John Kelly Giffen was a Presbyterian missionary in Egypt and Sudan. Born in Saint Clairsville, Ohio, Giffen was educated at Franklin College and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. From the time of their arrival in Egypt in 1854 American Presbyterians had dreamed of helping Egyptian Christians evangelize Africa, beginning in Sudan and then Ethiopia. During the Mahdi’s reign (1881 to 1885) it was impossible to plant a Christian outpost in Sudan, but one year after Kitchener’s victory at Omdurman (1898), Giffen was sent to Khartoum to reconnoiter. When the British government initially refused permission to evangelize among the Muslim population, Giffen and his wife, Grace, established a mission station 600 miles up the Nile at Doleib Hill (1900). A few years later the Giffens returned to Khartoum and then traveled with fellow missionary Thomas A. Lambie into Ethiopia. In 1922, Giffen was elected moderator of the United Presbyterian Church of North America before returning to Sudan. He died in Khartoum.
J. Kelly Giffen, The Egyptian Sudan (1905).
This article is reproduced, with permission, from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, copyright © 1998, by Gerald H. Anderson, W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.