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BRIEF HISTORICAL SKETCH OF ST. ANDREW’S CHURCH OVER THE YEARS from 1864

 
St. Andrew’s Church, a Presbyterian church at Bangalore, located on the Cubbon road is of a massive orthodoxical Presbyterian Scottish architecture, with a tall belfry and chiming clock at the apex of its tower, bearing its name after the patron saint of Scotland, St. Andrew. The foundation stone for this magnificent structure was laid on Nov. 22, 1864 by Lady Grant, wife of Lieutenant-General, Sir Hope Grant, the then Quartermaster-General of Her Majesty’s Forces and the building was completed and opened for Divine worship on Nov. 18,1866 with in a period of two years at an overall cost of Rs. 45000/- including the land. The dedication sermon was preached by the Rev. Stewart Wright, one of the then chaplains of the Church of Scotland in the Madras Presidency, and pastor in charge of the newly formed congregation.
 
“The church building is purely Gothic, measuring 105 ft in length by 57 ft in breadth with a height of 43 ft. The height of the tower is exactly 90 feet. The interior of the building is extremely beautiful. The windows including a very large gable one are filled with stained glass. The pulpit is of teak wood richly carved and in keeping with the style of the building. The pulpit, velvet cushion and hangings along with a very fine harmonium were the gifts of the ladies of the congregation to their pastor. The whole cost of the building including the ground on which it is erected amounted to 4500 pounds Sterling which was partly defrayed by Government and by private subscriptions. Altogether it is one of the handsomest churches in India doing great credit to Major Sankey, chief Engineer and to Mr. R. C. Dobbs, the Executive Engineer of Mysore” as is reported by the courtesy of Illustrated London News in the year 1866, when the church building was dedicated to divine worship.
 

When St. Mark’s Cathedral was engulfed and damaged in a fire accident in the year 1923, it was this heritage building which afforded accommodation for that congregation to worship until St. Mark’s was rebuilt in the year 1927. A magnificent pipe organ installed in the year 1881 adds grandeur to the sacred music in every worship service.

The Church was then known as St. Andrew’s “KIRK”, a westernized church with Scottish customs, classical Scottish square dancing, western music, celebrating St. Andrew’s day, Burns’ night and so on. After the complete independence of the churches with the formation of Church of South India (CSI) in the year 1947, as the influx of regiment soldiers receded with permanent transfers and so on, congregation members worshipping in the church were eager to find their identity with the Indian main stream of the post independent churches by affiliating themselves with the Church of South India. As recorded in the minutes of the KIRK session of the year 1959, eventually St Andrews church joined CSI in September 1959. and Rev. P.J. Child, the presbyter then known as the moderator of the church was in charge of the congregation. The Church gradually became one of the churches of the Karnataka Central Diocese with Bishop as her head for all administrative hierarchy, quite different from the Presbyterian discipline and thus released itself from the governance of COLONIAL AND CONTINENTAL COMMITTEE OF THE CHURCH OF SCOTTLAND which was then governing the four churches of St. Andrew’s in India.

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The Church has established a Socio-economic Development Society with a school in the year 1977 for the children with a sincere concern for the poor, down trodden and the under privileged.

Ever since, it has been standing tall as the symbol of the spirit of the people, an edifice of character of strong Christian faith and a landmark in the city. Over 145 years have passed since the Scottish regiment began worshipping in this monumental church and now the community has grown to encompass a large multi-denominational St. Andrew’s family, bearing testimony to the grace of God and the faith of all its members, as it has seamlessly integrated a multilingual Indian population into its fold.

Years of wear and tear and the unprecedented downpour of rain last year have caused damage to the bell tower and the portico. The foundation of the bell tower has slowly sunk causing a gentle incline of the building cracking the surface of the front portion of the church.

The Church Renovation Implementation Committee constituted by our Bishop with the technical advice of professors of Structural Engineering from the Indian Institute of science has decided to go ahead and complete the task of restoring the heritage building back to its glory at the earliest, solely with the willing and sacrificial contribution of every congregation member of this sanctuary. With the overflowing and continued support from every corner of the church, the total restoration work of the church has been completed in record time and the church building has been brought back to its original glory and splendour. It is the congregation, which is responsible for this stupendous achievement we have realized in bringing back the church to its century-old magnificence.

Retrospection of the whole efforts and task undertaken by the church provides a great occasion to the congregation for recognition and joy as the congregation members of St. Andrew’s church will be celebrating its 142nd anniversary on the 26th of November 2006, coinciding with its restoration work, rededicating the church to its continued worship and ministry.

The Church Pastorate Committee places on record its gratitude to the authorities of the Diocese, the benevolence and guidance of our beloved Bishop with his technical team of the Diocese, the advice of the professors from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore who gave us the right direction to proceed with, the contractor for the meticulous execution of the work, all our committee and sub committee members for devoting their time, toil and talent, and engineers and Chief engineer from our Bangalore Corporation authority for their consultancy and also experts from outside occasionally associated themselves with this task of renovation whenever required to make it successful. We owe our gratitude to all concerned, involved and cooperated with their concern and support in all ways possible during the restoration work.

As the years rolled on, the century old pipe organ in St. Andrew’s Church, Bangalore installed on 3.5.1881 by its builders PETER GONACHER AND CO., HUDDERSFIELD, ENGLAND started showing signs of wear and tear due to age and use over a period of 126 years and was seen to be certainly not at its best as it was in the beginning. The Pastorate Committee took up the onerous task of renovating and restoring the Pipe Organ to its old grandeur and M/s Middle Organ Company, UK was entrusted with the renovation work. The Organ Company known for its reputation in renovating old pipe organs have completed the total work of renovation and restoration in record time, with a few more new features added to it. It is a great achievement for the whole congregation and felicitation to the music lovers of the city that such an old monumental treasure has been preserved and restored back to its glory!

Commemorating this great event in the history of St. Andrew’s Church, an eminent organist and a music laureate Prof. Dr. Richard Marlow, Director of Music, Trinity College, UK has been invited to perform an Organ Recital on this renovated Organ on the 4th of January, 2009, along with a worship service of rededication of our century old treasure that day evening.

We ever remain grateful to Almighty for having enabled our congregation to make yet another significant contribution towards the church music, declaring that Christian faith is a singing faith with a century old Pipe Organ being rededicated to the glory of God again with an international expert on its console.

The church with its long period of history for nearly one a half century presents to us today a look of long and deep-rooted tradition with its community committed to the prime goal of worship as one congregation in unity ever through, with more emphasis on out reach work, mission and evangelism through social activity in the latter years to project the image of Christ through the friendly interaction with the present context of the society around, ever heralding its faith and bearing witness to: “Thy hand O God has guided Thy flock from age to age”

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St. Andrews Church
No.27, Cubbon Road, Bangalore-560001

Phone: +91-80-25591 874
Email: andrewschurchblore@gmail.com