The Native Christian Church in the City of Peshawar has been constructed with a three-fold object: that it might be a place of worship for the Native Christians of that city, a memorial of departed Missionary brethren, and a witness for Christ in an important Muhammadan city. The Peshawar Mission has for some years past endeavoured to carry on its Evangelical labours as far as possible on Oriental lines, and it is in accordance with this intention that this Memorial Church now stands in an Oriental dress. It is an attempt to adapt Saracenic [3/4] architecture to the purposes of Christian worship, the whole building having been constructed by a native architect under the superintendence of the Missionaries. The building is cruciform, and about a hundred feet in length, and will hold at least two hundred people. It is built from east to west, the Chancel of the Church facing Mount Zion (Dan. vi. 10). It is close to one of the chief gates and public thoroughfares of the city.
It is not far from the Mission School known as the Edwardes Collegiate School, and has the Parsonage and Christian Guest House and Library adjoining it.
 The Church is entered by a doorway at the East end, over which is inscribed in Persian (Rev. vii. 12), "Amen. Blessing and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might be unto Him for ever and ever. Amen." Over the South Transept door is inscribed, also in Persian (Psalm viii. 1), "O Lord our Governor, how excellent is Thy name in all the earth." The entrance for women is at the North Transept, on the side of the Vestry and Parsonage, the transept being screened off for Muhammadan women and such Christian women as still veil themselves. Over the interior of the front door is inscribed in Pushto (St. John x. 9), "Jesus said, I am the door: by Me if any man enter in he shall be saved, and shall go in and out and find pasture." A few yards inside the Church is a red cord drawn across the aisle, which separates the Muhammadan and heathen audience from the Christian worshippers. Up to this cord Natives are allowed to enter without uncovering either the head or feet. Facing as you enter is a cuspedor scalloped archway (a distinctive feature of Saracenic style), separating the [5/6] Nave from the Chancel, on which is a text in English, selected by our Bishop (Isa. lvi. 7), "I will make them joyful in My house of prayer," with the two Hebrew words, Jehovah and Eloheem, above. Before the Chancel steps is a handsome brass lectern, presented by Miss Milman, Sir Richard Pollock, and the Rev. E. Jacob, to the memory of the late Bishop Milman, who preached his last Hindustani sermon to the native Christians of Peshawar, and his last English sermon on behalf of the funds of the Peshawar Mission, and whose last public act was the distribution of the prizes to the boys of the Peshawar Mission School. The pulpit is of wood, beautifully carved by Peshawar workmen, and is the gift of the Rev. W. Jukes. On the front of pulpit is illuminated in Hindustani the text (2 Cor. v. 20), "Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God." The small brass pulpit desk was the gift of the late Miss Annie Norman, and the Bible that of Miss Ella Micheson. In the front of the Communion rails is a handsome piece of [6/7] needlework, done by the late Mrs. Annie Freeman, who, with her husband Major Freeman, has been the largest donor to the Church. The Lord's Table was made some years ago by Peshawar workmen for the temporary Chapel, and is handsomely carved. The Chancel is paved with blue and white Peshawar tiles. Surrounding the Chancel apse is a screen of Peshawar pinjra work or tracery, of which it is a very fine specimen, and behind it is an ambulatory four feet wide. The object of the ambulatory is to show the pinjra work, which is a very characteristic feature in Peshawar buildings, and it is also a corridor in which are placed the Memorial Tablets, all of white marble, to the memory of the departed Missionaries. These tablets are to:--The Rev. C. G. Pfander, D.D. 1825-1865; died 1st December, 1865, aged 62. The Rev. T. Tuting, B.A., 1857.-1862; died 27th October, 1862, aged 36. The Rev. Roger E. Clark, B.A., 1859-1863; died 14th January, 1863, aged 28. The Rev. Isidor Loewenthal, M.A., 1856-1864; died 27th April, 1864 aged 38. The Rev. J. Stephenson, 1864-1865; died 23rd December, 1865, aged 26. The [7/8] Rev. J. L. Knott, M.A., 1860-1870; died 28th July, 1870, aged 48. Alice Mary, wife of the Rev. T. R. Wade; died 8th October, 1871, aged 21. And Miss Annie Norman; died 22nd May, 1884, aged 25. Tablets are also erected to the memory of Minnie and Alice, children of the Rev. T. P. Hughes, and of Annie and Rosie, children of the Rev. Imam Shah. A small painted window is placed to the memory of Cyril, infant son of the Rev. W. Jukes.
