St.Luke’s Church Borella

Vernon spent his early childhood in Borella where his father Reverend Canon Ivan Corea was Vicar of St.Luke’s Church Borella for over 25 years.

Here is a history of St.Luke’s Church Borella:

St.Luke's Church Borella

St. Luke’s Church is situated in the Borella district of Colombo, the capital city of Sri Lanka. The church plays an important role within the history of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) on the island and still remains a dominant figure within the Anglican Church in Sri Lanka.

Service of Dedication in 1881

Venerable Lorenz Beven, Archdeacon of Colombo noted that ‘ The development of Maradana in consequence of the establishment of hospitals in that area created the necessity for a Church.The first steps were taken at a meeting held on the 5th October, 1875 when it was decided to appeal for subscriptions. A piece of land nearly two acres in extent was acquired, the price paid being £300 per acre. The foundation was laid by the Reverend J.Ireland Jones on 8th October 1881 who also took the service of dedication on the 30th June 1881. The rapid growth of the work in this Parish called for the enlargement of the Church and in 1937 a building scheme was launched and completed in time for the extended church to be consecrated by Bishop Horseley in 1941, the Diamond Jubilee Year of the Church.’

Sinhalese Architecture

Reverend Canon Ivan Corea and his wife Ouida Corea on the second row at St.Luke's Church Borella.

The church is one of the finest examples of traditional Sinhalese architecture. The church has very unusual architecture – the clergyman behind the new design was Reverend Canon Ivan Corea who was Vicar of St.Luke’s Church Borella for 25 years(1929-1954).Canon Corea started a massive building program in the 1930s. Bishop Horsley, who was Bishop of Colombo, consecrated the Church on the day of its diamond jubilee on June 30th 1941. St.Luke’s Church was in the forefront of missionary activity including ministering to medical professionals in Colombo. A regular service was held at 5.30 am to cater to the needs of medical professionals before they went on duty in the local hospitals.

Radio Ceylon at St.Luke’s Church

When Radio Ceylon, the world’s second oldest radio station became a public corporation in January 1967 and changed its name to the Ceylon Broadcasting Corporation, a service of thanksgiving was held at St.Luke’s Church, Borella. The service was attended by national and international broadcasters including the Director-General of CBC, Neville Jayaweera.

The choir of St. Luke’s Church has been featured on several Christmas and Easter radio programs over the airwaves of Radio Ceylon and subsequently the Sri Lanka Broadcasting Corporation. Famed Sri Lankan musicians were members of the St.Luke’s Choir – including the big band musician Douglas Meerwald.

Several Bishops of Colombo of the Church of Ceylon have served as former vicars and curates of St.Luke’s Church, Borella, during their ministries, among them Bishop Cyril Abeynaike, Bishop Swithin Fernando and Bishop Kenneth Fernando.