The Community of faith at Galloola in the Passara area of the Uva region
St. John’s Church, Galloola
In the mid-19th century, with the introduction of the “trade economy”, the central hills of the Island of what was then called Ceylon became the centre of the economy of Sri Lanka. The main reason for this was the tea industry which began to flourish in this area due to the favourable geographical location and climate of this picturesque part of the country.
To sustain this industry the British colonial government brought Tamil people from South India, and these people gradually settled in this area with their own cultural identity. Although many who had this migration were ethnically Tamils who were religiously Hindu, there was a small group of people who belonged to the Christian faith.
Where the administration was concerned, the British colonial government first of all used Kandy, the last Kingdom, as the headquarters of all the activities. Gradually with the invention of the Nuwara Eliya valley certain activities were centred around Nuwara Eliya, which gradually became known as “Little England”.
The Anglican Church in the mid 19th century looked after the spiritual activities of their believers from Nuwara Eliya and gradually expanded their activities to Badulla valley in the Uva region in the same era.
Then on the 25th of April 1857, St. Mark’s Church, Badulla, was consecrated by the Rt. Revd. James Chapman, the 1st Bishop of Colombo. In 1926 St. Peter’s Church, Lunugala, was built through the activities of the Badulla mission. In the 1940s this mission was extended to the Passara area, and in 1949 St. Barnabas’ Church, Passara, was dedicated on May 10th by the Rt. Revd. Archibald Rollo Graham Campbell, the 8th Bishop of Colombo.
With this humble beginning, today in the Passara area there are five churches with active congregations, namely St. Barnabas' Church, Passara, St. Peter's Church, Lunugala, Christ Church, Mahaduwa, St. John’s Church, Galloola, and the Chapel of the Good Shepherd, Batawatte.
Faith Community at Galloola
Members of this Anglican faith community first of all (from the 1920s) worshipped in Lunugala and Passara; later some people worshipped in Mahaduwa as well. In the late 80s this small community began to develop its own identity, with permission granted by the Roman Catholic Bishop of Badulla to use the church at Madolsima for their worship. After worshipping in the Roman Catholic church for about 15 years they shifted their place of worship to a recreation centre in Galloola, as the majority of faith community lived in and around Galloola.
At the end of the second millennium, with the permission of the Manager of the local tea plantation company, they once again moved their worship, this time to an abandoned muster shed at Galloola. While they were worshipping in this muster shed the adjoining land behind this shed became available for sale. Then through the Archdeacon of the area the arrangements were made by the Incorporate Trustees of the Diocese to buy this land to build a church for this community.
In mid 2017, through the tireless efforts of the Area dean and the vicar of the parish, along with a technical officer from Badulla, the construction of the new church was launched with the contributions of three main donors and the support of many others.
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.
In this church with 40-45 families, there is a vibrant Sunday school with more than 50 children from the faith community. They regularly meet on Sundays to sustain this future generation spiritually in the Christian faith with Gospel values. The Mothers’ Union of this parish comprises more than 25 mothers who are actively involved in the parish and elsewhere. The Youth Fellowship of this community is part and parcel of the Church of Ceylon Youth movement of Uva Deanery and belongs to the Youth Movement of the Diocese of Colombo.
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.