St. Andrew’s Community Announcements: May 23, 2012

Dear Friends,

Since Pastor Peter’s departure at Christmas, it has been my great joy and privilege to regularly preach and lead worship at St. Andrew’s.  Now it is my turn to move on.

I have been accepted on to the International Master of Divinity programme at a seminary in Thailand and so with some sadness and regret I say goodbye to Cairo, at least for a little while.  For those interested, more details are given below.

This Friday will be my last service at St. Andrew’s and appropriately we celebrate the Day of Pentecost.  We have a living God who always leads us onward through his Spirit, and who continually renews and re-empowers his church to be the body of Christ.

Hopefully, our pastoral search will soon lead to the appointment of a new pastor.  God has his plans for St. Andrew’s United Church of Cairo!

I would like to thank all those who gave me this wonderful opportunity to share in the worship and life of this special little church in the heart of Cairo.

Today and tomorrow we have the first round of voting in the Egyptian presidential elections.  Please pray for a peaceful and fair poll, and that people would have wisdom as they choose the future leader of this country.

I hope you have a great year,

God bless,

Iain

Worship Times

Friday Morning Worship  10am
Sunday Evening Prayer    7pm

Sending Service

As part of our Friday morning service this week, we will formally “send” our brother Iain Baxter, as he leaves to begin his Master of Divinity studies.  The video will soon be available via the church website here.
New Kitchen

Work on completely renewing our kitchen has begun.  This should take about three weeks.  We thanks the generous anonymous donor who made this possible.

Sign up for Assisting in Worship

A new signup sheet for worship assistants has been prepared.  Please sign up to share your gifts with us by reading in church,  providing refreshments or giving the flowers.  Thank you for sharing in our ministry in these ways.

A Personal NoteThe Spirit blows where it will.   Three weeks ago I preached on the story of the Ethiopian eunuch.  The story ends with “the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away…. Philip found himself at Azotus.”  [Acts 8:40]

I feel a little like Philip. Two weeks ago, I was looking forward to a year serving at St. Andrew’s and studying for an MA in Middle East Christianity at the Evangelical Theological Seminary here in Cairo.  I have a very comfortable apartment and nearly twenty years of living in the city I call home.

However, I had hoped to be able to fulfill a pastoral role here at St. Andrew’s, but it slowly became clear that some members of the congregation strongly believed that the pastor must be already ordained and have a Master of Divinity.  These are valid views: training is important and the formal recognition of leadership which ordination confers is a valuable indicator of suitability, however “high” or “low” your view of ministry is.  It became clear that, with the call to pastoral leadership that I believe God has given me, I might need to consider other possibilities.

The Master of Divinity equivalent course on offer at the seminary here is in Arabic so I looked at courses in the UK, US and South Africa, and also Thailand.  I had visited Chiang Mai last summer and knew that there was a Christian theological seminary there, but I was not even aware if they did courses in English.

Looking at their website I found a good and well-regarded International Master of Divinity course and, almost to see what would happen, made an application on the 8th May, filling in their long and detailed application form, including an excellent reference from Pastor Peter.  Like St. Andrew’s, the seminary was originally a Presbyterian foundation and has links with the Presbyterian Church USA, Evangelical Lutheran Church of America, United Church of Christ, and others.

Two days later I was accepted on to the course.  Thai semesters begin in June and November, but the course begins in June.   Three weeks after applying, I will be flying to Thailand, and like Philip will “find myself” in Chiang Mai!

It is nearly twenty years since I went forward for selection for ordination in the British Methodist Church.  They said “not yet, apply again in two or three years’ time.”  Suddenly that calling is reasserting itself.  I have sublet my apartment here in Cairo and rented out my car.  Now I have to pack!  On Friday I will preach my last regular sermon at St. Andrew’s as we celebrate the Day of Pentecost!  The Spirit does indeed blow where the Spirit wills!

Please click on this link if you would like to be kept up to date through my time in seminary.   I would like to subscribe to Iain’s news!   (If you want to subscribe do it now, or you may forget!)

God bless,

Iain

This Week’s Readings

  • First reading
    • Ezekiel 37:1-14
  • Psalm
    • Psalm 104:24-34, 35b
  • Second reading
    • Acts 2:1-21
  • Gospel
    • John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15
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