Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Colonial Lalbagh English Methodist Church, Lucknow

Lalbagh English Methodist Church.Lucknow. Churches
Lalbagh English Methodist Church.Lucknow. The Lucknow Observer

 It was in 1856, the Methodist Episcopal Church from America started mission in India in the colonial days. When William Butler came from America the Methodist Episcopal Church began its work here in the same year.  He selected Oudh and Rohilkhand to work in and, having failed to get residency  at Lucknow, began work at Bareilly. The first War of Independence - Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 interrupted the work at Bareilly, but in 1858 Lucknow was occupied and Bareilly re-occupied and the work of the Mission started afresh. Methodist Churches were established in cities including Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Kanpur and Bangalore in the late 1800s

In 1870 on the invitation of James M. Thoburn, an acknowledged leader in the Mission, evangelist William Taylor was invited to India to hold special revival meetings. Upon his arrival here,  he started his work at Lucknow, and subsequently went to Kanpur. In 1873 the churches established by William Taylor were organized into the "Bombay-Bengal Mission." In 1876 the South India Annual Conference was organized, taking in all the territory outside the bounds of Northern (upper) India.

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Lalbagh Methodist church in front of Dayanidhan Park and adjacent to Noor-Manzil Psychiatry Centre also goes by the name of Lalbagh English Methodist Church. Near by also lies a church called Lalbagh Methodist church where  the services are held in the local language -Hindi.


This colonial church had a humble beginning with a small congregation in 1870. Later necessity arose to have a separate church, for which donations and public  subscriptions were made. The work began in 1875  when  pastor J.H.Masmor was in charge of  the parish.The major part of the contributions came 
from the local members and also from foreign
missionaries.  After completion of the church in 1877, this venerated place of worship had a unique distinction of having its first sermon by none other than  famous Christian preacher William Taylor. As it happened to be an English church, its pastors were mainly Europeans. The first Indian to become a pastor was one William Jeffrey (1942-1944). Subsequently most of the pastors were Americans.
One Rev. Kuruville Chandy,  from Kerala, was appointed as pastor. Having  served the church for over 20 years he left the church due to differences of opinion with the Church authorities.
 
On the church premises, there is a separate residence for the pastor and it was constructed in 1894 in the north of the church. There is  an additional building called Duncan White hall in the North-East part and it is being  used for Sunday school and other small religious and social programs. It was named after an Anglo-Indian member of the church who donated a large sum for additional construction works. 


Constructed in the Gothic style, in the shape of a cross in the East-West direction, the main entrance is  in the eastern direction, besides, there are three doors for entry. The sloping portico gives an impressive look; in the facade, the three -storied vertically tapering tower has a steel cross. One can see a steel cross suspended near the pulpit through a wire. The choir of this church had a  good reputation.

The Lucknow city area has other Methodist churches and whenever they faced financial crunches, in the 1950s and 1960s,  the members of this church were generous and helped  them tide over their difficult periods by way of donations through 
Home Mission Fund of the Lucknow Conference. Thanks to the members whose membership is restricted to 70 to 80 families. Through their munificence  the building of St. John Methodist church was  came up in 1968 (Sector 15).  The church is under the administrative control of the Lucknow Conference.

http://lucknowobserver.com/lalbagh-methodist-church/