- Date of Consecration
- 1923 - 12 - 09
- Colombo Archdeaconry
- Rev. Asiri Fernando Jayasuriya
With the arrival of Rev. Lambrick, the Cotta Mission was born. Rev. Lambrick was 48 years of age when he moved into Cotta to undertake pioneering work which later blossomed into a Church and a Christian community at Kotte. Rev. Lambrick purchased from the Government a piece of land named Thotepalle-Kanatte, 3 acres in extent and eight other pieces of land from the villagers to build the mission premises. The Government deed of conveyance is dated 13 July 1822 and was signed by the Governor of Ceylon, Sir Edward Paget K.G.C.B. The proximity of the location to Colombo in actual distance and it seclusion from it by the state of roads appeared singularly advantageous to Rev. Lambrick to have it as a mission station.
He resided in a hut within the mission premises to closely supervise the building operations. The secular side of education was as much the concern of Rev. Lambrick as the religious. As soon as his bungalow was ready for occupation he moved in and commenced a school teaching English and Sinhalese for 20 students in the verandah of his bungalow. The “verandah school” blossomed into Christian College, Kotte. (This was named in 1963 as Sri Jayawardenapura Maha Vidyalaya).
Soon after Rev. Lambrick settled in Cotta, a printing press with a setup of two machines and other equipment to produce work in Sinhala was installed.
Missionaries Rev. Lambrick and Selkirk laboured to translate the Bible into colloquial Sinhala and this was published by the press in 1833 as the “Cotta Bible.” Rev. John Halsham had also printed an English-Sinhala dictionary and a book of Catechism at the Cotta press. All books used in the school were printed at this press. The press continued to function until 1953.
During the tenure of Rev. Lambrick, a Theological College to train Ceylonese as priests, catechists and lay workers was established at Cotta. On 27 November, 1827 Sir Edward Barnes, Governor of Ceylon, laid the foundation stone for the Cotta Institute. However, the Institute was closed in 1867 as the supply of missionary workers did not show much improvement.
In 1869, the Rev. R.T Dowbiggin was appointed as superintendent missionary. During this period a Church was built at Liyanwela a hamlet 17 miles from Cotta. For 33 years Rev. Dowbiggin was associated with the CMS. His leadership and efforts made Cotta District stand as the most extensive and best worked mission in the country. Probably the most significant advances made were in the field of education. The school for boys and the boarding school for girls stand as monuments of the most successful and useful contribution of the mission. After, the departure of Rev. Dowbiggin in 1901, the Rev. J.W. Balding was appointed as superintendent missionary. (Mrs. R.T. Dowbiggin………………
At this time Rev. Balding conceived the idea of building a new Church utilizing the space available at the entrance to the mission premises.
Having obtained authority from the CMS, an appeal was made to raise funds. The appeal was supported by the Metropolitan of Calcutta and the Bishop of Colombo. Rev. Balding left the District in 1914, and during his ministry Rs 13,000 had been collected towards the building fund.
In 1920, Rev. G.A. Purser assumed duties as the superintendent missionary. The task of building the new Church took place during his tenure of office. Funds collected by his predecessors were utilized for this task. The foundation stone for the new Church was laid by Bishop E.A. Copleston on 9th December 1922. The architecture for the building was on the lines of the Prebytarian Church at Regent Street and the designs were provided by Mr. Claessaen of the Government factory.
The year 1923, saw the completing of the new Church, the scheme that was initiated by the Rev. Balding. Rev. Purser, however, could not see the completion of the Church as he had to leave Ceylon in March 1923. Rev. A.C Houlder replaced Rev. Purser as superintendent missionary.
- Postal Address
- Christ Church, Kotte, Sri Lanka.
- 0112 86 22 92