Friday, March 28, 2014
This church began its life as a campus chapel. This land, now on Radhakrishnan Salai, was part of an estate originally granted to Benjamin Sullivan in the early 1800s. After his passing away, the land was obtained by the SPG - Society for Propagation of the Gospel - in 1847 (for Rs.1,700, it is said) in 1847 and then, in 1871, a theological college was set up here. For the students' use, a room was set aside for prayers. Over time, local residents also began to use the room to an extent that they asked the SPG to build a church for them, to save them the trouble of going all the way to Santhome.
It took about four years for the building to be completed, and it was dedicated on January 25, 1899. Designed by W.N. Baakson in a Gothic style, the construction used no wood - it is claimed that this is the only such church construction in India. Before its golden jubilee, however, the church changed hands in 1947, being given over to the Church of South India, who continue to run it now.
At the dedication, it was decided to name this the Church of the Good Shepherd - a name that it continues to be known by, after 105 years, and the change of ownership!