|Chinsurah , WB. location map . Maps of India|
The Chinsurah Church, located in the heart of the Chinsurah town is an interesting one. Founded in 1825, it was earlier called the Free Church and belonged to UCNI (United Church of North India) before the church union took over under the management of the CNI. In the 17th century, Chinsurah was a Dutch settlement and had a factory in 1656 and later a garrison in 1759. However, in 1825, the Dutch ceded many of their possession in India to the British, in exchange for the British possessions in Sumatra. In this dutch settlement there were three churches to cater to the European community and to spread the Gospel of Christ: The Dutch Church (High Church) does not exist now and Mohosin College Chinsurah was operating from a portion of the land; Chinsurah Church (Free Church), now has become the CNI Church; and Armenian Church (near Magultuli Lane, Chinsurah), which still exists and is being well maintained.
|West Bengal: Dutch cemetry, Chinsurah Church. |
Behind the Chinsurah Emambara hospital, close to the river Ganges, lies the mission property with a pond and a two storied building enclosed in a huge compound. It was bought by the Government for a small sum of Rs. 6,500. Way back in the past, some of the priests and evangelists, both male and female, lived in that mission house. Presently, the Chinsurah Child Development Project is functioning in the mission house. The project is under the Diocese of Calcutta, sponsored by an organisation called Compassion.
Yet another feature of this historical church is its own burial ground that has the graves of Dutch people who lived and died at Chinsurah. Even this day the Chinsurah Church is receiving funds in the form of grants from the Danish Government through the Diocese of Calcutta. Native Christian community members of the Chinsurah Church and of the adjacent area use this burial ground.
An out-station church at Triveni called Triveni Tissues Congregation is functioning under the direction of the Chinsurah Church. Sunday service is held in the residences of various members by rotation and this being due to lack of proper building. The people of Triveni Tissues never fail to attend major festivals at Chinsurah Church. The credit goes to Rev. Samar Bairagi (retired Bishop), former pastor of the Chinsurah Church (1961 – 1970) who started the English service once a month. This was of great help to those who were not familiar with Bengali. All English speaking near-by factory workers attended the English service with their families. Please note: I find it difficult to get a true picture of this historical Dutch church!!
Chinsurah Church,Chinsurah http://cnicalcutta.org