By Dr. Sohail Ansari
St Andrew’s Day – 30th November
St Andrew’s Church of Scotland
Andrew the Apostle, also known as Saint Andrew, was the first disciple of Jesus. He was crucified on 30 November 60 AD.A church was built in Karachi in 1868 by the Church of Scotland for the Scottish presbyterian mission in British India and named after him. Its architect was T G Newnham who was a resident engineer of the Sindh Railway. The foundation stone was laid in February 1867 by Robert Napier, Commander-in-Chief of the Army at Bombay. The building was completed the following year at a cost of Rs. 56,300 of which Rs. 25,000 were contributed by the Government. The church is built in gothic with a blend of Romanesque style with arches. The entrance of the church, by means of the octagonal porch, is unusual in its design. The lighting effect is created by the large rose window, which is eighteen feet in diameter. The nave of St Andrew’s is over one hundred feet long and provides seating for 400 people. The Church is located opposite Jehangir Park (Regal Chowk) in Saddar area and its plot measures 13,723 square yards .It was stated in this property document that land of the church would not be sold in any kind of shape even by congregation or government and that it is totally and finally for Christian prayer services. A letter written by Lamhert Major, the then collector to Karachi to the then assistant chaplain W. Middleton vouches for the mentioned fact, ‘That they will bind themselves forever not to erect any building on the ground except the Church alone, no parsonage or dwelling house of any sort except, if necessary, a gatehouse, and not the latter until after the plan has been approved by the Managing Committee (of Karachi Municipality)’.There is a marble cenotaph in the grounds which commemorates the dead of the Highland Light Infantry stationed in Karachi from 1898 to 1899. Pews in the church commemorate tours of duty of the Royal Scots Fusiliers in the 19th and 20th centuries.Brass plaques, on the back wall of the church, list the names of prominent Scots who died here. Lieutenant Colonel John Stewart Cooper of the Sindh Volunteer Rifle Corps in 1909, James David Wilson in 1919 and Agnes Drummond Carstairs in 1935.The following was a report from 1920:
A special service was held in St. Andrew’s Church of Scotland, on Sunday in commemoration of St. Andrew and those Scotchmen who gave their lives in the war. Masons of the local Lodges under the Scottish constitution attended with regalia in a procession. The service was conducted by Rev. C. C. Pitcairn Hill, who preached an eloquent sermon. The band of the Border Regiment assisted in the service. A large collection was taken in aid of the Orphanage for Scottish children at Bombay, and the Lady Dufferin Hospital at Karachi.Generations were also christened at St Andrew’s. The last name in the cradle roll is a David Malcolm Reed who was born or christened on December 20, 1965.It ceased to be their responsibility in 1970 when Pakistan’s protestant churches united to form the Church of Pakistan. However the Scottish church, as it is locally known, is a monument to its former congregation.
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