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Luxettipet church offering livelihood to poor rural folks about 90 years ago

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staff Reporter

A church which was built in the heart of Luxettipet town to propagate Christianity, offering livelihood to the poor who were hit by a famine and providing medical services to the economically disadvantaged rural folks who were crippled by a health crisis, about 90 years ago, still stands as a testimony to the rich heritage and communal harmony in this region.

The Church of South India (CSI) Church-Luxettipet is considered to be the second biggest church in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh after the Medak church and is a heritage structure. It was constructed by Christian missionaries in the centre of the town on a sprawling 69 acres of land in 1935.

“The place of worship was built not only to spread Christianity but to help the financially weak who were affected by famine and some diseases that left a catastrophic impact on the rural folks dwelling in Luxettipet and surrounding villages. Though Reverend CG Early served in Luxettipet from 1920 to 1953, Rev EW Launt made the plans for the church in 1930,” Reverend B Karunakar Rao told ‘Telangana Today.

According to the history of the antique Church, Rev EW Launt had brought material from England to be used in the construction of the structure. He dedicated the Church in 1932. He had gone back to his motherland when he suffered sunstroke. Subsequently, Rev H Bird completed the works and inaugurated it in 1935. Rev CW Posnett re-dedicated it.

Food for work
Eminent sculptors from neighbouring Maharashtra were roped in to construct the exquisite monument. Workers from Uthkur, Modela, Kotturu and Luxettipet villages were employed to construct the church.

Besides the Church, the missionaries established a hospital with state-of-the-art facilities such as operation theatre, X-Ray, and pharmacy, and deployed a dedicated medical staff in 1930. Dr. Israel and Dr. David Francis provided medical services to residents of Luxettipet and peripheral villages. The hospital, however, was abandoned in 2000.

Similarly, the missionaries also founded a school on the premises of the church to offer education from KG to Grade X with a residential complex, Rydal Hostel, to accommodate more than 300 students, both girls and boys separately in the 1920s. Interestingly, the medium of instruction is Telugu. Following the decline in enrolments, steps are being taken to introduce the English language as a medium of instruction soon.

Christmas a big draw
Apart from daily carols and weekly programmes, the annual Christmas, New Year celebrations, Good Friday, Palm Sunday, Easter Day, etc., are celebrated in the Church on a grand note. In particular, the festivities held to mark the birth of Christ see the participation of a large number of devotees belonging to several parts of Telangana, Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Chhattisgarh and America and England.

Serenity of Church
Followers of Hindu and other religions make a beeline to the Church to have community lunch and spend time with children during weekends as the premises of the historical structure and greenery offer a pleasant experience. Around 1,5000 teak plants, many other plant species, and mammoth banyan trees, which are more than 100 years old, many age-old neem trees, and a beautiful garden can be found here.

Gothic architecture
Built-in classic Gothic architecture style, the Church was erected with lime cement locally known as Dangu Sunnam. It has a wider seating space and the highest tower, with inner natural light. The length and width of the Church are approximately 95ft and 70ft. It contains 18 monolithic pillars which were constructed using stones brought from neighbouring hillocks Guvvalagutta, Gudemgutta. The lower and upper windows are covered with beautiful colour-coated glass windows to allow brighter lighting in the daytime. The dome at the altar and pulpit are designed well to preach the foreign religion conveniently. The roof of the church is insulated with composition board material to avoid echo and noise during mass prayers and spiritual activities.

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