New photo found of our church – through this BBC website. As this site is about WW2 stories, I assume this picture dates from 1940-1945. That would be interesting, as it shows that the present stone above the main entrance – about the first stone being laid by Allenby – has been installed after WW2.
St Michael’s first stone was laid by the British Field Marshal Edmund Allenby (1861–1936, photo right) on Easter Day, 12 April 1925. Allenby is famous for his role during the First World War, in which he led the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in the conquest of Palestine and Syria in 1917 and 1918. He was arguably one of the most successful British commanders of the First World War.
The story of the Anglican Church in Heliopolis began in 1912, with services in the Palace Hotel, now the Presidential Palace. When an Australian Army Division came to Heliopolis, they set up a small hut for worship outside the Heliopolis Sporting Club. From 1917-1923, premises were rented. Chaplains from All Saints Cathedral and Army Chaplains would lead the congregations.
In 1923, Rev Arthur William MacMichael (1885-1960, photo herunder) became the first resident chaplain. In 1925 land was purchased, and on 15 November 1925, the church was consecrated. High Commissioner Lloyd George was present, as well as many Army and Air Force officials.
The name St Michael and All Angels was given due to the close association of Heliopolis with air traffic, especially the RAF. Bishop Gwynne preached from Ezekiel 11:16 at the consecration:
Thus says the Lord GOD: […] though I scattered them among the countries, yet I have been a sanctuary to them for a while in the countries where they have come.
And even now, so many years later, St Michael’s still offers a ‘sanctuary for a while’ for anyone who needs a break from his or her hectic life. Our church and its compound offers that quite place, but ultimately, the sanctuary is our Lord Jesus Christ himself; St Michael’s community is a pointer to Him who said: ‘Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’
We hope to slowly dig up more about the history of our church, and we will share our findings on this website. Have patience with us. At this point, we can at least point you to two old brochures we dug up in the archives of our cathedral:
2011: new start
In 2011, St. Michael’s has made a new start with English worship services. Why? This is what our mission statement says:
St Michael’s Anglican Church exists for the worship and the enjoyment of God. It is a community of people who desire to follow Jesus Christ as Lord and who invite others into this community of faith.