AN ANGLICAN community in Sri Lanka that has been worshipping in an abandoned tea shed is celebrating the building of a church.
About 45 families, including 50 children, are now meeting at St John’s, Galloola, in the Passara area of Uva province, after a fundraising effort supported by the diocese of Colombo.
Christians were among the Tamil people brought from South India by the British colonial government in the 19th century to sustain the tea industry in what was then Ceylon. The diocese of Colombo was founded in 1845 and, in 1857, St Mark’s Church, Badulla, was consecrated by the first Bishop of Colombo. Today, there are five churches in the Passara area.
Over the years, the Anglican community at Gallolla has worshipped in a Roman Catholic church, a recreation centre, and, since the end of the 1990s, an abandoned “muster shed” (where tea leaves are weighed after picking). This year, the construction of a new church began, on land behind the shed bought by the diocese.
“The humble members of the community have been working hard with the construction workers to make their dream of a church of their own a visible reality,” the Archdeacon of Nuwara Eliya, the Ven. Keerthisiri Fernando, wrote last month.
“In this humble beautiful surrounding of Galloola, this community is a sign of hope for the whole area, who shared the gospel values of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ for his glory and for the furtherance of God’s Kingdom in this area of Sri Lanka.”