Friday, 2 December 2016

The Hudson Memorial Church that transcends age

Hudson Memorial church, Bangalore. Karnataka. ECO PACK - WordPress.com

Hudson Memorial church, Bangalore. Karnataka. xplore
 The Hudson Memorial church is an important church in this sprawling city - Bangalore and has its  roots in Wesleyan Mission School and at the Wesleyan Mission church service center (chapel) from 1840 to 1859, taking us right back to the colonial days.

The Hudson Memorial Church, established in 1904 is in 
the prime area of the  city of Bangalore  in Hudson Circle near
the Office of the Bangalore Corporation and Cubbon Park. Named after  Rev. Josiah Hudson, a missionary (not to be confused with Thomas Hudson), Canarese scholar and educationist who  founded  many Canarese schools in the Bangalore Petah, this church is a famous landmark here, catering to a large Christian community. This church like other churches in Bangalore is steeped in history.  Earlier, the church was known as  the Wesleyan Mission Canarese Chapel, and was located in Ganikara Street, Nagarathpet. Only in  1904, the church moved over to the  present location.

During the reign of of Tipu Sultan of Mysore, the large Christian community was in serious trouble and many churches in Mysore region either became non-functional or were damaged because Tipu was under the wrong impression that the Christians were supporting the British rulers whom he despised very much.So, the Christians faced tough time. Christianity was resurrected in this region after the fall of Tipu in 1798 at Srirangapatnam where the Tipu's forces were defeated by the British forces led by Lord Wellesley (4th Angelo-Mysore war).

Wesleyan Wayside Canarese Chapel at the Bangalore Petah (1856) Wikipedia
The earliest record of  Kannada missionaries preaching in the Bangalore Petah area  goes as far back as to 1822 and they were many European preachers from the Wesleyan Mission and London Missionary Society. They began the  the missionary work  around the Petah area by running schools in 1825. It is on the school premises, the church had its  early beginning in a simple way.  The Wesleyan Mission School with a chapel functioned between 1840 and 1849 and many European Pastors looked after them. Services in Kannada languages were introduced later. In 1857, native  Kannada preachers, beginning with Andrew Philip joined the mission. 

New Canarese Wesleyan Chapel, Bangalore (January 1860. en.wikipedia.org
The Wesleyan Mission Canarese Chapel, Bangalore camp up in 1859 in  Gaanigarapet  (now Nagarethpet) and it was not good enough for more people to accommodate. In 1900 one Rev. J A Vanes, a Wesleyan missionary  purchased the present church land on  19 January 1900 for a paltry sum Rs.2000.00, where Hudson Memorial church stands. The church was consecrated on 23 September 1904. The first sermon was delivered by Rev E P Rice of the London Missionary Society. The cost of the building was borne through donations.

This historical church, a stone building having no intervening pillars, was designed by J M Stephen, following Gothic architectural style  that adds grandeur and beauty to this structure. Stephen himself donated the circular colored glasses over the door and the amazing wood works - the communion table, pulpit, reading desk chairs, etc  were made in Karur in Tamil Nadu. The altar is designed in particular fashion that it can be seen anywhere inside the church. The striking feature inside the church is  a big mural of 9.7m x 14.5m, depicting  the nativity scene in Jerusalem.

This 113 year old (considering its present location and structure) underwent major restoration work in 2000. Often referred to as a  Kannada church, the Hudson Memorial Church in Bangalore  lived through eventful days and challenging time from its very inception in 1849 to 1859 (at Gaanigarapet)  and then on to 1904 where the present church (Nagarethpet) was built. The church  saw the days of East India company rule and then under the British crown till India's independence. 

Ref:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hudson_Memorial_Church,_Bangalore