MEMORIES

Letters

Rev. Peter Cochran (Small Master)
Philip Penning and I lived in simple splendour with our Cook, Butler, Sweeper, Punkah Wallah, Gardener and Chickens that could lay eggs without shells. All in our monthly expenditure was under Rs.60. I purchased a Super 7 Triumph car from my uncle, Rev. J. O. Cochran at a cost of Rs. 200. I sold it a year later for a cycle plus Rs.300. Several times it let me down on the way to Georgetown or Pallavaram; one Sunday evening I was walking home from ‘Marmalade’ bridge and in the dark was picked up by some Europeans. I found I went to school with one of them in Northampton. Life was quite casual; I had Munshi lessons every morning, and tried out my Tamil knowledge on the Alanthur M. M. School on Mr. Pauliah’s class. It caused much laughter-and still does! I played tennis at the ‘Mount Club’ on the Primary School land. On Saturday we went for tennis to the Guindy Theological Seminary Compound with Rev. and Mrs. Paul Ramaseshan, Wilf and Mary Hulbert and Margaret Horwood. Friends came out from Madras.

Our next door neighbour was Pearl Kidd-whom we called ‘Pearly Wee’-who used to tell of former days when she steadfastly turned her pony’s head towards Poonamallee to make sure that after a few years it would deliberately turn round in the middle of the road and trot off to Guindy where she really wanted to go. At Gnanodhaya, Gay Hellier was our missionary. She was very ‘arty’ and we still have a lovely painting of hers of the Meenambakkam Road before the Air field developed. On Sunday, some of the O.D. troops attended Church from the Cantonment Camp. I got to know a few Air Force lads, who very kindly came in and took my car to bits now and again. (It didn’t make any difference). I remember visiting the M. O. who ordered me to drink a tot of whisky every night for my health- or I’d never be able to stay in India. I’ve managed 30 years at great risk, as I didn’t approve. I have some happy memories of the Church. We had a Youth club in the bungalow which is now the St. Thomas High School. There were some charming old ladies-one was the old Methodist Kindergarten Teacher, Miss D’Silva. Another great character was C. N. David the peon who still (?) addressed me as Small Cochran Master- for J. O. C. was his only ‘Big Master’. What a thrill it would give him to know that I am here at our 150th Anniversary, for he must have organized the Centenary in 1929.

 

Rev. Peter Cochran was a Pastor of the church from 1972 to 1978.

 

Mrs. Olga King,
49, Halley Road,
Forest Gate,
London E-7,
United Kingdom

 

I am glad to say, I am keeping fit except that I suffer from Sciatica but nevertheless I am able to move about and D.V. I shall close 87 years on the 25th August.

I do have very dear memories of our Church dating back to 1949 when the same was threatened with closure. My late husband and I took the responsibility of looking after and caring for the church and cottages from then onwards till we left for UK in 1972.

We managed to keep the church functioning with the help of God inspite of the ups and downs; and many times when we were not able to get a preacher, my late husband used to take the services and later he was commissioned as a lay preacher.

We did our best to keep the premises in good repair and organize many activities both, religious and social and from thence the congregation started growing and I am delighted to see the fine activity which is still going on, both in spiritual and social work.

I also think of the wonderful farewell that was given to us in appreciation of the work and hope and pray that we shall always be remembered as long as our little church functions.

I now send my greetings to all my friends and may God continue to bless you in your future work for His kingdom.

With good wishes,

Olga king

REMINISCENCES OF SOME OF OUR OLD MEMBERS
We are happy today and are joyfully rendering praise to God for all His great mercies. For He alone has enabled us to worship in this Wesley (English) Church for the last 150 years from 1829 – 1979. In our hearts we should be grateful to those who preserved and maintained the Church during the years gone by.

With the building of the Wesley (Tamil) Church in 1935, a large number of Tamil Christians left the Wesley English Church. As a result, some of the visiting presbyters felt it was not worthwhile to keep the Church open for the sake of four or five families. So after the independence and the closing down of the Government Ecclesiastical department in 1949, there was a move to stop worship in the church and to turn the building into either a Parish hall or a School. The then steward of the Church, Mr. Whitbread and Rev. John Millns called at the house of Mr. E.W.W. King at 12 o’ clock in the night, and challenged him to get fifty signatures by the next evening from members attending this church, to say that they wanted it to continue as a place of worship. So the next day Mr. and Mrs. King went from door to door getting signatures from people and by evening they had more than fifty signatures. So, it was that in 1949, Mr. and Mrs. King were made Stewards of the Church and this responsibility they held till November 1974, when they left for England. During that period they both lived, breathed and worked only for the Wesley (English) Church.

