Puliyantheevu Methodist Church (Batticaloa)

Puliyantheevu Methodist Church
Puliyantheevu Methodist Church [Photo credit: Gatewayto east (Google Street View)]

The Methodist Church in Puliyantheevu (Sinhala: පුලියනතිවු මෙතොදිස්ත පල්ලිය, මඩකලපුව) is located near the old Batticaloa Fort in Batticaloa District, 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), 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.

After a little conference held on 11 July 1814, the missionaries decided to split up and travel to different parts of the country (MCC, 1964). Accordingly, Lynch and Squance went to Jaffna, Ault to Batticaloa, Erskine to Matara, and Clough remained in Galle (MCC, 1964; Pritchard, 2016). Harvard who was in Bombay came to Sri Lanka and settled in Colombo. Ault who arrived in Batticaloa started a Boy's English school in a large storeroom granted by the Government (MCC, 1964). However, he died on 1 April 1815 and Elijah Jackson came to Batticaloa as the next Methodist missionary in July 1816 (MCC, 1964). In 1838, the Methodist Church at the present site in Puliyantheevu was erected (MCC, 1964).

1) MCC, 1964. Methodist Church Ceylon: Jubilee Souvenir 1814-1964. pp.36-37.
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.
3) Pritchard, J., 2016. Methodists and their Missionary Societies 1760-1900. Routledge. p.90.

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This page was last updated on 10 May 2023

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