Kalimpong’s MacFarlane Memorial Church turns 125 years old

The 125th anniversary celebrations of Kalimpong’s MacFarlane Memorial Church is scheduled to begin from Monday with a gospel choir programme at Town Hall.

Reverend Samuel Lepcha, a member of the Celebration Committee of MacFarlane Memorial Church, Church of North India, Kalimpong, said groups from different churches and schools in the hill town would participate in the event. “We also plan to hold a host of programmes for youths, senior citizens and women leading up to the 125th anniversary on November 1, 2016,” he said.

The church, named after William MacFarlane, the first missionary from the Church of Scotland who visited Darjeeling in 1870, is visible from almost all parts of the town and is the most prominent landmark. The foundation stone of the church was laid on 24 February, 1890, and it was opened on November 1, 1891.

The church was damaged in the Sikkim earthquake of September 18, 2011, and was closed for more than two years. It reopened in December 2013.

Kalimpong's MacFarlane Memorial Church  turns 125 years old
Kalimpong’s MacFarlane Memorial Church – Picture by Chinlop Fudong Lepcha

“The earthquake had caused extensive damage to the interiors and the bell tower. All the pinnacles, including the big four and the small four of the bell tower, were damaged. A slab on the top-most level had also suffered damage,” said Subin Pradhan, an architect from Kalimpong, who was part of a team that worked on the church’s restoration.


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