Cairo in the North. In the mornings students studied; in the evenings they ministered to villages along the river.

But Christianity first arrived in Egypt much earlier. According to tradition, through the Apostle Mark in the early first century. By AD300 Alexandria was one of the great Christian centres. Mark’s first convert in Alexandria was Anianus, a lowly shoemaker, who became a bishop …

Fitting feet in Egypt 300

No wonder then that this picture, taken by Uncle John’s friend Jonathan Lamb some years ago in Derbyshire, UK, felt symbolic to Riad Kassis, also a Langham Scholar, when he attended the anniversary celebrations and reflected on his own preparation for ministry:

I recalled how Uncle John ‘repaired’ my own ‘shoes’ and ‘equipped my feet’ for life and ministry. His expository preaching, books and commentaries, vision for the church, and personal life of humility made him a ‘shoe repairer’ for so many of us, around the world … a ‘top quality’ one!

Nimrod Tica, a current Langham scholar from the Philippines, too responded to Jonathan’s photograph: ‘When the Lord said in his word, “as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace” (Eph 6:15), he knew that some … would not be adequately prepared for the task of bearing the gospel. That is why the Lord prepare servant-leaders, as Dr John Stott was, … who teach men and women how to properly handle the precious gospel of peace.’

Today no less than four Langham Scholars are actively involved with ETSC: Atef Gendy, the President; Hani Hanna, the Academic Dean; Wageeh Mikhail, the Director of the Centre for the Study of Early Christianity; and Andrea Zaki, a Professor and Vice-President of the Evangelical community of Egypt.

Riad Kassis & Wagee Mikhail

Riad Kassis & Wagee Mikhail

And four particular highlights of ETSC’s ministry were celebrated in Cairo:

  • ETSC continues to ‘fit the feet’ of leaders for the Arab church and society
  • ETSC is renewing itself, through a major curriculum review, to respond to the current challenges in the region
  • ETSC is determined to provide Christians in the Arab world with theological education suited to all ages, cultures and education levels
  • ETSC is planning strategic information support for churches in their decision making through its Center for Church and Society Services (CCSS).

In Egypt today, despite stressful social and political flux, the church stands. There are readied feet and they have been fitted with the gospel of peace.

Riad Kassis is the Langham Partnership Director for Scholars

Jonathan Lamb is the former Director of Langham Preaching

by Riad Kassis, Langham Scholars