St Matthew’s Church in Bengaluru – 125 Years of Blessings – The New Indian Express

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Express news service

BENGALURU: For devotees, the cosmopolitan cultural landscape of Bengaluru offers various calm retreats. Numerous church spiers have testified to its appointment with the British Raj, with some institutions dating back centuries ago. One of those quaint but beautiful institutions – St Matthew’s Church – nestled inside the MG Railway Colony on Magadi Road in Bengaluru, enriched people’s lives, while providing them with a spiritual sanctuary during the troubled times. This Protestant CSI church, consecrated on November 10, 1896 by the Bishop of Madras, is part of the history of railways in Bengaluru.

Upon entering the 125 year old church, which was founded by missionaries from the Church of England, a tranquil ambience instantly sets in. An inscription on the stone of the altar reads: “In the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ and in honor of this apostle Saint Matthew. This cornerstone was laid by W. Lee Warner, Esq., A British resident in Mysore, in September 1895. This marks 16 years after the opening of the city’s train station (now KSR Bengaluru City). Documents held by St Matthew’s Church reveal that it was erected at a cost of Rs 4,800 to Rs 5,000 through public subscriptions. The Mysore government provided the land which will be jointly owned by the Bishop of Madras and the Archdeacon.

Prayer and promise

During all these years, the church has been a beacon of warmth, guidance and comfort to its faithful, who have sought its blessed light for generations. The faithful reiterate the emotional connection they share with the church and the positive impact it has had on their lives. E Vijayan, a retired senior RTO officer, says, “I have been visiting this church for over 30 years now. The best times of my life have been my visits to St Matthew’s Church itself. Spirituality aside, brotherhood, brotherhood and the bonds it instilled in me taught me so much.

“My first memory of church goes back to when I was four or five years old. I am a third generation member of my family with my paternal grandfather JS Gideon being the first. My grandparents have been a member here since the 1940s. Growing up here meant learning Sunday School songs as children and adolescents, nourishing ourselves spiritually through the word of God, and allowing us to face the world as children. than adults. The church is a big family and we are all united, through thick and thin, ”says Ailwyn Gideon, construction consultant.

Likewise, Priscilla Dawson, member of the Congregational Committee, adds: “This is where my children were baptized and learned everything. This church is a family to me. Meanwhile, St Matthew’s has been singularly successful in having five female pastors who run its affairs over the years. “We have wholeheartedly accepted women as heads of our church for a long time. We have 76 CSI churches in and around Bangalore. None of them or any of our other churches in Karnataka had five women appointed pastors, Reverend Salome Joshua also serving a second term, ”says RG Rajkumar, her secretary.

The list of pastors highlighted in the administration office at the entrance has these names: Reverend Nirmala Vasanthakumar, Reverend Florence Deenadayalu, Reverend Salome Joshua, Reverend Shanthi Anandaraj and current Reverend GS Shalini.

Rajkumar adds that the church is open to everyone, not just railway workers. “He has his own choir and is popular for his service. Most of those who attend the 8:30 am-10am Sunday service come from other parts of Bengaluru, ”he says. About 300 people can attend the service seated inside, and even outside on a television screen. “The pandemic has popularized online worship among our visitors. Currently, online and offline worship is done simultaneously, ”adds Rajkumar.

The bishop of the central diocese of Karnataka, Pastor Prasanna Kumar Samuel, honored his 125th birthday last month – a milestone for the church, which is part of the city’s religious heritage.

INTERESTING FACTS

The church bell was cast in the railway workshop, where the pews and stalls for the clergy were also made. The lectern was presented by Edith and Walter Newman in memory of their daughter, Doreen

The register records two occasions when the church was broken into and its property stolen

During Christmas in 1917, young people from the railroad district would walk around singing and pick up

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