By Keith Hill, ECO’s blog
Two weeks ago Fakhri Yacoub, Brian Stewart, my wife, Sarah, and I, had the privilege of representing ECO at the 150th anniversary of the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo. That was the event which occasioned our going, but our agenda was much broader—to build relationships with Presbyterians in one of the three nations ECO has selected for our global focus. More on that below, but first, some surprising “who knew?!” discoveries from our trip:
- There is a mega-church just one block off Tahrir Square (the famous scene of the revolutionary demonstrations), and it is Presbyterian! Several thousand people worship at the Kasr El Dobara Evangelical Church each Sunday, and many of them are seekers.
- The Egyptian Bible Society has a wide reaching network of stores and ministries that provide the scriptures and study materials across Egypt. Several of their stores were burned during the recent revolutions, but they are still going strong, and are supported by Coptic Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant Churches!
- The Evangelical Presbyterian Church is the biggest Protestant denomination, and it is thriving! Our ECO Essential Tenets track very closely with their commitments.
- The Egyptian Presbyterians also match (and far outdo!) our commitment to planting new churches. They have planted 22 churches in the last ten years in the Cairo Presbytery alone!
- They are especially intent on planting churches now, for in a true Romans 8:28 manner, the recent dual revolutions brought not only persecution and struggles, but also the broadest governmental permission to build church buildings that they’ve had in many years. So as we say in the West, “they’re making hay while the sun shines.”