MANGALORE: Various programmes will mark the 125th year of the Vishranthi church under the Church of South India at Bockapatna on Sunday.

The church, history of which can be traced back to 1806 to 1816 that saw the birth of an era of peace revolution in Basel, Switzerland, presently has 1,400 members and is managed by a 13-member pastorate committee, Rev Icon S Palanna, presbyter, has said.

Rev Icon said it was the permission that the British gave in 1812 to do gospel work in the West coast covering from Kochi to Mumbai that brought the Basel mission to this part of the world. Basel mission sent three missionaries to India in 1834 and the trio – John Christopher Lehner, Christoph Leoward Grener and Samuel Hebich who landed in Calicut on October 14, 1834, reached Mangalore by sea 16 days later.

The support extended by then collector Findel Anderson and assistant collector Fudeeron saw Basel mission set up its presence in Neereshwalya village or present day Mission Street. As the mission work grew, the missionaries set up a tile factory in 1865 for their livelihood at Jeppu. As demand for tiles grew, the missionaries selected a place for factory in Kudroli in 1882 and work started in 1883. This also brought about a demand for a place to worship.

The present church had its origins in the separate room set up for worship in the factory itself. The Christians, then numbered 167, appointed Rev Samuel Andrew, an Indian, to look after the congregation. Rev A Menner, missionary official declared Kudroli a local congregation in 1886. The foundation stone for construction of the church was laid on July 27, 1887, and the Vishranthi church was dedicated at its present location on May 20, 1888.

The church in these past 125 years has since progressed and has seen 29 pastors serve it, Rev Icon said, adding that Mangalore City South MLA J R Lobo will be the chief guest at the cultural programme and the celebrations on the church campus in the evening. Rt Rev J S Sadananda, Bishop, Church of South India Karnataka Southern Diocese, will lead the 125th anniversary divine service earlier in the day.

Courtesy: Times of India