Proud of graduates in Cairo

Posted on August 6, 2011 by Global Mission Support

Mark and Linda Nygard are ELCA missionaries in Cairo, Egypt, where Mark is a professor at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo. To support the Nygards,or another of the ELCA’s nearly 250 missionaries, go to

Vevian, Redda, and Fouad, looking happy in the graduation receiving line.

Vevian, Redda, and Fouad, looking happy in the graduation receiving line.

Aug. 5, 2011

Dear friends of the Egypt-Nygards,

On June 10, 22 graduates of Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo (ETSC) walked across the platform of Heliopolis Presbyterian Church to receive their diplomas. Nineteen of them received the bachelor of theology degree and will serve as pastors in the churches of Egypt and Sudan. Three of them were Master of Arts in Theological Studies – our program. Let me introduce you to them and their theses. It will help you reflect on the work that you are part of at the seminary. We are proud of them.

• Redda Thabet Ibrahim is a seasoned pastor in his 40s serving a large church in Assiut. He was interested in Old Testament passages where Israel was commanded to destroy entire towns of those they conquered. To his Muslim neighbors, these verses seemed to suggest that our so-called religion of love also sanctioned violence. His thesis, “Some Explanations for the Command of Yahweh to War and Ban in the Book of Joshua,” addresses ways we can understand this.

• Fouad Shaker Fouad Sedky, an Egyptologist by training, explored what Jewish sources around the time of Christ had to say about an early Old Testament monotheist in a thesis, “Jethro in the Jewish Tradition:  Pagan or Proselyte?” Fouad is a presbyter in Helwan just south of Cairo, and serves the seminary as coordinator of the Organizational Leadership and Management program under me as well as head librarian.

• Vivian Farok Beshara is a pharmacist on the Delta who is fascinated by languages. She has taught Greek, studied Coptic, and mastered English besides her own native Arabic. Only such a person could have used all four languages in a single thesis, “Al-As‘ad Hibat Allah Ibn al-‘Assāl: His Contribution to the Formation of New Identity of Copts in Egypt through His Critical Translation of the Gospel of Luke.” Vevian argues that her 13th century scholar purposely avoided Muslim vocabulary in translating the third Gospel and suggests possible reasons why.

Sincerely in Him,
Mark and Linda Nygard