Many of the items of furniture in the Church were given by Mr. & Mrs. King, the cupboard, the desk, the cross, the communion plate and cup, the glass almyrah and many other things. Even now from England Mrs. King is sending us hymn books and music books for the Sunday School every year. Mrs. King organized and began the Sunday School and today if you find our young men and youth, active in Church work, it is only due to the foundation laid by her in their young hearts. During the lean years they organized and ran a feeding centre with the help and support of Rev. John Millns and 80 poor children were given a cup of milk every morning and at noon, lunch was served. Sometimes, Rev. john Millns would cycle down and would squat in the middle along with the children and share their lunch.

Mr. and Mrs. King started a nursery school with Baby Class and first standard. Mrs. Clarke, one of the cottagers, was the headmistress and Miss Joy King and Mrs. Gerry Lazaro (n’ee Cook) were the teachers. It ran successfully for a few ears but with Mrs. Clarke’s death in 1959 it had to be closed down.

Mr. C.N. David our old sexton should also be mentioned. He still pays us a monthly visit, when he comes to receive his pension. He has become old and feeble but he can still entertain you with anecdotes of the former padres of our Church.

We are thankful to all the presbyters who were in charge of the Church for having helped us to grow spiritually. We also remember the many unknown and unnamed fellow Christians who have helped in this church at various times, enabling the church to stand as a witness for Christ.

Finally we are thankful, to the present members of the church who have generously helped us, especially in the celebrations of the 1560h Anniversary. Our thanks are also due to CAPPAC for their wonderful ‘Cappa-cino-1978’ that they staged to raise funds for the celebration, and to all those taking part in the forthcoming programmes and sale during the celebration week.

We have a rich and worthy heritage from the old stalwarts of the Wesley (Engloish) Church and now let us not forget it as we march on into the future.

“But whether we have less or more, always thank we God therefore”

Mrs. Dorothy Dare (Who was the secretary of the Church in 1979)

VISION FOR THE WESLEY HALL

For some years now the need for a hall has been growing, both for the present church activities and to allow for future developments. As the church tries to respond to the needs of the community, it must have a place available as well as the vision of what God is leading it to develop. Ever since the 150th anniversary in 1979 one such dream has been for a Counseling Centre where those in the neighbourhood can get helpful advice. There have also been dream for providing more than midday meals for the needy children who come to the Centre, so they can have health care, tuition and games. Other programmes for the community will surely develop when space is available.

In naming the new building, Wesley Hall, we are not only associating it with the church but recalling the great Christian leader, John Wesley. He is most remembered as an evangelist and the founder of the Methodist Church but this ministry went alongside his concern for the social needs in the community of his day, most of which the established church ignored. Wherever he went he encouraged the opening of dispensaries and public libraries, “poor houses” for needy widows, the blind and the crippled, loan funds and savings schemes. He started welfare schemes for the poor and worked actively to improve the dreadful conditions in the prisons. He was concerned for the plight of the drunkards and gamblers and was constantly urging the members of “the societies” to be out in the community caring for those in need. For him, “the social gospel” went side by side with the offer of new life through faith in Jesus Christ.

May God continue to guide and bless this project and all those who are sharing in it.

Extract of the write up of Christine M. Macqueen, who was the deacon of our church when the Wesley Hall was built in 1987.
REV. HARRY O MARTON
General Secretary,
The British Council of Churches,
2, Eaton Gate,
London SWIW 9 BL,
England.

My wife and I send warm greetings to the congregation on the 150th Anniversary of the building in which you worship. Memories crowd into the mind as I think of the short period in which I was your Minister. You taught me more than I taught you and for that I am grateful. I was honoured that Mrs. King and her family invited me to share in the funeral service for Mr. Edward King who was the leader of the congregation for so many years.

