St. Luke's Church, Deniyaya
St. Luke's Church, Deniyaya
Date of Consecration
1895 - 10 - 16
Galle Archdeaconry
Revd. Joseph Johnson

Church of Ceylon Southern Province in the Matara District, Deanery of Galle. St. Luke’s Church was consecrated for the poor estate labourers who attended this parish 0n 16.10.1895. This is the only Anglican Church between Galle and Rakwana.

At that time European and English people helped to build this Church for the people of Henford estate Deniyaya. Under the Talawakelle Plantations Limited  to work estate people helped to build this Church given by the superintended of estates to promote moral and religious welfare of the Tamil plantation immigrants from South India. They started a school for 42 native agents under 4 European superintendents. Next came the Sinhalese from the Maritime Provinces who have a stronger love of gaining 1841-1843. Thousands of people were employed on the estates. They generally left their homes six months at a time and then soon engendered as much independence as was to be found in the Kandyans. This source of labour became died from southern India stopped forward to fill up the vacancy occasioned by the cessation from labour of the sons of the existence of the Tamil Coolie Mission with which Rowlands was temporarily connected in consequence of the breakdown of Rev. S. Hobbs, the head of the mission. He is very closely connected with the fame that Ceylon acquired as a coffee producing country. One of the Secretaries of the CMS The Rev. W. Knight who had come out to Ceylon for the purpose of inspecting the whole mission Murdoch get at once to touch with Knight and the idea at once occurred to them that the Tamil Catechists might brought over from Tinnevely to minister to the scattered bands of Tamil Christians, and at the same time, to evangelise their fellow countrymen.

TCM extension to Sabaragamuwa in 1900, Ceylon which Became a British possession in 1796 was one of the first fields to wh8ch the fathers of the CMS turned their eyes. It was not until 1817 that the mission was commenced among the Sinhalese and Tamils and the Tamil Cooley Mission was begun in 1855. There were six catechists in the mission field in Sri Lanka.

Murdoch went over to India and saw Tinnaverly Mission. At Peneivilci he addressed a missionary meeting and called for volunteers for the work in Ceylon. Eight responded of whom six were chosen as pioneers of the new venture.

The evangelistic work consists mainly in using opportunities allowed by the courtesy of the planters of speaking for 15-20 minutes to the coolies when they assembled in parade ground at 6.a.m. and again in the evening when the retired to their huts known as lines. Wherever faithful work is done backed by godly life, conversions are not wanting.

I told three years ago in the annual report that a high caste woman in Deniyaya was baptized after 30 years among the Christians while her husband still remained in India. Her husband confessed to Christ lately and was baptized with the name of Stephen on new year’s day by Rev. J.D. Welcome who was in this parish.

Acquiring Church land

This was the chief event of the year towards strengthening our work here was the acquiring of about an acre of land as a free gift from the Henford Estate co. Deniyaya. This land where our church had been built 30 or 40 years ago is attached a small burial ground. This is also the only church we have between Galle and Rakwana, although missionary work started her more than 50 years ago. Nobody thought of buying land for the permanent use of expression of our work. Worship in this church. Rev. J.D Welcome is the first parish priest of this church. This was from 1918-1933. Earlier the Church had visiting priests. This was followed by Rev. W.P. Kumaraswami in 1945. From 1950-55, Rev. A.C. Durairajah worked in this parish. After that in 1961-64 Mr. Sam Jonathan worked as a Catechist. Rev. Isaac Abraham worked here in 1966, Rev. Augustine Philips assisted this chapel from Rakwana. In 1967 Rev. A Chinniah assisted this parish In 1970-1974 Mr. D.G. Asirwatham worked as a catechist. Later Rev. J.D.B.R Daniel was the Vicar.

In 1974 John Isaac worked as a catechist. In 1980 Mr. Alexander worked as a catechist. After that in 1982 Ven. Patrick Fernando worked as a Vicar. Rev. A.C. Coilpillai, Mr. H.P.D Jayewardene was a Catechist in this parish.

In 1989 S.I. Balakumar worked as a priest in this parish. In 1989-1994,  Rev. Arthur Joseph. In 1994-1996, Rev. J. Vethamuthu, in 1997-1998, Ven. Patrick Fernando, 1998-2000 Rev. D.K. Balakrishnan, Rev Charles David in 2001. In 2002, Rev. Christie Joseph and in 2004, Rev. Jehan David. At present Rev. R.J. Dharmaraj is working in this parish as Vicar.

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Contact Details

Postal Address
St.Luke’s Church, Handford Estate, Deniyaya, Sri Lanka

bishop of colombo rt revd dushantha rodrigo


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