Beseeching the blessing

Uttam Singh

Central Methodist, as evident with its name, is a protestant Church under the episcopal area of Methodist Church in India, Lucknow Regional Conference. It is located on Cantt. Road between Odeon and Shubham Cinema halls. Adjacent to it are Lalbagh Girls’ School and Emma Thompson School. This Church was established in the year 1859 and Rev. Joel Janvier was the first pastor of this Church. Since then 24 pastors have served the Lord and have been instrumental in preaching the teachings of Bible to those who come here for prayer. The present pastor is Rev. Dr. Herbert Able, who is very enthusiastic and active pastor and is leading the Church very well. The Church is known for one more specific reason. Dr. Stanley Jones, one of the pioneer missionaries who surrendered his life to Jesus in this Church and a memorial plaque mentioning the fact is inserted on the inner wall of the Church. Dr. Jones is the one who had introduced ‘Christian Ashrams’. Dr. Stanley Jones Ashram at Sat Tal is very famous. Rev. Jaswant Rao Chitamber, who once served at this Church, was also the first Indian Bishop of any protestant Church. His memorial tablet can be seen in this Church.

Central Methodist Church is one of the biggest Churches in the capital city. The others being St. Joseph Cathedral, Hazratganj and All Saints Garrison Church, Cantonment. The building of the Church is very beautiful and can house more than 2500 persons at a time. Church building is painted with light grey color, which is decorated with dark blue borders. A huge cross is affixed on its roof at the main entrance. A few years ago while the number of devotees increased, the Church committee decided to build a balcony in the Church, stairs of which are from right side of the main entrance. It was purposely done so that in case, few disciples come late for offering their prayer, can directly go upstairs without disturbing others. The Church houses a huge nave and two wings. Its altar is also very huge and beautiful. A three-side railing is installed at the altar for the purpose of kneeling down and taking Holy Communion. The vestry of the Church is also very spacious with a big table and chairs around for the purpose of Church’s committee meetings. The Church bell is installed in a tower at right side of main nave.

Central Methodist Church has always been known for its wonderful choir. A platform at the left wing is built for the purpose of choir. The CONTATA (Christmas Carols Service) of this Church is beautifully organized every year, enriched with old and new hymns. Renowned persons in the field of music such as Late Mr. Paul and Late Mr. Carlton Ram have been the leaders of this choir.

The Church has established several ‘Masihi Satsangs’ in different areas of the city in the houses of their members. Devotees gather in weekdays in these ‘Satsangs’ and offer prayer and devotion for their spiritual development and the betterment of mankind. The Church is also known for its ‘Dawn Service’ and evening procession on Easter. This procession starts every year from this Church and goes up to St. Joseph Cathedral, Hazratganj. Pastors and congregation of all the Churches take part in this combined procession to witness the resurrection of Christ. Every year, Church celebrates a ‘Golden Age Day’ wherein it honors the senior members and recognizes their services to the Church and the society.

Writer is a Bank employee and deeply interested in the cultural history of Lucknow

(Published in The Lucknow Observer, Volume 1 Issue 11, Dated 05 February 2015)

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