According to the Rev. W. R. Fremantle, subsequently the revered Dean of Ripon, who visited Jerusalem at this time, there were about 12,000 Jews in Palestine, of whom 5,000 were in the Holy City. He spoke very highly of the labours of Nicolayson, and his four Hebrew Christian fellow-workers.
On February loth, 1840, the church was commenced on the old foundation of a high wall built on the solid rock of Zion, and by the end of March the building was raised to the first story. Shortly afterward, the work was interrupted by the death of Mr. Hillier, the surveyor and architect, who had recently been sent from London to conduct the building operations: whilst hostilities between the European Powers and the Viceroy of Egypt compelled the British Consul, and almost all the mission staff, to quit Jerusalem on September 8th, Nicolayson and his family only remaining.
Progress was now stopped for a time.
This was the beginning of the building of Christchurch, Jerusalem, a landmark in the history of CMJ, and a historic presence within Israel since before the modern State came into being. Every traveller, tourist and resident would take note of it. Jewish believers in Yeshua would find a welcome, and modern Israelis today would be fascinated by this beautiful, Anglican building in the heart of the Old City.
Prayer: Thank you Lord for the vision and commitment that the founders of Christchurch had to see a place of worship honouring the Messiah built in Jerusalem. Like all of us, they were creatures of their time, with their particular (here Anglican) ways of doing things. Yet today their legacy breathes the life of faith into the heart of a city of many faiths. May our faith similarly speak of the love of Yeshua for his people Israel and the city of Jerusalem, in our day and in our own particular way. In Yeshua’s name we pray. Amen.