The HKIS Origin Story
Despite initially feeling like an outsider when he joined HKIS in 1967, Eric has maintained a deep and very personal connection to HKIS and a strong desire to preserve and share the story of how HKIS and Church of All Nations (CAN) came to be for generations to come: He grabs every opportunity to share their story and bring HKIS’s founding to life — see the story below!
Joseph and Dottie Mache with their dog Gretchen in front of the original HKIS building during construction.
Joseph with his three sons, Paul, Eric '68, and Robert '71.
The Maches were not your typical expat couple; Eric’s father, businessman Joseph Mache and mother, future HKIS art teacher Dorothy (Dottie), arrived with their three children in Hong Kong in 1960. Joseph was a World War II veteran who narrowly escaped death on several occasions which made him a devout Christian. Every Sunday, the Maches would take the long trip from their home in Repulse Bay to Kowloon Tong (via vehicular ferry—no tunnels in those days) to attend Lutheran church services.
After several trips requiring most of the day, Joseph approached the Hong Kong Conference of the Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod with the idea of a church in Repulse Bay. To shore up support for the idea, the Maches and their friends polled their community to see if others wanted church services closer by, which they did. With the blessing of Dr. H.H. Koppelmann, who oversaw Lutheran mission work in the region, they held church services in the Reading Room of the Repulse Bay Hotel from March 4, 1962 with Reverend Lenard Galster as Pastor.
A letter welcoming HKIS from the Hong Kong Education Department in July 1967.
Following the success of this arrangement, Joseph and Dottie met with other church members, Mr. C.S. Hung, Mr. Thomas Yamashita, Mr. Paul Li (father of alumnus Vincent Li ’73 member of HKIS Board of Managers), and resolved to build a church through a land grant from the Hong Kong government for the church in conjunction with an American school. Dr. Mel Kieschnick, the Head of the Christian Educational Committee, who oversaw Lutheran education in Hong Kong, agreed with the idea. In April 1963, the would-be founders proposed the idea of a school to the Director of Education in Hong Kong. The inaugural school board was formed and from 1963 to 1965 was composed of Mr. Joseph Mache, Dr. Mel Kieschnick, Mr. C.S. Hung, and Rev. Lenard Galster.
The official groundbreaking for HKIS took place in April 1966, and the new Headmaster Mr. Bob Christian arrived. In September 1966, the school opened in an apartment in Chung Hom Kok, and a year later HKIS opened the doors of its own school building for the first time to more than 600 students.
Eric said his father always maintained that, “Church of All Nations and HKIS were clearly an excellent example of the Lord at work – it is His doings and no one else’s! Events occurred and things happened that were beyond what even the most optimistic could hope for.”
HKIS's first permanent building
at 6 South Bay Close, currently our Upper Primary School in Repulse Bay on Hong Kong Island.