by Kathy Melvin | Presbyterian News Service
LOUISVILLE–Rev. Dr. Michael Parker has been named Presbyterian World Mission’s interim coordinator for Europe and the Middle East.
Since 2012, Parker has been an associate for ecumenical partnerships in Egypt, serving at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo (ETSC) as the director of graduate studies and a professor of church history.
“We are grateful for Mike’s offer to change his planned time in the US to help us make a smooth transition,” said Rachel Yates, World Mission’s associate director for programs. “Mike is under joint appointment with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and their courtesy in allowing this short leave from service at ETSC is also deeply appreciated.”
Parker says he enjoys teaching at ETSC. “It’s a dynamic place,” he said. “It’s one of the best things happening in the Middle East.” The seminary was founded in 1863 by US Presbyterians. The main campus is in Cairo and there are two branch campuses, in Alexandria and Minya. Enrollment is about 350, making it the largest Christian seminary in the Middle East. He said the seminary has flourished under the leadership of Dr. Atef Gendy, dramatically increasingly enrollment and the number of Egyptian professors with doctorate degrees.
Although he finds it somewhat incongruous for an American to be teaching Egyptian church history in Egypt, he has found the students to be highly receptive and appreciative of his efforts.
Parker replaces Amgad Beblawi, who is discerning another call. Parker expects to be in the position for about three months or as long as it takes to find a replacement for Beblawi. In that role, he will assist the 27 mission co-workers currently serving in Europe and the Middle East and relate to the church’s partners in the region.
Born in Los Angeles, Parker attended the University of California at Los Angeles, graduating with a double major in political science and history. After graduation he joined the Presbyterian Church and attended Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. He later moved to Maryland and eventually decided to enroll in the graduate program at the University of Maryland, where he earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in American cultural and religious history. In 1994 he was ordained to the ministry of Word and sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
After ordination, Parker served for five years as a missionary in Sudan, teaching church history at the Nile Theological College in Khartoum. After a one-year study leave, he studied French in Burkina Faso and then began teaching history at the Faculté de Théologie Protestante de Butare in Rwanda.
Parker has published three books: The Kingdom of Character: The Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions, 1886–1926; Children of the Sun: Stories of the Christian Journey in Sudan; and John Winthrop: Founding the City upon a Hill. He also translated from French to English Jacques Blocher and Jacques Blandenier’s The Evangelization of the World: A History of Christian Mission.
Currently located in Louisville, Parker can be reached at Michael.Parker@pcusa.org.
You may freely reuse and distribute this article in its entirety for non-commercial purposes in any medium. Please include author attribution, photography credits, and a link to the original article. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDeratives 4.0 International License.