The old red Gothic structure on the eastern banks of a large pond looks huge from outside. The pond and the church stand on land that belongs to the Eastern Railway in Liluah. Despite the massive structure, inside, the church cannot seat more than 100 people on its pews. If there is a big congregation, authorities have to arrange for extra chairs for the parishioners.
Christ Church, under the Church of North India (CNI), has 160 parishioners on its list. Most of them are local residents, but there are some who come from other parts of Howrah and Hooghly as well.
The interiors of the church got a fresh lick of pink paint in December, before Christmas. Reverend Sailen Das, a senior member of the church committee, is expecting a good turnout for Good Friday on April 3. The service will start at 12 noon and will continue till 3pm. “Many people attend the church service on Good Friday because it is a significant day. The week before Good Friday is the Holy Week and every evening we have a mass for the Lent period that has started 40 days before Good Friday,” said Das.
Christ Church was built in 1915 for the European and Anglo-Indian employees of the then East Indian Railway. A plaque on the wall of the church reads, ‘This stone was laid on December 22, 1915 by Robert Swan Hichet Esq, Agent East Indian Railway.’ Since the inception of the Liluah workshop in 1900, the Christian employees wanted a
place of worship. “The church runs on donations from members,” said Das.
Inside the church, there are no other decorations, apart from the altar. An antique object inside the church has been removed some 20 years back. “A huge brass eagle with wings spread out, perched on a brass stand was placed in the front of the altar where the priest would keep the Bible during church service. There was an attempt to steal the eagle stand about 15 years back, but it was so heavy that the thieves could not carry it out of the church. After this, we were forced to give the eagle away to St Paul’s Cathedral,” said Das.
Christ Church will turn 100 at the end of this year and the committee members are planning to do some social work.
“We run a Sunday school for Biblical teachings. We are thinking of starting a dispensary at the local club where we could distribute free medicines,” said Das.
source: http://www.telegraphindia.com / The Telegraph, Calcutta / Front Page> Howrah> Story / Friday – April 03rd, 2015