- Date of Consecration
- Colombo Archdeaconry
- Revd. Jurinesz Shadrach
St. John the Baptist Church, Rakwana is situated about 137 km south west of Colombo, in an agriculturally rich area, surrounded with lushy green tea and rubber plantations, bordering the misty cloud clothed range of mountains in Sinharajah rain forest, facing a sliver ray of mini-water fall cascading down the hill, adding extravagant beauty of nature to this house of worship.
The church was founded in 1887 and thus celebrated her 125 anniversary on 24 June 2012 under the His Lordship Dhiloraj Ranjit Cangasabey the Bishop of Colombo as chief celebrant and preacher. Clergymen from adjoining churches, few of those had served the parish in the past along with present vicar Rev. T.O. Thirukumar, Assistant Curate with Rev. M.S. Praba were present at the celebration.
The anniversary celebrations commenced with a procession of witnessing from Rakwana town to the Church which consisted of parishioners and invitees and friends from the community.
The mission at Rakwana along with Balangoda, Ratnapura and Deniyaya was structured in to a pastorate under the guidance of Rev. P.A. Piakiam the first incumbent and has continued its spiritual journey witnessing the community around for the last 125 years.
The Church is blessed with a Sunday school hall and vicarage. The congregation consists of 60 families with 250 parishioners who are being spiritually fed through Holy Communion services and praise and worship on every Sunday together with spiritual and fellowship activities through their Sunday school, mothers union, youth fellowship, junior guild, cottage prayers, night vigil, gospel meetings and weekly bible study etc.
The Rev. S. Hobbs served here first. He was followed by Rev. P. Lawrence, who established the Tamil mission. Rev.W. Knight looked after the Sabaragamuwa Province.
Rev. P.Peter started his missionary work in Pelmadulla.( Tamil Church mission book, page 09, written by Rev. S.M. Thomas 15.07.1953)
Their mission was to spread the good news. This history is written according to the information gathered.
The early missionaries built this church in resemblance to the other churches.
In the early days, the service order was in the English language with western music. A lot of missionaries learnt Tamil and Sinhala languages to spread the word of God. They adapted themselves according to the local culture.
The CMS missionaries started schools in various places and not only educated the people, but involved all in worship. The missionaries came to Rakwana to establish schools in 1887.During this period the parsonage was also built for the missionaries. The evening worship was initially conducted in the parsonage.
Inspite of the worship conducted in the parsonage due to a lack of space they decided to build a church on the rightside of the parsonage. They made use of the soft clay found in the compound to build the walls and also putuo 16 pillars in 2 square feet in the front of the church. All the walls were painted with a substance made by mixing sand and lime.
It’s roof is in the shape of a triangle which is an attraction to all. The roof is supported with 4 pillars made of rock and covered with wood. The carvings add beauty to the church.
On 24 June 1887 with the permission of the then Bishop of England Rt. Rev. Reginald Stephen Copleston and under the guidance of Rev. Matthew Walter Edmund, the foundation stone was laid for St. John’s Church and dedicated on 14.10.1888. The carvings on the stone is evidence of the church being very ancient. The entrance of the church is also very beautiful with ancient carvings.
The verandah was built in 1902 with red bricks, the bell tower with stones. The parsonage also belongs to this time. The church administration was supervised by well wishes.
In 1899, the church obtained the rights to solemnize weddings. Since 1887, a lot of clergy has served in the church. This church was built by the British, now functions under the Diocese of Colombo.
The C.M.S started its mission when people were in trouble, and thereafter built this church. Inspite of the financial and transport difficulties it is great that this church was built in this area. The dedication and the contribution by the clergy and the missionaries is to be admired.
- Postal Address
- St. John the Baptist Church Rakwana , Sri Lanka.
- 0112 423 341