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CHURCH MISSIONARY SOCIETY ARCHIVE
Section IV: Africa Missions

Part 14: Egypt, 1889-1949

The Anglican Church in Egypt grew as a partnership between the missionaries and the British expatriates who had built churches and formed small congregations in Cairo and elsewhere. These groups came under the jurisdiction of the Anglican bishop in Jerusalem. However, by 1908 Llewellyn Gwynne, a CMS missionary, had been appointed assistant bishop of Khartoum.

In 1920 Egypt and the Sudan were made into a separate diocese, with Gwynne as bishop until his retirement in 1947. The Egyptian membership of the Anglican Church was small because CMS preserved its original 1818 intention not to proselytise the Coptic or Evangelical churches but to aim at the evangelisation of the non-Christian population.

Cairo was a strong centre with not only schools for boys and girls but with the renowned Old Cairo Hospital which opened in 1889 under Dr Frank Harpur. In 1905 a book depot opened in Cairo. Its most famous publication was Orient and Occident, a magazine in Arabic on religious and general subjects, begun by Douglas Thornton and W H Temple Gairdner. Its circulation spread far beyond Egypt and it was still being published in the 1980s. Thornton died in 1906 and Gairdner continued on his own until 1923 when Constance Padwick came as his assistant. All three considered Christian literature work an essential way to advance evangelism in a country of ancient culture and wide literacy.

Part 14 begins coverage of the papers for the Egypt mission covering the years 1889-1934 and consists of Letter Books for 1889-1934 and Original Papers for 1890-1922.

The Letter Books for 1889-1934 contain copies of outgoing correspondence from headquarters in London to missionaries. They have an index arranged alphabetically by missionary giving dates and the relevant page in the volume. A wide range of topics are covered including the need for more recruits; lists of books purchased for the Cairo CMS Library; circulars re missionaries' private reading and Bible Study; copies of correspondence with the Board of Foreign Missions of the United Presbyterian Church of North America; letters to the missionary D M Thornton re the policy of the mission towards Moslems and the relationship with Coptic Christians; instructions to missionaries; rules for the women's conference; circular letter to missionaries engaged in educational work; an appeal for a mission to the Pagan tribes in Southern Sudan; circulars re the probation and relative status of missionaries and the recall of missionaries from Palestine and re retrenchment; a memorandum re language schools in missions, a report on the policy of the mission and a report of the Egypt policy sub-committee concerning work in the Northern Sudan.

The Original Papers contain all the incoming papers sent to the Headquarters from the missionaries and the mission secretary. They mainly consist of letters, journals, memoranda, reports, pamphlets and newspaper cuttings. They cover a wide range of topics - letters from missionaries re schools, hospitals, visits to Cairo; grants for Biblewomen work, missionary salaries, illness of missionaries, desire for new missionaries to be sent out; letters re legal matters concerning the CMS school in Cairo; notice of a CMS conference in Cairo; details on plans to do missionary work among the Arabs of the Sinaitic Peninsula; letter from Westminster asking the Secretary in the mission to set up a medical mission at Suakin because of the famine in the Sudan; extracts from an article in "The Muahttan" re the state of the famine, prices and punishments meted out for wrong doings in Sudan;reports on the state of the mission, the work of Biblewomen in Cairo; balance sheets of expenditure for the mission; photos of orphaned children; extracts from General Haig's letters describing his visit to Sunakin in the Sudan to see the starving children.

There are letters from Rev F A Klein re grants needed, the need to strengthen the mission and the appointment of new teachers; a pamphlet A Plea for Egypt by Dr F J Harpur detailing the need for more missionaries, Biblewomen and native assistants; extracts from a medical missionary's journal of a visit to Beni Suef; discussions on whether to make Cairo the headquarters of the medical mission; a report by the missionary Jessie Bywater on the cost of living in Cairo; a description of a sea journey to the Egypt mission by the new missionary, Dr Frank Laird; a report of the medical mission with a statement of accounts; call for more itinerary work to be done; a vivid description of a visit to people in their own homes by the missionary, Miss Jenny Ellis; internal discussions on the appointment of a new headmaster for the school; complaints that the lady missionaries have too much influence in the mission, This evil must be remedied and the female element put back into its former proper position..