May God continue to bless you and make you a blessing through the years ahead.

Good wishes,

Harry O Marton

Rev. A.M. Payler,
9, Burnam Gardens,
Bognor Regis,
W. Sussex,
England PO21 2LA.

Thank you for your letter telling us that the Wesley Church, St. Thomas Mount is celebrating its 150th Anniversary next month. You kindly invite us to be with you during the week of celebrations, but I am afraid that is not possible. My wife and I were able to be with you for a service last February and enjoyed renewing our association with all the friends there. We are delighted to see the fine activity which is still going on both in religious and social work.

We also have many old memories of St. Thomas mount dating back to the time when I was minister there from 1935 to 1937. It was while I was your minister that my wife and I were married, and we are grateful for all the kindness and help that we received.

We join in wishing you great rejoicing in the Anniversary celebrations. May God bless you in all your future work for His kingdom.

A.M. Payler

1979 AND BEYOND

As in the early days a school has often been associated with Wesley Church as St. Thomas Mount, but the last one was closed down in the nineteen fifties when more local schools were being opened and there was no longer a need for such a private school. At that stage it was as English-medium school and the ex-Methodist Tamil-medium school had already gone under the management of Gnanodhaya Training School.

Now our concern for the children is expressed through the St. Thomas” Mount Children’s Centre which provides a midday meal for 43 poor children and we are grateful to all who help us with gifts towards this ministry. We hope to be able to develop this centre into providing also regular medical care and maybe a place where the older ones can study in the evenings.

The Sunday School meets regularly after the morning service and has about 50 children on its rolls. There is a monthly rally which also attracts other children and has been continued from the VBS held in May each year.

The Youth Group, CAPPAC, meets usually on Saturdays and helps with many of the church activities; and we have hopes of developing this further with more varied activities and catering also to the needs of the many young people around, not otherwise in touch with the church.

We are somewhat hampered in all these activities by not having suitable premises and so as our Anniversary Project we are Launching an appeal to build Wesley Hall at the end of the compound. We plan that this will be available for the Sunday School and Youth activities, and we also need a place for a day care centre, which we are held up from starting by want of accommodation. There are many children of pre-school age who need such care while their parents are out at work and we have the promise of sponsorship for the children if we can get started.

Another hope is for a Christian Book Centre. This will not only be a shop-and there is otherwise nowhere nearer than the city to buy Christian Books and cards-but also a reading room and a centre from which literature can be taken to surrounding villages. We have already started this in a very small way as a church bookstall and there is a great opportunity if we can extend this and have it open at the road-side.

A further suggestion is to provide more contact with our neighbours through a “news sheet” in conjunction with the other churches and including local news and information.

If funds can be found, we can build another storey above the cottages and provide much-needed accommodation for another six people.

In addition to these varied outreach programmes, we also want to build up our weekly bible-study and prayer group as we know that this is the only real foundation for a lively and witnessing congregation, sensitive to the guidance of God and to the needs of others in the locality.

We realise it will take time and effort to turn all these hopes into realities, but the need is there and we are hopefully going on from our small beginnings trusting the Lord who gives the ideas to enable them to come to fulfillment. So let us accept William Carey’s challenge :

Attempt great things for God,
Expect great things from God.

COME AND PRAY & PLAY AWHILE CLUB – CAPPAC

Cakes Are Popular Pieces At Christmas,
Cones Attract Palates Popularly At Cities,
Crumbs Appease Poor Peoples Appetite Certainly,
Can’t All Peoples Problems Attract Christians?
Can’t All Problems Absolve Complete?

Yes,

Cast All Personal Problems At Christ,
Casting All Prevailing Problems At Christ,
Cast All Popular Problems At Christ,
Casting Aside Precious Possessions Accepting Christ,
Carrying Another Persons Problem Adores Christ.
Can Any Poor Person Achieve Confidence In A Name

Yes,

If he / she is a
C A P PA C I A N

COME AND PRAY & PLAY AWHILE CLUB – CAPPAC – The youth club of our Church of yesteryears. CAPPAC was coined by Mrs. Elizabeth Cochran, wife of Rev. Peter Cochran, the Pastor who served our Church. The name can be spelt both ways, front to back and back to front.