The Chapel of the Good Shepherd
The dedication of the School Chapel on Tuesday 7th November (1961) marked an important landmark in the history of the School. When in 1942 the School buildings in Colombo were taken over by the Navy, the whole boarding house had to be moved to Bandarawela, where Mr. Keble had just opened the Up-country branch in a rented bungalow, which is now occupied by Messrs. Walker Sons & Co. Ltd. Everything was extremely make shift as we were not able to bring any of the School furniture from Colombo, owing to the absence of transport, both railway and road refusing to carry our goods. A year later, when the School moved down the hill to the bungalow that Mr. Hulugalle so very generously lent us to house the rapidly growing School, the Navy sent up a lorry load of odds and ends of School furniture, which included that of the Chapel. At first we had only a mud walled, earthen-floored shed which was our Chapel. A little later, Mr. Keble bought a large steel- framed and tagaram-walled cattle shed, which was put upon Mr. Hulugalle’s land near the bungalow, and divided into Chapel, Office, Classrooms and a tiny two-roomed flat for Mr. & Mrs. Keble.
Ceremony: Laying of the foundation stone
When planning the layout of the School, one of the first spots Mr. Keble decided on was the site for the Chapel, on the top of the hill where, as he said, it would stand up like a beacon and be seen from all sides. The temporary Chapel was in one of the rooms of the first building - Wijewardane House. We had set aside the offertories at the Chapel services to be the beginning of a “Chapel Fund” but some of this had to be used for fitting up the temporary Chapel, as.the things sent up by the Navy did not include seats. Cannon Boteju who was Vicar of the Bandarawela Church, and acted as School Chaplain dedicated this Chapel in 1946.
Mr. Keble and some of the boys and staff cleared and levelled the site for the permanent Chapel, even the Kindergarten doing their share: In the first term of 1956 the large block of classrooms on the top of the hill was opened and the office and Headmaster’s room were moved from Wijewardane House to the new building and the Chapel was transferred to the vacated part of Wijewardane House, which was slightly larger than the one previously in use. Mr. Keble had prepared plans, and beautiful pencil drawings of the Chapel he hoped to built on the permanent site. These, sad to say, mysteriously vanished shortly after he left Ceylon.
These plans would have been too expensive to carry out in detail, under the present conditions, so have been slightly modified, but the general character of the plan has been retained. Thanks to many generous donations in money and in materials, from parents and friends of the school, we were able to have the laying of the foundation stone on St. Michael’s Day 1959, when the Bishop of Colombo came and officiated at the ceremony. It was a beautiful service, and the Bishop of Kurunegala, a very old friend of Mr. Keble as they were fellow students at Oxford, and many clergy and members of the local congregations were present.
There have been many delays and hindrances but at last to our great joy we have realized our dream, and have a real place of worship, more worthy of its purpose. “A Chapel set on a hill” where services can be held in a proper atmosphere of quiet and reverence undisturbed by incoming cars, and other school traffic. Our great regret is that Mr. and Mrs. Keble are not able to see it and rejoice with us.
We are thankful to Mr. E.C.R. Schockman who drew up the plans for the Chapel and Mr. K.C. Bartholomeusz, one of our parents and a good friend of the school, who supervised the building of the Chapel till he left Ceylon to settle down in Australia last July.
We are thankful to Mr. L.B. Werapitiya, one of our parents, who made available the satin timber necessary for the doors and window frames.
We are deeply grateful to Mr. S.C.Fernando who built the Bandarawela Town Hall, for rapidly coming to our aid, when the original contractor disappointed us. Mr Fernando and his able assistant Mr.W.J. Kulasiri of Moratuwa have spared no pains in completing this beautiful edifice. It has been a labour of love for them.
Our grateful thanks are due to the numerous friends and parents, members of the staff and pupils who have contributed liberally towards the building and furnishing of the Chapel.
The above article on the Chapel of the Good Shepherd was first published in the School Magazine of 1961
Chaplains of the school
- Rev. Charles David
- Ven. Dhiloraj Canagasabey (2009-2010)
- Rev. Pradeep Jesudian (January 2004 - December 2008)
- Ven. Dhiloraj Canagasabey
- Rev. Jayantha Jeyaweerasingham
- Rev. Douglas Amarathunga
- Rev. Henry Perera
- Rev. Gamini Serasinghe
- Rev. Goodchild
- Rev. Edison Mendis
- Rev. George Jeerasinghe