Despite studying architecture, Dina felt that her interest and talents lay more in music, and so she became a music teacher, and I am sure her enthusiasm has inspired how many of the children. However, the idea of studying theology at the Seminary was one which kept coming back to her. She had worked with the youth at her church, who often asked complicated questions about God and their relationship with God. She thought that a theology degree may give her the answers! Four years on, she realises she has even more questions, but has also discovered far more about herself, about God and about other people. She is grateful for the experience of being at the seminary and touched by the genuineness and faithfulness of the people she has encountered here. Because of her job, she has taken classes in the evening, which is an option at the Seminary, and to her delight, she graduated at the end of May 2016 with a Master of Arts in Theology degree (M.A.T.). Not only that, but she did so well that she was encouraged to apply for a scholarship to Princeton in the States. She was successful in her application and will study Christian Education, in the hope of using what she learns to good effect in Egypt. Her scholarship to the States is slightly complicated by the fact that she has become engaged to Amir, who also graduated this year with an M.Div. (their picture was on my last post) and who will be a pastor in a big congregation in Alexandria. However, they will get married once she returns from Princeton, and she will become a pastor’s wife in Alexandria. However, on my short acquaintance with Dina, I can see that she is an incredibly gifted person who will make a real impact wherever she will find herself.
I asked Dina about the challenges faced by women in the church. None of the main denominations in Egypt, including the Synod of the Nile, ordain women as ministers, but it has been an issue in the church for some years now. While the rural areas remain deeply conservative, it is a different story in the cities, where women can lead worship and preach and offer pastoral care, and it is widely accepted. So, the ordination of women … it will happen, but the only question is when.