Year Of Origin : 6th Oct 1863 at MG Road
History : East Parade Church derives its name from its location on the East side of the extensive Parade ground. The location of the church was striking. In front of the chapel was a wide esplanade, with trees lined up as an avenue, about a mile long. The esplanade was the erstwhile South Parade Road, now Mahatma Gandhi Road. The road to the right of the chapel was the present Dickenson Road which led to the Madras Army barracks. There was a large parade ground which covered the entire area from Cubbon Park to the present day Dickenson Road. The East Parade Church was constructed to the east of the parade ground indicating the primacy the parade ground had during the British régime.
The Wesleyan Tamil Mission in the Bangalore Cantonment was established in 1821. Elijah Hoole of the Wesleyan Mission started a small school measuring 30 feet in length and 13 feet in breadth. Tamil services were started in the small school. However, in 1822, the Wesleyan Mission was suspended and the missionaries were transferred. In 1826, the mission resumed again but this time a stable in the Mission compound had to be used as a church.
Our Church built in 1865 was one of the earliest Church built by them in the Mysore District. A clear inscription on one of the built-up stones of the church shows a date 6th Oct, 1863 which is presumably the date the foundation was laid. One of the annual reports of the Wesleyan mission (1903) reports as under about the East Parade Church: - “The lofty, roomy building is capable of accommodating 700 people. It is looked upon as the Cathedral of Methodism in the Province.” The Church building has a number of unique features. The massive Corinthian columns, all eight in number, stand as sentinels at the entrance of the Church. These columns lend the whole structure its character. Another welcome feature of the building is that unlike other large Churches in Bangalore it has no columns or pillars inside the Church, obstructing the view of the altar.
The founder of the church in its present form was a gentleman called Thomas Hodson. A Wesleyan Missionary who served in India, Hodson was an extraordinary person. He arrived in India in 1829 when he was 25. He had spent three years in Calcutta learning Bengali and he was posted suddenly to Bangalore. He came to Bangalore in 1833 and was stationed in Bangalore for almost three years. He was apparently a linguist of repute, being fluent in Bengali, Tamil and Kannada. He returned to England in 1843 due to ill health and came back to India in 1853 as Chairman and Superintendent of the Wesleyan Canarese Mission in the Mysore District. He left India in March 1878 and died in England in 1882. A renowned Kannada scholar, he wrote a book on ‘An Elementary Grammar of the Kannada, or Canarese Language’ in 1864. In his description of Bangalore, Hodson describes two portions of the city. The Cantonment was where the soldiers lived and Tamil was the primary language. In the native town or petah, Kannada was the predominant language. Hodson appears to have concentrated his efforts on the Tamil speaking population.
In the year 1947 Church of South India was inaugurated on 27.9.1947 and East Parade Church became part of the then Diocese of Mysore. In the year 1949 the Church keys was handed over to the Rev.G.D.Paul, the then Presbyter in Charge of East Parade Church that was a Tamil Congregation, who are since then worshipping regularly here.
Later in the year 1966 Malayalam Congregation joined this church only to worship since they had no worship place at that time in Bangalore. With Christian faith the Executive Committee of KCD granted permission. From then they are worshipping in this church.
At the end of the passage History:
In the year 2004, the church nearing its 150th year required maintenance. By the Grace of God both the Tamil and Malayalam congregation inspired by the then Bishop came together and carried out a renovation work. Special care was taken to retain the architectural design while plastering both the inside and outside of the church. Windows were replaced, and repair work carried out to all the wooden furnitures’. The Window glasses at the Altar too were cleaned and refreshed with utmost care.
This was a proud movement for both the congregation. In the year 2013, again both the congregations’ came together to successfully renovate the Parish Hall and put it into use as a Sunday School Hall. In the year 2014, both the congregations came together in carrying out the beautification work of the Church compound by tiling right around the church , and a developed a garden.
East parade Church continues to serve two large pastorates viz East Parade Tamil and East Parade Malayalam, of the CSI Karnataka Central Diocese. Members of the two pastorates are ever grateful to the Lord Almighty for His wonderful provisions in preserving and reserving this wonderful Church for their use.
Rev. Gnanakumar has served in KCD for the past 29 years. He has served in 20 churches during these years.
His wife, Mrs. Vanitha Mani is a co-worker in his ministry and has been a great pillar of strength and support all the way. Reverend is blessed with two children, the elder daughter Cynthia and son Vinoth Kumar.