Just last week I read the news that rev. Menes Abdul Noor has passed away on the 14th of this month. He had reached the age of 85 tears.

Recently I read a book on his life, written by Naiim Atef. Since 1976 rev. Noor headed what is now the largest protestant church in the Middle East, the Kasr el-Dobara Evangelical Church, in Cairo (Egypt). The membership of this church is over 8,000 members.

The purpose of this biography is to show God’s work in the life of His vessel. And Noor is this vessel. He came from a Coptic family, that is extensively described, just like the family of his wife. The writer not only delves into the history of Noor and his wife, but also into the history of Egypt. He tells us about the covenant of Umar (7th century), with its restrictions for christians. Also the reign of Muhammed Ali (1805-1849) with an equal status for all its citizens, is mentioned.

The biography covers the younger days of Noor, his studies at secondary school and at the theological seminary in Egypt. At the age of 20 years he was ordained to be a pastor . The next year he got married and the couple saw even beyond the borders of Egypt. For some time he lectured at St. Paul’s Theological College at Limuru, Kenya. He also got the opportunity to study in the United States. After returning from his studies he was not allowed by the government to leave the country till 1970.

Rev. Noor has been a prolific writer and broadcaster, next to shepherding his onw flock at the church. At his church there is a strong ministry among drugaddicts, there is a sports ministry, a leadership ministry and family values are brought to the attention of its membership (and a wider audience as well).

The year 1981 was tough, for it became known that rev. Noor was on a death list of radical Egyptians, but in the end no harm came to him.

Eventhough the writer delves into the history little is said about the position of a Protestant church in a muslim country. One of the things that has been written is about the building permission for the church, given to the church by King Faruk in 1944. The building was that big, that the government decided to put a government building in front of it and a mosque next to it.

There is some repetition in the book and in some ares I would have liked some more indepth study of the man and his context.

Naaim Atef – A pastor from Egypt. Stories from the life and ministry of dr. rev. Menes Abdul Noor –  no date

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I enjoy reading about Africa. New books. Old books. By African writers. By non-African writers. Novel. History. Travel. Biographies. Autobiographies. Politics. Colonialism. Poetry.

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