Noah Park and Esther Shin, a married couple, serve as professors at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo. Noah teaches New Testament, and Esther teaches Christian education. The seminary, a ministry of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Egypt, is one of a handful of seminaries in Egypt that trains future Protestant pastors. Presbyterian missionaries founded the school, and it graduated its first class in 1863. Its 240 students come from throughout the Arab world to prepare for service in churches in their home countries.
While most Egyptians are Muslims, Egypt’s Christian tradition reaches back to the apostolic era. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) celebrates more than a century and a half of ministry in Egypt and its strong partnerships with the country’s Protestant churches. Presbyterian World Mission also works in a variety of ways with the direct inheritor of Egypt’s oldest Christian tradition, the Coptic Orthodox Church. The Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Egypt encompasses eight presbyteries, several programmatic councils, and approximately 300 congregations throughout the cities and villages of Egypt. The military government of Egypt that came to power after the Muslim Brotherhood fell in 2013 has afforded new opportunities to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Egypt. It has given land to the church for the building of new church facilities and significantly eased the process to obtain building permits. This is unprecedented in the history of Egypt since the Arab Islamic conquest in the 7th century. Church leaders see this as a God-given opportunity to start new churches where none exists.
Noah Park and Esther Shin Profile
Noah and Esther appreciate the strategic importance of the Evangelical Seminary in Cairo and the opportunity to equip ministers for service across the Middle East.
“The Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo is the hub of Christianity in the Arab world for the training and equipping of church leaders,” Noah says. “It is with great joy that we accept the call to live and learn with Christian brothers and sisters in Egypt, sharing what we have graciously received in our lives.”
Noah and Esther spent several years in parish ministry before beginning service. Noah was senior pastor of Palm Springs Korean Presbyterian Church in Cathedral City, California, for eight years, and Esther served as Christian education pastor at Community Presbyterian Church of Cathedral City for five years.
Both entered congregational service after completing doctoral degrees and view their call to service and theological education in the context of their vocational pilgrimages. “We were both called to ministry when we were very young,” Esther says. “Through our journey in education and ministry, God has led us to be convinced of our calling to service.”
While their primary responsibilities will be in the classroom, Esther and Noah say their ministry will not stop there. “Since theological education is not simply about information or knowledge, we will be involved in Christian communities in and out of the seminary, interacting with sisters and brothers,” Noah says.
Noah earned a doctorate in New Testament and a master’s in biblical languages from the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He holds a master’s degree in divinity from San Francisco Theological Seminary.
Esther received a doctorate in Christian education from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, Virginia, a master’s in religion and psychology through a joint degree program of the Graduate Theological Union and San Francisco Theological Seminary, and a master’s degree in divinity from Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Seoul, South Korea.