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:
Through meetings with various leaders of the Synod of the Nile, we took some initial steps to link our two denominations. Since Fakhri Yacoub hails from Egypt, he knew how to connect us with all sorts of Presbyterian leaders. The wheels of denominational partnerships turn slowly, and it may be a year or two until such a connection is formalized, but the wheels have begun to turn.
What need not wait is sister church relationships with particular ECO and Egyptian congregations. We were richly blessed to establish such a relationship for our congregation, St. Giles of Richmond, VA, with the El Talbiya Evangelical Church of Giza (that’s the Cairo suburb near the pyramids).
Sarah and I were privileged to lodge with Pastor Abdelmassih Tadros and his family, and to worship twice with their church. We came home, renewed in our faith and commitment, simply from keeping company with these dynamic believers. And we’re trading ideas with Pastor Abdelmassih about how we can build this sister church relationship—things like establishing a group Facebook page for our churches, partnering with them as they finish their building construction, sending a medical team, welcoming their visits to our congregation, and learning from their long experience in being faithful in a tough setting—something increasingly important for Christians in America.
Who knew St. Giles had a sister church two miles from the pyramids just waiting to be discovered?! We know Who knew. He’s also the One who has much more in store for ECO and the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of Egypt!