- Date of Consecration
- 1867 - 03 - 01
- Colombo Archdeaconry
- Vicar (English & Tamil Congregations)
- Revd. Nihal Fernando
In 1857, a piece of land, nearly an acre in extent, was granted by the Government to the Bishop of Colombo, for the purpose of erecting a church. For some years no use was made of the land until the Rev. J Thurstan, Colonial Chaplain in charge of Christ Church, Galkissa and Milagiriya , which was his official designation, but what is described as a “ Beautiful little Church.” It was dedicated on 1 March 1867. This was the beginning of the Church at Thimbirigasyaya.
This Church had no name as such. After the departure of the Rev. Thurstan,* the Church seems to have ceased to serve its original purpose and was used as a Boy’s School.
However, owing to the energy of the two persons, the Rev. G.B Ekanayake(appointed to St. Michael’s Church, Polwatte about the year 1888) , and Mr. T.S Grigson, and also the liberal response made by the Secretary for the Propagation of the Gospel Committee, this approach was rolled away.
Mr. Tomlin, Consulting Engineer, P.W.D having repeated that the side-walls and the roof of the Church were sound, the work of repairing the remainder, relaying the floor, and the general refurbishing was taken in hand under the immediate supervision of Mr. Grigson, who had obtained from the S.P.G Committee a grant of Rs 1,000. By end of March 1895 the work was finished, and 4 April was chosen as the day for reopening. It is interesting to note that the Church still was not given a name. However, Opinions prevailed in favour of the present name-the Church of the Good Shepherd. The dedication service and Holy Communion on 4 April began at 7.30.a.m. The Church was crowded with people chiefly from the neighbouring parishes of St. Paul’s Milagiriya and Christ Church, Galkissa. The Ven. Archdeacon who was acting as the Bishop’s Commissary was the celebrant and officiated in English, but the Epistle, Gospel Sermon and hymns were in Sinhala.
The school continued to be maintained well. It was located in a thatched building close to the Church; girls and boys separately. Examinations were held and prize giving’s organized. Regular services in Sinhala continued to be held for some years.
As the years went by, Thimbirigasyaya was losing its character as a village and getting urbanized and becoming part of the city of Colombo. This resulted in the Sinhala Christians being dispersed. So the need for holding services in Sinhala came to an end. The CMS had started the Malayalam Mission to cater to the large number of Malayalees working in the Spinning and Weaving Mills at Wellawatte in 1912.
So the Church was handed over to them. Canon Lucien Jansz who was the Superintendent of the Malayalam Mission while he was Vicar of St. Paul’s Milagiriya(1929-1953) used to take services in Malyalam !
From about the year 1931, the Vicar of St. Paul’s Church Milagiriya sent a priest once a month to take services at the Church of the Good Shepherd. From January 1844 regular English services were provided. The Church of the Good Shepherd functioned as a daughter Church of St. Paul’s Milagiriya and the Vicar was in charge. The Vicarage was built in 1961, and a priest came into residence in the Church compound.
The Church had been dedicated on 1 March 1867, but never consecrated. So Bishop Harold De Soysa at a special Holy Communion Service held on 24 July 1966, consecrated it. There was a large congregation and 224 communicated. The centenary of the Church was celebrated on 14 July 1967. Bishop Harold De Soysa celebrated.
During the incumbency of Rev. C.M Peiris, the desire of the parish to become independent of St. Paul’s, Milagiriya came to pass.
The response of the congregation was so good that the income each year exceeded the expenditure and the reserve fund became a possibility. In 1967, a special appeal was made to mark the centenary of the Church and the building was extended very considerably by the construction of a new sanctuary in undressed stone, which with its dominating satin wood cross and white crushed marble altar gave the Church a distinctive ethos. This was Rev. Douglas De Mel’s enduring contribution to the Church.
When the Rev. C.M Peiris came into residence in the parish, the matter of independence from St. Paul’s, Milagiriya was pursued vigorously and as a result on 22 October 1970, the Church of the Good Shepherd was recognized as an independent and fully constituted parish. In this year a decision was taken to build a parish hall. This became a reality in 1972.
In November 1989, a Belfry was presented to the Church by the Youth Fellowship with the assistance of the parish.
- Postal Address
- 18, Jawatte Road, Thimbrigasyaya, Colombo 5, Sri Lanka
- 0112 585 889