In the Chancel Screen, above the Holy Table, is worked in the tracery of the woodwork, a Latin Cross. This has been designedly placed as a most Protestant symbol in the face of the thousands of Muhammadans, who with their Quran say (Surah iv. 156), "Yet they slew Him not and they crucified Him not." It being the special design of this Memorial Church to proclaim a "Crucified Jesus" to the Muhammadan world.
In the centre of the west end (the Church facing westward) is a soft-toned and richly stained glass window, presented by Lady Herbert Edwardes in memory of her deceased husband, Sir Herbert B. Edwardes, one of the benevolent [8/9] founders of the Peshawar Mission. On either side of the window are the following texts in Persian (Heb. xiii. 8), "Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever"; (2 Tim. ii. 10), "The salvation which is in Christ Jesus." The brass desk on the Lord's Table was presented by Mrs. Graves (wife of Captain Graves), who laid the foundation stone of the Church.
In the South Transept is the Baptistery, the gift of the Rev. T. P. Hughes. It is specially constructed with Episcopal sanction for the purpose of immersion, and of thus carrying out the rubric of the Prayer Book, which in the case of infants directs that "he shall dip it in the water," and in the case of adults, "shall dip him in the water or pour water upon him." The Baptistery is a pentagonal well three feet deep, the coping of which is of white marble from Lahore, on which is engraved in Pushto (Matt. xxviii. 19), "Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost." Upon the wall of the Transept is the Apostle's Creed in Hindustani, and beneath this the text [9/10] to (Rom. x. 9), "If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus Christ, and shalt believe in thy heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Round the sides of the Baptistery Transept are carved seats of Peshawar work.
The North Transept is curtained off so as to allow Muhammadan women to attend the service. The screens which separate these Transepts North and South were presented by the Rev. C. M. Saunders, and the Rev. A. Bridge, Chaplains of Peshawar. They are of the design common to many of the best houses in Peshawar, and other parts of Central Asia. Beneath the Lectern, and on the Chancel floor, are Persian carpets, the gifts of friends, which add to the Oriental effect of the interior of the building.
The tower of the Church, which is a dome-covered cupola, surmounted by a large gilt cross, is seen from a great distance, and contains a fine-toned bell, which is heard all over the city and neighbourhood, the gift of the late Rev. George Lea, and other friends in Birmingham, some years ago to the Peshawar [10/11] Mission, through the founder of the Mission, Colonel Martin.
The Church is very substantially built of brick, covered with chunam, or Indian stucco. The roof is of corrugated iron, supported by pent beams, screened on the exterior by a high cornice and covered within by a boarded ceiling, which has still to be ornamented. The Church doors are strong and substantial, and of the kind of panelling peculiar to the East.
Adjoining the Church is the Parsonage, an Oriental building on the plan of the houses of Central Asia, with a court-yard in the centre, and an upper-room for visitors over the front verandah. In this house resides the Native Pastor of the Church, the Rev. Imam Shah, a convert from Islam, and his excellent wife, Mrs. Imam Shah, whose zealous labours in the Zenana Mission are well known. There are also guest houses for native Christian visitors, and a circulating library for the use of the members of the Christian Church on the side of the court-yard, facing the front entrance of the Church.
The Memorial Church was first opened [11/12] for Divine service on December 27th, 1883, by a solemn service, conducted by the Rev. Robert Clark, the Bishop of the Diocese being absent in England on furlough. Mr. Clark wrote:--
"I am again invited, this time by the Peshawar missionaries, to visit Peshawar, and to take part in an event the like of which has never yet taken place in Peshawar since it was a city, although it is said to be one of the oldest cities in this part of Asia. I allude to the opening of a beautiful, and perhaps almost unique, Christian Church in the midst of this great city of the Afghans. Well may we now repeat the inspired words of the Psalmist, 'Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give the praise.'
