Macfarlane Memorial Church in Kalimpong is a classically excellent and a remarkable architectural feat built during British rule. Sketched in the Scottish church style, this extraordinary church in Kalimpong belongs to the Gothic Revival school of architecture. It’s tower and pinnacles that further enhances its grandeur was added later. Visible from almost every region of Kalimpong, the church stands as an exceptional visual delight and a remarkable landmark located near to the heart of town.
Tracing back the ‘history of MacFarlane Memorial Church Kalimpong‘ this magnificent Church is 128 years old from the time of its foundation stone being laid on and 127 years from the time of its dedication. Its foundation stone was laid on 24 February 1890 and it was inaugurated on 1st November 1891.
Mc Farlane Memorial Church, Kalimpong was constructed under the supervision of Scottish Missionary – William Sutherland with the help of a few locals. The church was named after Rev. William MacFarlane who was the first Scottish Missionary to visit Darjeeling in 1870 and the first missionary to come to Kalimpong. William MacFarlane was the first person to take initiative for setting up the first missionary schools in Kalimpong, He also helped to uplift the poor Tibetan community in Kalimpong.
Since the inception, Mc Farlane Memorial Church has remained a visually captivating part of Kalimpong town. The Church celebrated the 125th-anniversary on 28th March 2016. It hosted love feast and the programs for youths, women, and senior citizens till 1st November 2016. Various churches and schools from the hill town joined in this much awaited and joyous celebration.
Prior to attaining the glorious 125 years old, the Church went through a meticulous renovation as it was severely damaged by the earthquake that hit the state of Sikkim on 18th September 2011. After the critical damage caused to the bell tower, pinnacles, topmost slab, and interiors, the church remained closed for more than 2 years and reopened in the month of December in 2013. A joint restoration committee of 11 members from the Church of North India (CNI) and the breakaway United Church of North India (UCNI) was created to supervise the work of restoring the Church to its former glory. The process of restoration of the building started in February 2012.
The interior of the church was repainted along with the tower. Today, the restored Church looks more beautiful and stronger, as it is reinforced with steel. The tower, pinnacles are restored with extra steel strengthening through the interior. The doors and windows were replaced too. The gross expense of restoration came to about INR. 73 lakh. The money was contributed and raised from Church members in the Hills.
Like in the former days, ‘Macfarlane Memorial Church Kalimpong’ will observe a vibrant and festive Christmas Celebration this year with prayers and worship and in the forthcoming years. In its initial years, the sermons were addressed in 10 different languages so that word of God can be reached and understood by multiracials. Today, the sermon is addressed in only one dialect, that is Nepali.
Even though the designs and the vogue of ‘Mc Farlane Memorial Church Kalimpong’ are Scottish, the workers employed for its construction were the locals or the native inhabitants.
Also Read: St. Andrew’s Church, Darjeeling