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100 Years Ago: A Cathedral for Khartum

17 December 2008

December 24th, 1908.

THE speeches delivered at the recent Mansion House meeting in support of the fund for building a Cathedral Church at Khartum were, it seems to us, unanswerable. Nevertheless, there appears to remain in some minds a doubt whether the scheme ought to be encouraged. We were glad to see in Wednesday’s Times a letter from Father Waggett, which contained a very strong plea for the proposal. Khartum Cathedral, he writes, “will be the principal Church centre for English life in the African tropics. It will stand for that spiritual succour in the maintenance of high ideals of duty which a governing race most evid­ently needs, when it bears heavy responsibilities in a dangerous climate and under strange condi­tions of life.” Moreover, it will be a fitting memorial of the men who gave their lives, whether as soldiers, or as Christian workers, or as ordinary civilians for the work of carrying order and light into tropical Africa. Many people have no notion of a Cathedral, save as an establishment for the benefit of certain well-paid officials whose highest ideal is that of otium cum dignitate. Whether that ideal is anywhere entertained nowadays we are not concerned to consider, but we may affirm, without fear of question, that an office in Khartum Cathedral would be no sinecure, and can with confidence commend this project to the sympathy and support of those who desire to see the advance of the Gospel in the Sudan, a portion of Africa for the redemption of which from dark­ness and barbarism we have made ourselves responsible.

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