Kalutara Methodist Church

Kalutara Methodist Church
Kalutara Methodist Church (Photo credit: Google Street View)

The Methodist Church in Kalutara (Sinhala: කළුතර මෙතොදිස්ත පල්ලිය) is located on the wayside of Kalutara-Beruwala road near Velapura Vidyalaya in Kalutara town, Sri Lanka.

The history of the Methodist Church in Sri Lanka dates back to the early 19th century (Melton & Baumann, 2010). The Methodist Bishop Thomas Coke (1747-1814) who hoped to open Methodist missions in the East Indies, set sail for Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) on 30 December 1813 with six other missionaries including William Ault, Benjamin Clough, George Erskine, Thomas Hall Squance, William Martin Harvard, and James Lynch. However, during the voyage, Coke died and was buried at sea (Melton & Baumann, 2010). The six others, except for Harvard (he remained in Bombay, India due to family circumstances but arrived in Sri Lanka later), arrived in Galle on 29 June 1814, six months after they started their journey and one year before the fall down of the Kingdom of Kandy.

Kalutara was visited by Lynch and Harvard in 1815 and they addressed a large gathering of people there with the help of the Kachcheri Mudaliyar (MCC, 1964). The second visit to Kalutara was made by the Wesleyan Baptist along with C.M.S. missionaries later (MCC, 1964). In August 1817, W. B. Fox came to Kalutara as a missionary and with the support of English Government Officials he could extend the mission from Panadura to Kosgoda (MCC, 1964). By that time, there were seven missionary schools in the Kalutara area with more than 400 students (MCC, 1964).

Fox was succeeded by John Mackenny who could start the work of building a new Chapel and a Mission House (MCC, 1964). The chapel was completed and open to worshippers on 28 January 1821 (MCC, 1964). In 1827, John Daniel Gogerly became in charge of the Kalutara mission and in 1839, William Hardy was appointed for that position (MCC, 1964). A little later, the English missionary was withdrawn from Kalutara and Ceylon ministers were placed in charge of this circuit (MCC, 1964). By the 1870s the old Chapel erected during the time of Mackenny was in a bad condition. Therefore, a new Chapel was constructed at the present site and it was opened for public worship on Good Friday in March 1877 (MCC, 1964).

1) MCC, 1964. Methodist Church Ceylon: Jubilee Souvenir 1814-1964. pp.45-46.
2) Melton, J.G. and Baumann, M. eds., 2010. Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices, [6 volumes]. abc-clio. p.1868.

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This page was last updated on 11 May 2023

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