The story of our beginnings maybe traced to the “house Church” at the home of Mr. R.B.W Jayasekera who lived at Station Road in close proximity to the Railway Station. Services were held from April 1964 in the drawing room of the home by the Rev. G.A.F De Silva who was then a Deacon and Assistant Curate to the Rev. F.W. Daundasekera, Vicar of Christ Church, Dehiwela. With the ordination of the former to the priesthood in December of the same year arrangements were made to hold services in a prayer room on Galle Road, again at the residence of Mr. R.B.W Jayasekera. The Bishop of Colombo dedicated the place for public worship, but with the increase in numbers it was decided to build a hall which could be used as a Church and school. In pursuance of such a decision the chapel and school hall was built.
On the transfer of the Rev. G.A.F De Silva, the Rev. L.O Toussaint was appointed in June 1930 as Assistant to the Rev. J.G.N, Seneviratne, Vicar, Christ Church, Dehiwela. Services were held regularly on Sundays and Weekdays in a small room adjoining the hall which was used for classes by the Girl’s school with the sanctuary screened off. On Saturday’s members of the parish willingly helped in arranging the hall for the Sunday services, in the “Chapel of the Ephiphany” as it was then known. The need for a Church, where the members of the parish could drop in at any time for prayer, was greatly felt and in 1937 a site for the building of a church and parsonage was purchased by the Bishop of Colombo. A Church Building Committee was formed and an appeal for funds to build a church was made. Designs for a church were also submitted to the Church Architectural Committee, but as the money collected was insufficient the project was not undertaken.
The Rev. Wickremasinghe took charge of the parish in October 1848. With his gift for organization and experience in raising funds to build the Church of St. Mary and St. John’s, Nugegoda, he set out with great enthusiasm to collect money for building a new church. But in February of the following year he was called for higher service, and the parish was plunged into great sorrow and dismay.
The Rev. S.D. Bartholomeusz(1949-1955) was appointed in place of Rev. Percy Wickremasinghe. During his time a new design for the Church was drawn up and a Building Committee as well as every member of the parish was filled up with Rev. Bartholomeusz’s buoyant enthusiasm and determination to build a Church with no memorial plaques to distract the eye of the worshipper. Money did not come in easily, but prayer and trust in God helped him and the Building Committee in their work. The Archdeacon of Colombo, the Ven. A.J Kendall Barker, blessed the site and cut the first sod on 29 October 1949 and the foundation of the new Church was laid on 5 March, 1950. Thanks to the sincere cooperation and hard work by members of the building Committee, especially the late Mr. C.W De Alwis, who was in charge of the supervision of the building, the Church was consecrated for worship during the Octave of the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi on 6 October 1951, by His Lordship the Rt. Rev. Archibald Graham Rollo Campbell and given the name “The Church of St. Francis of Assisi.”
The Wardens then addressed themselves to the task of building a Vicarage as the Annex to “Ivanhoe” was across Hotel Road, and which served as a Vicarage, was too small and inconvenient. The foundation stone was laid on Sunday, 26 July, 1953. Mr. C.W De Alwis undertook to supervise the building which was completed for habitation before the end of the year.
Rev. Dougals Bartholomeusz was formally instituted and inducted as Incumbent on 6 January, 1955, the Feast of the Epiphany.
During the period of the Rev. A.J.C. Selvaratnam(December 1961-June 1965) a Holy Communion Services in Tamil was started once a month on a Sunday evening.
The long awaited parish hall was built and declared open on 1 May 1966. In February 1974, a beautiful Belfry was built with the contribution of one parishioner. At the end of 1975 a tiny cottage was built near the Vicarage as quarters for the sexton.
- Postal Address
- 80, Hotel Rd, Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia, Sri Lanka.
- 0112 -712 472