"At noon on the 17th December (the Feast of St. John the Evangelist), the day of the opening, the Church was filled from end to end by a very large and attentive audience. The two transepts were then filled with English officers, amongst whom we noticed the Deputy-Commissioner. One side of the Nave was occupied by Native women and by Native and English ladies; and the [12/13] other side by the men and boys of the congregation, and by the members of the Punjab Native Church Council, who had received a hearty invitation from Mr. Hughes and Mr. Jukes to be present at the opening of the Church, and to hold the eighth meeting of the Punjab Native Church Council in Peshawar. The completion of the Indus Bridge at Attock, and of the Punjab Northern State Railway to Peshawar, enabled them to accept the invitation; and many Native friends from different parts of the province availed themselves of the true Afghan hospitality which our Peshawar hosts so bountifully bestowed on us all.
"Fourteen clergymen, five of whom were Natives, were present, and took part in the service; and in the absence of our beloved Bishop at home, it devolved on me, as Senior Missionary of the Church Missionary Society in the Punjab, by the invitation of the Missionaries, to say such prayers at the opening service as could be taken by an ordinary clergyman. The lessons were read by the Rev. W. Jukes, and by the pastor of the Church, the Rev. Imam Shah. A brief statement of the object of the [13/14] service was made by the Rev. T. P. Hughes, who presented the Pastor with a copy of the Holy Scriptures, in the original languages, and with the sacramental vessels of the Church, which were then reverently placed by him on the Lord's Table. The sermon was then preached by the Rev. Moulvi Imad-ud-din (a convert from Islam), Chaplain to the Bishop of Lahore, from the words of our Lord: "If I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the Kingdom of God is come upon you." (St. Luke xi. 20). The sound of the psalms and hymns swelled loudly and harmoniously through the Church, and the service was concluded with praise and thanksgiving and prayer. The proceedings were very solemn, and verily God Himself was present with His people; and He made His presence felt, even as He had manifested His presence in an unmistakable manner at the first missionary meeting which had been held at Peshawar thirty years before
"For nearly thirty years has the Gospel been preached in the bazaars and streets and the villages of Peshawar city and district; and it has been met with [14/15] scorn and derision and insult. For the last few years the policy of our Peshawar Missionaries has been changed. The efforts which are now made are those of conciliation and friendship within the Church, in the School, in the Hujrah, and the Anjuman (Club). On Thursday last were seen, for the first time in Peshawar, many Native leading chiefs reverently sitting behind the red cord which separated the unbaptised from believers in the faith of Christ, and listening attentively to a Christian moulvie as he preached to them boldly and very plainly the Gospel of Christ. There was no opposition at all; the leading chief of the district was there, and another from Yusufzai, with members of some royal families. A Rajah from the frontier afterwards took his place as a listener, if not worshipper, in the Christian Church. Expressions of approbation and congratulation were heard from Mohammedans and Hindus in Peshawar. 'We serve God in our way,' said they; 'and it is right that you should serve Him in yours.' Services of song and preaching have since then been daily held, and for the first time in the [15/16] history of the Peshawar Mission has a Christian Church been thronged by people who are not Christians, and who are not yet willing to listen quietly to Christian preaching when delivered outside." H.R.H. the Duke of Connaught visited the Church in October last and was much pleased with the building.
To God be all the praise. The chief design in the erection of this earthly temple is the glorification of the Eternal God, and the holding forth of the Word of Life. In no way will it be regarded as a successful effort, unless spiritual stones are added thereto. The first adult baptism within its walls was a Kaffir slave-boy, the second that of an Afghan Muhammadan student from our school. And Mr. Jukes writes that everyday at the daily services there are crowds of Muhammadans and Hindus listening to the reading and preaching of the Word of God, as well as witnessing a devout Christian worship. Many who visit this Church are people from Central Asia, where the foot of the Christian Missionary dare not tread. There is still a debt of L200 upon the Church and Parsonage.
March 26th, 1885. T. P. H.