The Community of faith at Galloola in the Passara area of the Uva region

St. John’s Church, Galloola

General Introduction

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.

Central Hills

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.

Uva region

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.

 

The church of St.John the Baptist, Koslanda.

ශුඬ. යොහාන් බවුතීස්තතුමාගේ දේවස්ථානය, කොස්ලන්ද.

 

In the tea plantation high lands of Sri Lanka, very often the descendants of the Tamils who were brought by the British in the 19th century to sustain the tea industry, live in communities isolated from the traditional Sinhala villages of those areas. At times this isolation has created tension in those communities creating misunderstandings and disharmony.

In this regard, the community of the congregation of the church of St. John the Baptist at Koslanda is unique. This church community which is a century old, Sinhala and Tamil people have been living in harmony not only accepting and respecting each other but also marrying each other from these generally isolated ethic communities. The Church has given a fertile ground for them to grow in both Sinhala and Tamil cultures by going beyond the barriers created within these communities.

Today this community can be considered as a “model community” where Sinhala people and so called Indian Tamils live in symbiosis by eliminating xenophobia and creating xenophilia to live as human beings created in the image of God the Ultimate reality.

 

St. Stephen’s Church, Kappalturai, Trincomalee

Clergy persons are called to be with people in their troubles and tribulations. In 2008 the Vicar of St. Nicholas Church, Trincomalee visited four war widows and children in an isolated village called Kapalthurai in Trincomalee. Most of these people are of up country so called Indian Tamil origin who have settled in this area. 

Taking the example of their patron saint St. Nicholas the Vicar along with his parishioners  continued to visit them and support them in a humble manner. Gradually this ministry was extended to many war widows and children in the area.  

In the meantime they did not forget to strengthen them with payers and the study of the Word of God.  After sometime this gathering became a house church and gradually they began to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ as a way of life. When they realised that it was necessary for them to have a place of worship one person who had a licence for a land offered it to establish a place of worship for them. Eventually they made arrangements to build a humble place of worship. Up to date this place is used for worship and “physical & mental” feeding of children.

Today this place functions as a sign of hope for the local community and the congregation of this place of worship.

 

The church of Christ the compassionate, Nugelanda, Ampara.

කරුණාවේ කිතු සමිඳුන්ගේ දේවස්ථානය, නුගේලන්ද, අම්පාර.

 

 With the gaining of political independence from the British Empire in 1948 the first Prime Minister of then Ceylon launched an ambitious project to develop agricultural activities in the rural areas of this island in the Indian ocean.

During this era he noticed that due to extensive colonial activities many peasants of agricultural areas had become landless poor people. To remedy this situation he initiated a programme to resettle landless people in other areas with facilities to get involved in the agricultural activities.

Under this programme in mid 50s some people were settled in Ampara area in the Eastern province. Among these people there was a small group of people from a village called Thalampitiya who were ethnically Sinhala and religiously Anglican Christians among Sinhala Buddhist majority who settled in this area called Nugelanda.

With the shifting of identity from their home village to a host village as an ethno-religious minority they have been going through a process of integration and assimilation to retain their integrity and to integrate into local realities of the area. This has been a process of boundary maintenance and change handling to live as an effective entity in the community.

The church of Christ the Compassionate has been a living symbol of their identity to maintain their uniqueness in this area.colonial activities many peasants of agricultural areas had become landless poor people. To remedy this situation he initiated a programme to resettle landless people in other areas with facilities to get involved in the agricultural activities.

Under this programme in mid 50s some people were settled in Ampara area in the Eastern province. Among these people there was a small group of people from a village called Thalampitiya who were ethnically Sinhala and religiously Anglican Christians among Sinhala Buddhist majority who settled in this area called Nugelanda.

With the shifting of identity from their home village to a host village as an ethno-religious minority they have been going through a process of integration and assimilation to retain their integrity and to integrate into local realities of the area. This has been a process of boundary maintenance and change handling to live as an effective entity in the community.

The church of Christ the Compassionate has been a living symbol of their identity to maintain their uniqueness in this area.