Included also are descriptions of the work of the American missionaries; resignations of missionaries due to ill health; minutes of the Finance Committee; report of an itineration to the Fellaheen women by the missionary Eliza Bywater.; discussions re the opening of a Boys' School in Cairo and the new medical mission library; language examination questions; regulations for new missionaries; newspaper cuttings; Finance Committee minutes and many letters from the missionaries Fred A Adeney, Rev Klein and Dr F J Harpur; estimates for new residences and hospitals; documents in Arabic; estimates for the Cairo female medical mission; money spent on school teachers in 1897 giving a list of the teachers; a letter re workers needed for the Girls' School in Cairo; letter from Dr Harpur re the abandonment of wounded enemy in Omdurman and his desire to help them; news of the Sudan mission.

There is an interesting account of the tribes living in the Upper Nile valley; an appeal for money for a new dispensary; extracts from Annual Letters; ideas on how the mission could be improved sent to the Secretary in London by Rev Douglas Thornton; a paper on the state of the Coptic Church; letters discussing what presents should be given to the African chiefs; plans and drawings for a new mission house; newspaper cuttings from the Egyptian Gazette; a newspaper cutting from The Times re the opening up of the Sudan to European enterprise; plans for the CMS Boys' School in Cairo; an account of a journey up the Nile by Rev Harpur; minutes of the Egypt missionary conference and the women's conference; a detailed report on all aspects of life in the mission by Rev Fred F Adeney; a memo of a meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury; an estimate of school teachers' salaries; a chart of schools visited with descriptions of the creed of the children and whether they are middle, lower or middle class; report of an interview between Rev D Thornton with the Secretary in London.

In the 1903 papers there is an announcement of the death of Rev F Adeney (the secretary of the mission for over ten years) from pleurisy at the age of 38. Rev R MacInnes was to take over as Secretary and a report on the mission is included in this part detailing changes in staff, accommodation, schools, medicine and evangelical work.

There are letters from the new secretary, Rev R MacInnes; a report on CMS in the Soudan with information on Khartoum, Omdurman, native agents, schools, medical work and industrial work; newsletter of the Girls' School at Bab-El-Luk in Cairo; newsletter of the mission; plans for building the Gordon Memorial Mission at Khartoum; report of an interview between the secretary of the mission and the Rev J Kelly Giffen of the American Presbyterian Mission on the Sobat; pleas for funds for the hospital in Old Cairo; newspaper cuttings from The Egyptian Gazette; a report on medical work in the villages with much detail on the customs and life of the local people; issues of Cairene and Fellaheen - the story of the year's work of the CMS in Egypt, giving details on evangelical work, schools, work in the villages and among the women, medical work, finances and lists of subscriptions to the Egypt fund.

Also included are an extract of a paper read by Rev Douglas H Thornton at Oxford on The Educational Problem in Egypt; copies of Sudan Church Notes; women's conference minutes covering education, medical work, itineration, native agents; report of an interview in London between Lord Cromer and Rev MacInnes; a report on the Girls' Training School in Cairo; an account of Rev D M Thornton's death (aged 34) with a brief history of his life and work, reprinted from The Orient and Occident; minutes of the meeting of the Khartoum Station committee giving details on finances, schools and medical work; annual letters of missionaries including Rev MacInnes, Helen Adeney ( describing her work among the village women), A J Toops, Janet Lewis, Lillian Jackson, Zoe Tristram and L Crowther; a newspaper cutting in memory of the first native convert to die, Philibbus Abdullah; an extract from Bishop Ingham's journal describing his travels in Egypt; a proposal to take over the American mission station at Menouf; a press cutting on the Egyptian nationalist; a report of the Special Committee on Women's Work in the Egypt mission; report of the death of Dr B M Pain from meningitis contracted from a patient and a brief account of his work and life; a report of the Cairo Study Centre for Arabic, Islam and Mahommedan Evangelisation; report by Rev MacInnes of an interview with Lord Kitchener when he visited the hospital in Old Cairo; a report on the situation in the schools by Miss A H McNeile, head of the school in Khartoum; an account of the troubles in Egypt and their causes since the end of WW I written by J McIntyre; minutes of the Egypt sub-committee and the women's conference; notes on the estimated expenditure of the Girls' school; history of the Girls' school at Atbara; letter re proposed treaty between Egypt and Great Britain and the need for religious toleration; report on the Cairo conference on Church Reunion attended by the Coptic Orthodox, Greek Orthodox, Syrian Orthodox, Armenian Orthodox Churches and the Presbyterian and Anglican Churches.

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