January 23, 2022, 4:03 pm

Mustakim Nibir

2022-01-01 20:11:08 BdST

Church of Bangladesh going to celebrate its 200 years of journey

Mustakim Nibir: Saint Thomas Church is an Anglican Church which is also known as The Church of Bangladesh. The church premise was in an area of lush greeneries with the famous Bahadur Shah Park at a stone’s throw distance on the south. The north-south axial Nawabpur Road/Johnson Road, the most important commercial street connecting the old part of the city with the new, is on the west and separated the area from the court, Bank, DC’s office and Jagannath University buildings across it. In fact the church overlooking the greens is a major focal of the city Centre in the nineteenth century.This church was built in 1819, now it going to celebrate its 200 years of journey. and inaugurated by Bishop Reginald Heber of Kolkata (Calcutta) on the 10th of July in 1824 while he was on a visit to Dhaka. The church is serving as a cathedral church since 1951. It is said that the convicts from Dhaka Jail gave their labor to build this church as well the church of Bangladesh continues the history of the movement of Protestants into India early in the 19th century. The Protestant community in what is now Bangladesh has been dominated by the Baptists, but the Church of England and the Presbyterians were also active. In 1947 Bangladesh became the eastern province of bifurcated nation of Pakistan, but in 1972 it officially separated as an independent nation.
In 1970, the Presbyterians and Anglicans
in Bangladesh united (as part of the general union of Christian in Pakistan) to form the Diocese of Dhaka of the Church of Pakistan. The creation of Bangladesh involved a civil war and the development of harsh relation between two countries. Although officially continuing as a Diocese of the Church of Pakistan for some years, the church in Bangladesh began almost immediately to function as an autonomous organization which gradually emerged as the independent Church of Bangladesh (St Thomas Church). The church is led by most reverend Paul S. Sarkar who in January 2003 became the third bishop of the church of Bangladesh. The 71 parishes are divided into 2 dioceses. The church has approximately 15,600 members (2005). It has been a member of the World Council of Churches since 1975 and functions as part of the larger worldwide
Anglican Communion.The photo was taken by Mr. Fritz Kapp in 1904.The attraction of this building, built after the style of east churches, with a square clock tower with arch windows on its walls. A small porch leads to the entrance of the church supported on four columns which are of perpendicular gothic design on top of the entrance. Small square parapets are used on the roof. There are two columns at the back of the rectangular nave which leads to a pulpit through an arch. The pulpit is rectangular and has a brass cross on the wall at the back. The altar is constructed of wood and also has a brass cross on top of it. The location of the altar is at the east end. There are elegant curved chairs for congregation. A stone font on the back of the nave. The walls of the church are adorned with stone tablets commemorating some of the members of the church. The roofs of the verandas are set upon sloppy korhikath.
The rectangular hall room is very much tidy and two piers with grooves are easily visible surpassing other things and these piers do not carry any weight. The roof used wooden battens on iron joists; the floor have tiles. The delicate stone and brick works of this white plastered building are still as immaculate as it has been for nearly two centuries. Even most of the thick teak furniture, altar, and ablution bowl (for baptizing) in marble are still unblemished and in good working condition. However, the open colonnades around two sides of the nave (central axial hall) were walled up later. In 2005 the church authority has undertaken a massive renovation of the building.Though the church is small in size, it is one of the most attractive ones in Bangladesh. The rectangular flat-roof steeple rises above the roof in two stages.

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