- Date of Consecration
- 1923 - 10 - 30
- Colombo Archdeaconry
- Revd. M. Arasilarajah
This Church is situated at Ukwatte on the Colombo-Ratnapura Road at the entrance to Avissawella town, on a hillock by the side of the main road. It is believed that the Church, due to its proximity to the road, was called “Kal Erindan Kovil”- stone throw Church. The Church consecrated on 11 June 1883 and built with half- brick walls and wooden trellis work, is an extremely simple and humble structure.
During the British period, with the opening up of tea and rubber estates in the Kelani Valley, the repatriate planters who were mostly Christians built this Church as a place of worship for their families and friends. Initially all services were in English and the Church was managed by the Kelani Valley Chaplain fund of the P.A. of Ceylon. Later the estate workers and staff who formed the Tamil congregation were allowed to conduct services in Tamil, twice a month, on an annual payment of Rs 360, a princely sum in those days.
The present vicarage was originally the conductor’s Quarters belonging to Honiton estate and was donated by the superintendent/owner to the K.V Chaplain Fund of the P.A. of Ceylon. The Tamil School, we find was subsequently shifted to Puwakpitiya. It is a matter of delight to record that this Church at one time established and managed 47 Tamil schools at various places in the Kelani Valley.
With the growth of the Tamil congregation, more and more were converted and the Church grew. In 1940, during the time of the Rev. J.R Horshington, the altar which was made of wood was rebuilt in cement.
In 1964, during the period, of Rev. E.J Gnanapragasam, with the active help of Mr. L.H De Mel, the parish hall was built and the rear of the Church was extended and the road around the Church was tarred.
On 27 July 1983, the Church was burnt down and the vicarage badly damaged during the communal riots. The Church was rebuilt conforming to the original structure with the help of Major MRC Peiris with Messrs L.H De Mel, E.F Jinadasa and Mrs. I Kelaart together with the congregation.
In 1986 this Church was once again set on fire by some unidentified persons. The congregation together with Major Peiris, E.F Jinadasa, Frank Paranawithana and Mrs. I Kelaart encouraged and led the congregation to rebuild the Church. During this period a new pulpit was provided, a stage was constructed in the parish hall and a nursery was started.
The congregation was provided with a large number of hymnals both in English and in Tamil. The Church introduced services in all 3 languages as combined services during the period of Rev. Jeyaweerasingham. During this period the all- night vigil on the 2 Friday of the month was commenced and the fence around the Church land was re-erected. The parsonage was repaired and colour washing the Church and parsonage commenced.
- Postal Address
- St. Barnabas Church, Avissawella, Sri Lanka.
- 0362 222 343