Christian Reformed Church continues Service | Daily News

Christian Reformed Church continues Service

The Christian Reformed Church in Wolfandal in the heart of the busy commercial district of Pettah is considered one of the best examples of Dutch architecture in Sri Lanka
The Christian Reformed Church in Wolfandal in the heart of the busy commercial district of Pettah is considered one of the best examples of Dutch architecture in Sri Lanka

The Christian Reformed Church, formerly known as the Dutch Reformed Church, will celebrate 375 years on October 6. A tri-lingual service of thanksgiving to celebrate this milestone is planned at the Christian Reformed Church in Galle on October 5.

This anniversary is a testament to the faith of generations of ministers, ministry workers, evangelists and the community of believers in Sri Lanka who stayed true to the teachings of the reformed faith, continuing to teach Biblically-sound doctrine and espousing the catechism of faith.

The Church works and ministers to people in all three languages and has worship services in multiple locations across the country: in the Colombo district, worship services are held at the Christian Reformed Churches at Wolfandal in Colombo 15, Regent Street near the General Hospital, Dehiwela, Kohuwela, Wellawatte, Bambalapitiya, Maligakande and Rukmalgama.

The Church buildings in Galle, Matara, Kalpitiya and the Wolfandal Church in Colombo have all been declared as historical buildings with archaeological value and cultural significance.

The history of the Christian Reformed Church is intrinsically linked to period of Dutch colonisation in the country. The first visit of Dutch sailors to Sri Lanka is recorded in 1600, and in 1602 the Treaty was signed with the King of Kandy, King Wimaladharmasuriya I, allowing the Dutch to build the fortresses along the coast. Official ministry of the Dutch Reformed Church began on October 6, 1642 in the Fort of Galle. That same year, the Reformed faith of the Dutch colonists was established as the official religion of the colony, giving the church both stature and resources to expand. As the Dutch expanded their governance across the coastline of Sri Lanka, the Reformed faith went with them. In the early years, the Dutch Reformed Church ministry, including worship services, was carried out in Dutch government buildings, homes and temporary buildings.

The first Dutch-erected church buildings began to appear in 1706 with the building of the church in Jaffna, known as the Kruys Kerk (Cross Church) because it was built in the design of a Greek Cross - a pattern followed in the design of the Wolfandal and Galle churches later on. The next church building to be completed was in Matara. The most famous of all the DRC churches - the grand edifice in Galle - began construction only in 1752, and was completed in 1755. The majestic Wolfandal Church was dedicated in 1767. The Roman-Dutch Law which continues to hold sway in Sri Lanka as the general law in the country was introduced during the Dutch period of governance.

Dutch architecture continues to be a striking influence added to its contribution to Sri Lanka’s language, cuisine, art, handicrafts and attire. The beautiful Dutch-influenced furniture of that period, especially those carved from ebony and calamander are some of the most prized furniture today – and some of the most beautiful examples are found in the Christian Reformed Churches in Wolfandal and Galle.

Sri Lanka gained its first printing press when a press was set up in 1736 by the Dutch Governor of the time.

The church worked amongst the poor and the needy in the country, establishing orphanages, schools and the country’s first leprosy asylum in Wattala, among many other social projects and acts of service.


 

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