27 January 1908 Death of Canon Kelk, long-serving London Society minister in Jerusalem #otdimjh

Kelk's house in Jerusalem

Arthur Hastings Kelk, vicar of St Stephens, Leeds, former Theological Tutor of Malta Protestant College, joined CMJ in 1878, aged 42. He served in Jerusalem 1878-1904, London 1901-1904, Leeds 1904-1908. He was Canon of Cana in Galilee.


Gidney writes about Kelk’s retirement and passing:

Canon Kelk’s long tenure of the Jerusalem mission came to an end in May 1901. He had held the post 
for twenty-two years, a longer period than any previous incumbent, during which there were 199 Jewish baptisms in Christ Church. It was a time of increased effort, greater earnestness, and satisfactory progress in every way: the old Jewish hostility had lessened.


The schools had done excellent work, and there had been very few young Jews in the House of Industry’ who had not become Christians; and efforts amongst the Jewesses had received an impetus, owing to the opening of a Home, of which we spoke in Chapter LVI.

Canon Kelk was the recipient of a gratifying presentation, in the form of an illuminated address and a pilgrim’s staff, from the Hebrew Christian community of Jerusalem, who expressed their deep regret at his departure and their sense of his faithfulness and sympathetic ministry.

kelk book

Canon A Hastings Kelk, whose health had been failing for some months, died on January 27th, 1908, at the age of 72 years. This was a great loss to the Society in whose service he had been for thirty years, at Jerusalem (22 Years), London and Leeds. He had offered himself over fifty years ago, influenced by a visit paid by the Rev. W. Ayerst to Cambridge, where he was then an undergraduate. He subsequently held curacies and the living of St. Stephen’s, Burmantofts, Leeds,, until 1878, when he was appointed to the Jerusalem mission.


His labour there and in London has already been described. He was an earnest Christian man, an evangelical Churchman of wide and generous sympathies, and an able preacher and speaker. He died in harness, as he greatly desired to do, and was mourned by a large circle of personal friends, and fellow- workers, one of whom wrote:

burmantofts 2

“His death is a great loss to the mission. It has been such a blessed time while he was over it. He knew the Jews and the needs of the work so well, and his firm, tactful, kindly control of the workers has been very helpful to them.”


We do not find a picture of Kelk, yet learn he had interests in music, botany and other spheres. Does anyone have a photo of him?


Prayer: Thank you Lord for the work of this devoted and long-serving clergyman, who has not received the recognition he deserves, but leaves a lasting legacy in his life, interests and ministry. May You raise up others to follow in his footsteps, learn from his example of diligence and humility, and be a blessing to your people Israel. In the name of our Messiah we pray. Amen.

Sources and works by Kelk:

The Singing of the Psalms and Canticles to Anglican Chants. For small town and village choirs (Church Music Society… by Arthur Hastings Kelk (1925)

Te Deum laudamus in F (Wood and Sons. Wood’s Collection of Glees, etc. No. 93) by Arthur Hastings Kelk (1899)

kelk book

Artifact: “Flowers Plucked in Those Holy Fields” Specimen Book

Size: 4.5 x 6.5 x .5 inches

Date: Early to mid-1900s

Significance: Flowers have been dried and pressed for centuries to be kept as botanical specimens, but collecting such specimens became especially popular in the Victorian era. This book is a collection of nearly twenty plant specimens from the Holy Land. It is an interesting object, especially considering the condition of the flowers.

About the book: The words on the cover of this book, “Flowers Plucked in Those Holy Fields,” matches the title of a specimen book arranged by Rev. A. Hastings Kelk of Christ Church, Jerusalem (Anglican), and printed around 1900 by the Office of the London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews. (Click here for a blog entry that has some photographs of the Kelk book.) The book in CHI’s collection was perhaps a companion book for a person to press their own plants and flowers when traveling to the Holy Land. The pages have the specimens along with handwritten notes as to what it is and where it was found.

Flowers/Plants (Names and locations as noted in book)

  • Grasses — fields near Jerusalem (Image 1)
    • Red Anemone — Jerusalem (Image 2)
    • Rock Plant — Mount of Olives
    • Puff Ball — Bethlehem
    • Cyclamen — rocks near Jerusalem (Image 3)
    • Marsh Marigold? or Large “Marguerite?” — Jericho
    • Adonis Pheasant’s Eye — Mount of Olives
    • White-striped Crocus — Jerusalem (Image 4)
    • Red “Everlasting” — Galilee (Image 5)
    • Blue Chick Weed? — outside the wall of Jerusalem
    • “Vetelies[?]” — fields around Jerusalem
    • “Bride’s Crown” White Everlasting
    • Vine Leaves — Bethlehem (Image 6)
    • “Madonna” Crown Flower — Nazareth (Image 7)
    • Palestine Scabious — Galilee
    • Coranella[?] — Valley of Jehoshaphat, Jerusalem
    • Flax — fields around Jerusalem

There are also two postcards with pressed flowers attached. They are not identified by name, but both are noted as from Mount Carmel.

About richardsh

Messianic Jewish teacher in UK
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