St. George's, Hyderabad



THE BUILDING OF A NEW CHURCH

In or about 1862, after the withdrawal of the French from Hyderabad, the Community felt the need of more worshippers and it was decided to construct a new Church on the land available on the other side of the present parsonage. The following is the entry in the Church register:

The spirit of belonging to and owning the Church was accentuated by a circular letter framed and issued by Mr. Robert Hudson a stalwart of the community and the owner of the Columbian press who suggested many necessary requirements of the Church particularly in respect to the seating requirements as regards repairs and renewals to meet the increasing Church congregation. It was resolved that a Standing Committee of the original subscribers be formed as a kind of Vigilance Committee to prevent a recurrence of the former state of affairs, and a Committee to care for the fabric of the Church. A Vestry was also elected for the management of ordinary Church affairs.

As a result of this a letter was issued to the assistant Resident pertinently pointing out in details the opinion and facts of the matter viz:

The Church was built and is maintained by private subscription and is, consequently the property of the Protestant community at Chaderghat, who are bound to attend to its affairs. And therefore it has been the practice to convene meetings and to appoint committees without consulting the officiating Chaplain. But the ruling of the Resident as conveyed in Mr. Drummond's letter virtually deprives the community of the independent control they have hitherto exercised over the secular affairs of the Church and places it almost, if not quite so, in the position of a Church belonging to government or to which government affords their aid.

Consequent to this letter the Resident desired to have the names of the subscribers who had originally paid for the Church and were now residing at Chaderghat. Thereafter on the 13 of April 1863 a meeting of the original subscribers was held with the resident in the chair. It is worthy to note that there was no Chaplain present at this meeting which certain rules and office bearers were elected to run the affairs of the Church. There was no diocesan control or rules to be implemented. It was clearly understood and accepted that this was a purely private Church to be controlled and managed by the congregation with the aid of elected office bearers.

The preliminary meeting to consider the question of building a Church was held in the Residency School room on 5 May 1865. Those present were termed the Chaderghat Protestant Community. The resident Mr. G. Yule soon to be Sir George Yule, C.B., K.C.S.I., presided. Thirty others were present: Messrs. A.L. Taylor, H. Bowen, J. Bayley, T. Copwicke, J.E. Combes, Major G. Proudfoot, J. Nowill, P.J. Charles, S. Ogilve, G. Price, S. Lee, C. Prayero Snr, C.R. Starr, C. Prayero Jnr, J.E. Zscherpel, Revd. C. Rhenius, J. W. Boardman, W. Lenaine, W. Peacock, James D‚Costa, C. DePening, R. Hudson, S. D‚Costa, S. Bayley, F. DePrazer, J. B. Hughes, W. Hughes, A Torricke. W. Edwards and St. J. Walker.

After the Resident explained the purpose of the meeting, a question arose regarding the estimate cost that would be incurred in the proposed construction of the new Church. Mr. Charles explained that the present Church was built in 1845 at a time when both labour and material were cheap and that it cost about Rs. 5600 and was calculated to accommodate 120 persons, but in consequent of some changes in the fashions the accommodation is now reduced to 100 that the community has since 1845 increased greatly so that at present accommodation is absolutely necessary for upwards of 200 persons, or adding all contingencies seats would be required for 250 persons. He then proceeded to say that by a simple rule in arithmetic the cost for the new building might at once be found, for if 100 seats cost Rs. 5600 it was clear that 250 seats must cost Rs 14000 and this he thought would be the minimum sum required. He observed that when the present Church was built fourteen families raised Rs. 2000 then the present strength of fifty-four families could raise by the simple rule of 3 something between Rs 7000 and 8000 if the Community would zealously come forward and subscribe to the extent above alluded to, he, Mr. Charles, was authorised to say that they would be aided by a sum of Rs. 5000 from one source and Rs. 2000 from another - in all Rs. 7000 but not a farthing of it must be calculated upon unless the sum above alluded to namely Rs. 8000 was forthcoming, that is already observed there would be no difficulty in the matter if all would but zealously cooperate and put their shoulder to the wheel and as the easiest mode of overcoming the difficulty, he proposed that each member of the community should contribute one month's pay or income and that it would by no means be creditable to the Community if they did not come forward at once with their contributions and secure the aid they have been promised. Mr. Charles added in conclusion that it was not his intention to put the subscribers to inconvenience by asking payment at once but that the whole amount might be paid off by six installments. The Chairman enquired whether contribution of one month's salary or income would meet the condition proposed to which Mr. Charles replied that it would. The proposition was then put to the vote and carried unanimously.

The laying of the Foundation Stone was fixed for 25 November 1865 and the form of service to be used was submitted to the officiating Minister with a request to officiate at the function. He requested certain omissions in the form to be rectified and to pledge that the building would be used only for the worship of Almighty God. After these matters were settled, the Foundation Stone of the Church was laid on 25 November 1865 by Lady Yule. Mr. Marrett an engineer and member of the Community supervised the construction of the Church. A full report of the ceremony is reproduced in the following paragraphs. It is important to note that the Resident's speech in respect of the Community and its place in the State Government in which most of the Community are employed and its service in catering to the spiritual needs by the provision of a place of worship for the use of posterity. His reference to the fact that this was done by the Community and not by the Government of India reflected to the credit of the Community. The Church was opened on 10 April 1867, on which Alice daughter of Sir George and Lady Yule, was baptised. On 1 April 1875 the rev. Henry Fitzpatrick was appointed as the first őresident Chaplain, his full designation being, Incumbent of St. George's Church and Chaplain of Chudderghat‚ He remained in charge till his death on 5 June 1895; and on 12 December 1895 the rev. Samuel H. Johnstone succeeded him and also continued in charge till his death on 3 April 1916, in his 89th year.

The Account of the ceremony as recorded in the Madras Athenian.. This Church dedicated to St. George and devoted to the worship of God according to the ritual of the Protestant Church was built, through love to their Saviour by the inhabitants of Chadarghat. A sum of money to defray the whole cost was cheerfully subscribed, and the Foundation Stone of the new Church was laid on this 25th day of November 1865. The earnest prayer of those who have taken part in this work is that what they have done in faith and love may be accepted by their Divine Master as an evidence of their devotion to His service.

I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication that thou hast made before Me. I have hallowed this house that thou hast built to put my Name there for ever, and mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually. I Kings IX 3.

The Church was opened on Wednesday, 10th April 1867.


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