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Area coordinator position critical to World Mission’s partnership efforts in Middle East and Europe

PC(USA) seeks individual with thorough theological and ecclesiastical background

by Kathy Melvin | Presbyterian News Service

The Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo is the largest protestant seminary in the Middle East. Pictured is the first ETSC building, built in the 1920s.

The Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo is the largest protestant seminary in the Middle East. Pictured is the first ETSC building, built in the 1920s.

LOUISVILLE – Presbyterian World Mission is actively seeking an individual to assume the role of area coordinator for its Middle East and Europe office.

“We live in a time of increasing conflict between fundamentalists of various religious traditions, an instability in the Middle East related directly to our nation’s foreign policy, and a consequent, rapid decrease in the Christian population in the region,” said Hunter Farrell, director of World Mission. “Thus, the search for an area coordinator for the Middle East and Europe comes at a most critical time in our church and in our nation. Our prayer is that God would move the right person to step forward to provide leadership ‘at such a time as this’”.

Amgad Beblawi, left the position in June after eight years, but gave World Mission nearly two months’ notice in order to get a head start on filling what they consider a critical position. Farrell said PMA colleagues, global partners and the many mission partnership networks Beblawi served, miss him.

“I’m grateful to God for the deep knowledge of the complex Middle East region that Amgad Beblawi brought to World Mission and for the prophetic courage that characterized his work with us,” said Farrell. “Throughout his years of service to World Mission, he inspired colleagues and me, often pushing us to consider anew the call to the Church ‘to be a community of faith, entrusting itself to God alone, even at the risk of losing its life.’”

Beblawi built on a long legacy of mission history in the Middle East. Presbyterians have been involved in Syria-Lebanon since the early 1800s. American Presbyterians took the lead in Syria, as they did in Lebanon, in education, healthcare and church development. In 1956, the Mission Society of Syria and Lebanon encouraged and helped develop national leadership in the two countries and the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon (NESSL) was created.

The Rev. Tim McCalmont, pastor of the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant in Cosa Mesa, is an active member of the network and has worked closely with the area coordinator for Middle East and Europe.

“Amgad helped us create a model for our work. He was so accessible to those of us with little understanding and knowledge of the constantly changing situation in the Middle East,” said McCalmont. “I traveled with him there twice. He was always welcomed as a friend and trusted colleague and that is so important because what we do is so relational. His work came from a solid theological and strong ecclesiastical foundation and that will be an essential element as we look to fill this position.”

The Rev. Elmarie Parker, regional liaison for Syria-Lebanon, plays an active role in coordinating with the Middle East and Europe office and accompanying congregations and partners in those areas.

“We have been so very grateful to have worked with Amgad these past two and a half years. He is a long-time and dear friend, so it was extra-special to have the opportunity to share together in the work our Lord is doing through his church in the Middle East,” she said. “We have learned so much from Amgad and appreciate not only his extensive knowledge of the church and context of the Middle East, but his Christo-centric missional passion and commitment to having PCUSA be an active partner in the profoundly transformative and challenging work being carried out by Christ’s Church in the Middle East. It will be equally important to have this role filled by someone who not only has a love for Christ’s Church in the Middle East and the people of the Middle East, but a deeply Christiological and missiologically grounded vision for PC(USA) partnership in this challenging, complex, and diverse region.”

A native of Egypt, Beblawi grew up and was active in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Egypt. He attended Fuller Theological Seminary, but maintained close relationships with the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, the largest protestant seminary in the Middle East. He was there in 2015 when the seminary celebrated its 150th anniversary.

“It’s hard to express in just a few sentences, the sense of gratitude one has towards Amgad Beblawi for the sincere and excellent service we received through him during the years he spent serving the Middle East and Europe,” said Dr. Atef Gendy, ETSC’s president. “I personally enjoyed and cherished the friendship, sincerity and care Amgad always showed to me, the leadership of the Egyptian Church and to all the mission personnel serving in Egypt. Amgad was always available to me, willing to listen and understand our need; and ready to help. Because of his modesty and servant leadership model, we were able to negotiate hard issues and succeeded in handling very critical and delicate matters. Amgad will be so missed and will be remembered by his genuine Christian life and integrity.”

Dr. Tharwat Wahba, professor and chair of the missions department at ETSC, echoed those same sentiments.

“Amgad Beblawi is a sincere servant of the Lord,” he said. “His true love and loyalty to the Lord and the church gives a great example. Through Amgad, many blessings came to the church in Egypt and the Middle East. He worked closely with the local leaders as a partner with servant heart. I pray that the Lord bless him in all his ways.”

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Interested applicants are encouraged to read more about the open position at presbyterianmission.org/who-we-are/work-for-the-church/.


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