Saturday, 11 May 2019

Historical Duff Chruch (1848), Kolkata, India

In the late 18th century and early 19th century lots of Scottish people worked for the East India  company and later for the British Crown. Many of them held positions of eminence in the government and wielded enormous power. To cater to a large section of scotts there existed only one  church in Calcutta - St. Andrews Church or Kirk for the Scottish Presbyterians (1815).  The division of the Church of Scotland  in 1848 saw the establishment of a Free Church of Scotland with ample support from popular missionaries like  Alexander Duff and  his eminent co-workers Further, they ceased to be members of  Andrews Church.  As the necessity arose, a new church came up on 76, Wellesley Square, though much later in 1942.  The Wellesley Church was clubbed with St, Andrews Church.  Later the church  came under the  the Catholics. 
Alexander Duff, 1806 - 1878. Scottish missionary and educationalist,wikipedia 
Alexander Duff (26 April 1806 – 12 February 1878 born in Sidmouth) was  not only a famous Scottish missionary, but also a visionary. He landed in India in 1830 at the request of Scottish general Assembly to spread Christianity in India. His intention was to prepare the young people at grassroots level to face the challenges of life tomorrow. This was to be done by way of moulding the young minds with trust and confidence so that their purpose and action will not go unnoticed in the society. These people, in turn, will take care of the next generation of young people. His vision and action, no doubt,  influenced the middle and upper-middle class sections of  Indian society.  Duff worked in tandem with  highly intellectual and rich people and brought about a change in the realm of education. Much attention was paid to  the poor and marginalised sections of our society.
Duff Church, Kolkata, WB. cnicalcutta.org
On the  Cornwallis Street,   North Calcutta at no-2, Cornwallis, Duff started  in 1848 (apparently in November?) a church for the Christian Bengalis  called ‘Bengali Church’ or Free church. 

Alexander Duff happened to be sole responsible for the establishment of the church. His close  associate Sir. David Ewart (1805-1860) became  the first full time pastor of Duff Church. Ewart was fluent in Bengali. an advantage that stood him in good stead. It gave him a chance to preach in the local tongue. Because Duff was always busy on the go concentrating on his missionary work without getting fatigued.  Rev. Ewart knew very good Bengali and used to preach in the language and made a valuable contribution to the church in the early stages. Unfortunately Rev. David Ewart passed away in Calcutta on 9th of September 1860.

The new church was named Duff Church in February1910 in honor of  Alexander Duff whose contribution in the area of education and Christian services in Bengal  was vast. In 1907, there were only 150 Bengali members and the principal of the Scottish Church College Dr. James Watt  served the church for a long period.
Consequent upon the union of  Church of Scotland  and the Duff Church of Calcutta in 1929, the church got recognition as the main Presbyterian Church. Presetly known as ‘Prabhu Jishu’ Girja of the Catholics.  Mostly English speaking crowd worshipped at this church.
Duff Church,Kolkata, scottish cemetery.  David  Ewart

Legacy:    The famous road in North Calcutta-‘Duff Street’, the popular  Girls Higher Secondary School in North Calcutta -‘Duff School’ and the  historical church on the Easter side of the famous swimming pool Hedua  called ‘Duff Church’ prove  Alexander Duff's close link with the city of Kolkata  that was developed by the British.
 https://cnicalcutta.org/church_duff_church.html