St. Mary & John Church, Nugegoda
St. Mary & John Church, Nugegoda
Date of Consecration
1942 - 12 - 27
Colombo Archdeaconry
Revd. Wilson Gnanadoss

In early British times one of the first four CMS missionaries to come to Ceylon, the Rev. Samuel Lambrick, moved to Kotte in 1822. Soon afterwards, he wrote to the CMS: “Cotta has a water communication with Colombo by means of a canal connecting the Calany river with the Calpera and Pantura rivers. There is also a bridle road with wooden bridges over two branches of the canal, but in the rainy season this road is frequently impassable.” In the “Missionary Record” of 1830 mention is made of visits to Nugegoda by Pastors on alternate Sunday afternoons. The next record of Nugegoda is the proposal to build a Church or Chapel on an extent of land 50 yards by 40 yards granted on the 26 may, 1849 to the superintending missionary at Kotte by Hendrick Juwanis , Andiris, Gabriel, Marco and Bastian Peiris: “ Given to the Church Missionary society for the purpose of holding divine service and also for the building of a Church.” The Church was constructed in May 1850. The value of the land was estimated at 2-5shillings.

The Rev. Isaah Wood obtained a sum of money from the CMS local fund for the building of the Church, and one year later pounds 18 were obtained for the completion of the verandahs. On the 10 November, 1885 two roods and five perches of land were bought for Rs 21 to form a part of the Church cemetery, and in 1929 another rood was added making the total extent of the Church land a little over one acre.

In 1940, St. John’s Church and cemetery were transferred from the Church Missionary Trust Association Ltd to the Diocese.

In 1879, the Ceylon Diocesan Gazette refers to the Nawala, Nugegoda and bewila (Udahamulla) chapels being licensed for marriages, and in 1881, the visit of Bishop Johnson, metropolitan of India and Ceylon to Nugegoda on his return from Kotte is mentioned.

When Dr. R.S Copleston, Metropolitan visited Kotte in 1912 for an evening service and garden party, Nugegoda appears to have been omitted from the itinerary.

(The next visit of a Metropolitan was when His Grace, the Metropolitan Lakdasa De Mel came on an official visit soon after his appointment). On 31 December 1918, it is on record that there were 397 Christians in the Nugegoda pastorate.

The Kotte Mission flourished under the missionaries who served there, and in 1909, a portion of the District was cut off and placed in the independent charge of the Rev. G.S Amarasekera and referred to as the Nugegoda Pastorate. During his period as Incumbent, the Rev. Amarasekera collected funds and built a parsonage.

The first pastor in Nugegoda was the Rev. James Andries De Livera (1864). He died in December 1868 and is buried in the churchyard.

In 1911, Rev. J.P Ramanayake became Incumbent of the Pastorate of St. John’s Church, Nugegoda, Christ Church, Mirihana, Nawala and Kirillipone. During his Incumbency, Nugegoda became an independent pastorate. In 1923, the AGM meeting of St. John’s Church authorized the Church Committee to take “necessary steps to build a new Church at Nugegoda or improve or enlarge the existing one.” On Palm Sunday 1927 it was agreed “that the new Church he built according to modern requirements.”

In June 1930, the Rev. Percy E Wickremasinghe took charge as Incumbent. Rev. Wickremasinghe laboured ceaselessly for the progress of the Church and the development of the schools. Under his management the English Mixed School was separated into schools for girls and boys in 1934. In 1931, Christopherson Hall was built to meet the needs of the English School. In Church, the sanction of the Patronage Board was obtained and the parishioners gifted ornaments for use on the altar.

A parish monthly paper began to be issued, and electric lighting was installed in Church. A daily Eucharist was begun as a regular feature.

In 1935, The Mampe-Liyanwela area was added to the Nugegoda Mission. Also in 1935, a sanctuary, choir stall, Lady Chapel and Vestry were built. The East Wall of the old Church was demolished, and the new Church was constructed to the East of the old one. There were many new gifts and furniture and fittings which added to the beauty of the Church. The new portion with all the fittings wee dedicated to Bishop Mark Carpenter-Garnier on 14 April, 1936.

In 1939 and 1940 the new Church was completed and renamed the Church of S.S. Mary and John, Nugegoda.

In the 1940’s a new vestry was built to the memory of Rev. Percy Wickremasinghe. The two Lady Chapels of Christ the King and God the Holy Spirit were used for the week-day services.

Name From To Remarks
Rev. J. A. De Livera 1864 1882 Worked under Missionaries of Kotte
Rev. H. W. Kannangara 1882 1884 Worked under Missionaries of Kotte
Rev. D. Jayasinghe 1884 1887 Worked under Missionaries of Kotte
Rev. G. S. Amerasekara 1887 1904 Worked under Missionaries of Kotte
Rev. G. S. Amerasekara 1904 1909 The Church of St. John the Evangelist
Rev. J. H. Wickramanayake 1909 1911 The Church of St. John the Evangelist
Rev. J. P. Ramanayake 1911 1930 The Church of St. John the Evangelist
Rev. P. E. Wickramasinghe 1930 1942 The Church of St. John the Evangelist
Rev. P. E. Wickramasinghe 1942 1944 The Church of SS. Mary & John
Rev. Canon. T. A. M. Jayaweera 1945 1969 The Church of SS. Mary & John
Rev. Geoffrey Misso 1969 1972 The Church of SS. Mary & John
Rev. Godwin Weerasuriya 1972 1978 The Church of SS. Mary & John
Rev. Roger Herft 1979 1982 The Church of SS. Mary & John
Rev. Joshua Ratnam 1983 1984 The Church of SS. Mary & John
Rev. Eardly Mendis 1984 1985 The Church of SS. Mary & John
Rev. Bernard Perera 1985 1988 The Church of SS. Mary & John
Rev. Gamini Serasinghe 1989 1996 The Church of SS. Mary & John
Rev. Canon Lloyd 1996 2002 The Church of SS. Mary & John
Rev. Bennet balasinghe 2002 2005 The Church of SS. Mary & John
Rev. Ven. Devapriya de Silva 2005 2007 The Church of SS. Mary & John
Rev. Sydney Knight 2007 2007 The Church of SS. Mary & John
Rev. Jubilee Ponniah 2007 2010 The Church of SS. Mary & John
Rev. Jayanth Jeyaveerasingham 2010 2012 The Church of SS. Mary & John
Rev. Dushyantha Rodrigo 2012 todate The Church of SS. Mary & John

Contact Details

Postal Address
St. Mary & John Church, No. 3, Stanley Thilakeratne Mw, Nugegoda, Sri Lanka
0114 - 87 28 14

bishop of colombo rt revd dushantha rodrigo


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