The Strength in the Heart of Lucknow
Lalbagh Methodist church is situated in front of Dayanidhan Park and adjacent to Noor-Manzil Psychiatry Centre. Since there is one more church situated in Lalbagh, about 500m from this on Cantt. road, which is a Hindi church, thus this one is also known as Lalbagh English Methodist Church to differentiate between them. This church is a part of Methodist Church.
Though the congregation was founded in 1870, but the construction of the English church started in 1875 when pastor J.H.Masmor was leading the parish. 80% of the funds were collected from the local members and the rest was organized from foreign missionaries. The church was completed in 1877 in its entire form. World renowned Christian preacher William Taylor gave his first sermon here.
The residence of the pastor was constructed in 1894 in the north of the church. In the North-East is the Duncan White hall which is used for Sunday school and other small religious and social programs. It was named after an Anglo-Indian member of the church. The funds for construction of the same were provided by him.
Being an English church, its pastors were foreigners. The first Indian pastor of this church was William Jeffrey, who was appointed in 1942 and he led the church till 1944 but after him, foreigners, especially Americans were appointed as pastors. No permanent pastors were appointed but in September 1974, an Indian, Rev. Kuruville Chandy, an Indian, was appointed as pastor. He served the church for over 20 years. After that, due to some difference of opinions with the working committee of Lucknow Conference, he was removed not only from the church, but also from the Methodist Church and he established a separate church in Mahanagar with the name of Grace Bible Church.
The members of the church are always ahead in donations. This church has always and from time-to-time donated towards Home Mission Fund of the Lucknow Conference. Not only this, but this church has helped other Methodist churches in Lucknow in times whenever they were in financial problems. From 1951-1955, the wages of the pastor of the church in Daliganj used to be disbursed from this church. In 1966, the works of Methodist in Trans-Gomti region used to be accomplished by the coffers of this church. In 1968, the St. John Methodist church in Indiranagar was established and the financial assistance was provided by the members of this church. As a result, the building of St. John Methodist church was constructed in Sector 15. The financial assistance in district Barabanki is being provided by this church from time-to-time. Since 1990, financial assistance is being provided to a missionary in Andamans who is doing noble work among the fishermen who reside there.
The choir of this church had a distinct reputation till Ms. Satyavati Jordan directed it. It was because of her efforts that an organ was obtained from America. The membership of this church is restricted to 60-70 families but every member is actively participates in all the activities of the church. Currently, the pastor of this church is A.J.Maxton, who lives in the pastor’s residence in the church premises. The prayers in English are held everyday at 9.30 am in the winters and 8.30 am in the summers.
The church is constructed in the Gothic style, in the shape of a cross in the East-West direction. The altar is in the west direction and the main entrance door is in the eastern direction. There are three doors for entry, over which there is a sloping portico. In its front northern area is a three-storied tower, the top of which is pointed and on which a cross-made of steel is mounted. The upper portion of the tower broke in the storm of 1970s, which was reconstructed. Small crosses are mounted on the middle region of the roof.
In the front of the altar, a steel cross is suspended near the pulpit through a wire. The cleanliness and simplicity of the church is commendable. The church lies under the administrative control of the Lucknow Conference.
Writer is a student. Reading and writing are his passion.
(Published in The Lucknow Observer, Volume 2 Issue 15, Dated 05 June 2015)