Methodist Church Sri Lanka

The story of the beginning of Methodist church in Ceylon
“I am now dead to Europe and alive to India. God , Himself has said to me, ‘Go to Ceylon’. I am fully convinced of the will of God , that He thinks I had rather be set naked on the coast of Ceylon, without clothes and without friends than not go there.”

These were the triumphant words uttered by Dr Thomas Coke, when the British Conference ultimately gave him its reluctant permission for Dr Coke to proceed to Ceylon with his team. the Conference had very good reasons why Dr Coke should not be allowed to take this hazardous journey- his old age, poor health, language problem, finance and the need for his presence in England. Ultimately his tears and sincerity and an offer of Stg. 6000/- out of his own money, obtained for him, permission of the Conference.

Dr Coke left London on 31 December 1813 with Benjamin Clough, William Martin Harvard, William Ault, James Lynch, George Erskine and Thomas Hall Squance . Clough and Harvard embarked on the ‘Cabvava,’ while others were on the ‘Lady Melville.’

During the early part of the journey, Mrs. Ault died and was buried at sea. Dr Coke himself was found dead in his cabin, on his knees on 3 May 1814, and was buried in the Indian Ocean. The others arrived at Weligama on 29 June 1814, six months after they stared their journey.


Distribution of the Church.

  • William Martin Harvard built the first historic Methodist Church, in 1816.( This incidentally, is the first Methodist church in Asia.)
  • Today there are over 150 churches, 40 of which are more than 100 years old.
  • The Department of Evangelism was set up in 1985 and functions as the mission arm of the church.
  • The training of the evangelists is carried out in Kal Eliya, (Singhala) and Kalkudah, (Tamil)

Missionary Education.

  • The Methodist Church started schools in Colombo, Jaffna, Mannar, Batticaloa, Galle and Matara areas. At the time of the schools in Colombo, Jaffna, Mannar, Batticaloa, Galle and Matara areas.
  • The Methodist Church had 177 schools of these, 175 were taken over, leaving just two schools, one for boys (Wesley College) and for girls, (Methodist College), both in Colombo.
    • The Church celebrate his 150th anniversary of the first arrival of the first missionaries on the 29th June 1964.It was also the day on which the Sri Lanka Church became an Autonomous Body.
    • Rev. Frederic Stanley de Silva was the first President of the Autonomous Conference of the Methodist Church, Ceylon.

Social Service
The church has vigorous social service programme with

  • 22 Children Homes.
  • 85 Day Care Centres and Pre- Schools.
  • 7 Elders Home.
  • Vocational Training Centers.
  • 2 Farms.
  • 1 Hospital.
  • 2 Secondary Schools.
  • A few Medical Clinics and 3 on-going Refugee Camps.

The St. Luke’s Methodist Hospital is one of the rural Hospitals in Puttur in the Jaffna Peninsula. This Hospital has 15 beds serving the community in puttur. It does not have a full time resident doctor but visiting physicians from the Jaffna hospital assist us by attending to the patients. This Hospital is strategically placed, at a central point between Jaffna and Point Pedro.


Services to the Youth
The Youth Department overlooks the work of Wesley Guilds, both Senior and Jounior, Youth fellowship & Bible/ Sunday Schools.These institution number over 150, with a membership of over 3500.


Services to the Members
As a church that has about 55% Singhala and 45% Tamil members the church has embarked on a language training programme in the North & the South.

For further information go through the Methodist Churches library.

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