Author/translator of 100 books, Abdul Noor used literacy campaigns and Bible-based preaching to spread the gospel.
Menes Abdul Noor, who served as pastor of Kasr el-Dobara Evangelical Church in Cairo, Egypt, for over three decades, died on Monday, September 14, from Parkinson’s disease. He was 85.
Under his leadership, the 8,000-plus Presbyterian congregation became the largest Protestant church in the Middle East.
Abdul Noor authored and translated over 100 books, and taught at the Haggai Institute and Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo for more than 25 years. He is survived by his wife, Nadia, his son Farid, and his daughter Violet. He had six grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
His memorial service Wednesday was attended by officials of the Orthodox, Catholic, and Anglican churches, as well as a representative of Al-Azhar, the foremost Muslim institution in the Sunni world. It was also broadcast live on the SAT-7 Arabic satellite television network.
Kasr el-Dobara is located in the government sector of Cairo near Tahrir Square. During the 2011 Egyptian revolution, the church opened its doors to care for injured protestors and others needing shelter. Over the years, the church has hosted evangelists Billy Graham (audio), Luis Palau, and Reinhard Bonnke.
In a warm tribute, Len Rodgers, director emeritus of Evangelicals for Middle East Understanding, wrote, “Menes was my pastor. The church grew and continues to grow because of his leadership and vision. Egypt has lost a great treasure.”
Abdul Noor’s grandfather and father were also pastors in the Presbyterian Church. But over the course of his life, he broke new ground in holistic ministry, outreach, and leadership development.
“He was a renowned evangelist who could reach all levels of society,” said Atef Samy, Abdul Noor’s assistant pastor since 1991 and currently director of outreach ministries for the church. “He could challenge the intellectual while being approachable by the simple.”
Samy lauded Abdul Noor as one of the first pastors willing to minister to people of all religious backgrounds. And he poured himself into his pastoral team, giving each one room to grow and develop the church beyond what he could do alone.
“He empowered us while he was still at his own personal best,” said Samy. “This does not happen in the Middle East.”
In an unpublished interview with CT in January 2008 in Cairo, Abdul Noor shared some of his life story. As a teen-ager, he dreamed of a career as a scientist.
“My father was a pastor,” he told CT. “My grandfather was a pastor. And I wanted to serve my people in a different way.”
But at his boarding school in Upper Egypt on Sunday, December 16, 1945, he was attending a soccer game, when he heard a call to ministry:
“I heard a voice calling me by my name. You be a minister, a pastor. I didn’t hear the voice inside my ears. It was from outside. I looked around. Nobody was there. I heard the voice. I hated it. It was breaking my dreams for science.
“I heard this for the second time. At the corner I, heard it for the third time. Now I knew that God was talking. I was brokenhearted. I knelt down. I said, ‘God, you are calling me to be a minister. I do not like it. But if I disobey you I will be a sad person. I will never succeed in life because I’m against your way. I will say yes, and you give me joy.’ ”
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SOURCE: Christianity Today
Timothy C. Morgan, and Jayson Casper in Cairo, Egypt