Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Colonial Osmond Memorial Church of Kolkata


Osmond memorial church,formerly known as the Wesleyan Methodist Church, Kolkata cnicalcutta.org

Kolkata, having been the capital of British India in the early period, had numerous churches, catering to the needs of Europeans working for the British company and later for the British Crown. The city has some of the oldest English as well as Scottish churches, not to speak of Portuguese churches.

Osmond Memorial Church founded in 1868, was   earlier  known as the Wesleyan Methodist Church located on  Bondle Road, Kolkata. An evangelist and a social worker by the name of Walter Osmond, a Methodist minister came to Kolkata in 1864 at the age of twenty three to serve the poor and needy.  For nearly thirty years he was engaged in evangelical work in and around Kolkata and at the sometime attending to the needs of the poor in true Christian spirits. After his demise, this Church was named after him in recognition of his yeomen services to the causes of the poor, thus upholding the preachings of Jesus Christ.  This Church is a dedication to the memory of  Osmond, a selfless, god-fearing evangelist.  This Church has four congregations,  comprising the Bengali congregation at Taltola, Kamardanga Chapel and Ballygunge Church at Bondle Road and the Santhali congregation at Taltola.

Among the congregations,the Santhali congregation of Osmond Memorial Church has a unique history.  Kolkata, being the state capital of West Bengal, is home to  many Santhal people from different parts of West Bengal as well as from other parts of the country, who have come here to make a living. Many  also come here to seek higher education. Invariably most of them are Christians.  Surprisingly  the very idea of the Santhali Church was conceived over a cup of tea by
one Mr. Hembrom from North Bengal. He owned   a spectacle shop near Prachi cinema in Sealdah; his youngest brother Mr. Koomar Hembrom along with Sri Barnabas Murmu and Sri Dinesh Murmu, decided on 21st December, 1958 to hold the Christmas celebrations right here in Kolkata at one place, as the Santhal Christians usually observed festivities only in their native places.  Thus they took out a singing and dancing group (jale party) on the  morning of 24th December, 1958 ) from the residence of Mr. Hembrom and Mr. Koomar Hembrom at Park Court, thus began the Christian celebrations by the Santhalis of Kolkata.
On the day of Christmas they went to Emmanuel Chapel on C. I. T. Road where they attended Church.  Later it was mutually fixed that Santhali Church service would be held in Emmanuel Chapel and  and  Santhali Pastors who  would conduct the service of this Santhali congregation.  Up to 1961 this service continued.  In 1966 February, it was decided that the Santhali service should be established in Osmond_Memorial_Church; the tradition continues even today.

Ref:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osmond_Memorial_Church