COPTIC CHURCH

A Presbyterian national church founded through the efforts of the United Presbyterian Church in in 1854. The first Presbyterian to emphasized bible teaching and preaching. The churches are about 250 in number besides having another 200 meeting centers for prayers, with a community of 250,000.

These churches have 340 pastors, most of them having earned their B.D. degree in theological sciences from the Theological Seminary at Cairo established in 1863. Some serve in educational areas, others in social services. Some deal with youth and others work in various administrative capacities. The majority are pastors.

On 5 February 1863, the Egyptian Presbytery decided to establish a theological school to prepare the national pastors. It started with nine students. Among those students was Tadrus Yusuf, the first Egyptian Evangelical pastor, who completed his studies in 1871. In 1885, the theological school was located in Cairo.

The present seminary building was founded in 1927. Up to that time, 520 pastors were graduated from the theological seminary. In 1967, the evening department started, and through it lay men and women were able to join the seminary. The first woman graduated in 1970. There is a specialized library of about 20,000 books.

The work spread from to the Sudan, and the first Egyptian pastor who went there was Jabra Hanna. He established the Church in the Sudan in 1900. The Presbytery of the Sudan was part of the Synod of the of the Evangelical Church in Egypt until 1965, when it became independent. The Synod of the Nile sent to South Sudan the first Egyptian missionary, Dr. Suwaylim Sidhum.

The administrative structure of the church consists of the basic unit that is “the local church,” the Synod of the comprising eight presbyteries. The moderator of the Synod is elected annually, and the secretary of the Synod is appointed for three years.

The activities of the church include bible publishing, education (sixty schools), social work, health care (hospitals in Cairo, Tanta, and Asyut), and Sunday schools. The church owns the largest Christian publishing house in the Arab world. The Evangelical church has been a member of the World Council of Churches since 1963 and the Middle East Council of Churches since 1974.

SAMUEL