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In Egypt, church's Nile Union Academy reopens

In wake of revolution, Adventists report new solidarity with community members

In Egypt, church's Nile Union Academy reopens

Karin Edwards (left) celebrates with Egyptians outside the Adventist Church in Heliopolis, Cairo after the resignation of former national President Hosni Mubarak. Edwards, wife of the Adventist Church's president in Egypt, is leading a stress management course for community members recovering from weeks of unrest. [photo courtesy Egypt Field]

Following weeks of national protest and the recent departure of Egypt's president, the Seventh-day Adventist Church's Nile Union Academy reopened Monday, February 21.

The academy is one of two church-run schools that suspended classes last month due to ongoing political unrest in the country.

Alex and Kate Podbrezsky, both teachers at the academy, are reportedly on their way back to the country after an evacuation of non-essential expatriate staff and faculty at the school, local church leaders said.

Egypt Field president for the Adventist Church, Llewellyn Edwards and his wife Karin, both of whom stayed in Egypt during the revolution, said the event has strengthened ties between the country's small Adventist community and its neighbors.

Edwards, who stood outside the Adventist Church he pastors in Heliopolis on the evening former President Hosni Mubarak resigned, said many of his Muslim neighbors approached him, reminding him "this victory was for Christians as well" and "assuring us of their friendship."

The couple prayed together in the church, then joined the crowds, they said. "We stood in awe at what we were experiencing ... the jubilant deafening noise, flags waving, people leaning out of car windows, standing on top of cars and monuments, shaking hands an congratulating everyone around them," Karin said.

"It was surreal," she added.

As Egyptians shape the future of their country, the Edwards are soliciting prayers for a peaceful transition of government that results in freedom for all of Egypt's citizens.

"There are many forces -- internal and external, hidden and open -- who would seek to manipulate the future of Egypt," Edwards said. "Now is the time for prayer for God to ... bring about the freedom that would bless the good people of this country," he added.

In addition to prayers, the Adventist Church in Egypt is also offering practical support for community members who may be affected by the recent turmoil. The church is running a stress management course led by Karin at the church's Healthy Life Center.