About Noah Park’s and Esther Shin’s ministry
Noah Park and Esther Shin, a married couple, serve as professors at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo (ETCS). Noah teaches New Testament, and Esther teaches Christian education. ETCS, a ministry of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Egypt, is one of a handful of seminaries in the Middle East that trains future Protestant pastors. Presbyterian mission personnel founded the school in 1863. The seminary located in Cairo has two academic centers, one in Minya/Upper Egypt, and one in Alexandria. Though most of its 350 students are from Egypt, some come from elsewhere in the Arab world, including Syria and Sudan, to prepare for service in churches in their home countries. ETSC also recently launched a distance learning program for Arabic speakers around the world.
While most Egyptians (90%) 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 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 400 congregations throughout the cities and villages of Egypt.
The government of Egypt that came to power after the Muslim Brotherhood fell in 2013 has afforded new opportunities to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. 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. Despite on-going issues as a minority group in society, church leaders see this as a God-given opportunity to start new churches where none exist.
About Esther Shin and Noah Park
Noah and Esther appreciate the strategic importance of the ETCS and the opportunity to equip ministers for service across the Middle East and North Africa. “The Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo is the hub of Christianity in the Arab world for the training of church leaders,” Noah says. “I believe God will use our graduates for rebuilding the church in Middle Eastern countries. It is our joy and privilege to live among Egyptian sisters and brothers and share what we have graciously received in our lives.”
Esther and Noah were involved in congregational ministry for several years before beginning service in Egypt in 2016. Both are ordained Presbyterian ministers. Noah served as senior pastor and Esther as Christian education pastor in Southern California. They found 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 and especially during our summer teaching in Nigeria, God has led us to be convinced of our calling to service.”
While their primary responsibilities are in the classroom, Noah and Esther say their ministry does not stop there. “Since theological education is not simply about information or knowledge, we try first to learn through our relationship with real people, hearing their stories and participating in their communities,” Noah says.
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, Korea.
Noah earned a doctorate in biblical studies 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.