Article From "The Tidings"

Title- Bangalore Church Dedication
Author- E.M.Meleen
Date- Feb 15, 1935

On January 26 our new English Church building in Bangalore was dedicated. This was just five months after the beginning of the construction on August 25. The building is solidly constructed of the fine granite which abounds in Bangalore. The design according to which it is built was chosen because it lends itself to economical construction, and is at the same time attractive if not of the usual church style. And since funds were very limited, members of the church having borne almost the entire cost of the building work, this was an important item in its planning. Nearly 200 men and women were present at the dedication service, which shows that the seating capacity of the main floor and gallery is easily 250 or 300, for it was not filled to its greatest capacity. It is so built that two Sabbath school rooms can easily be added to the main room if it becomes necessary to increase the size. It presents a very fine appearance, and even we who have had to do with its construction, are surprised as we look at it in its finished state, that it could be provided at so moderate a cost.

The church has attracted considerable attention in Bangalore, whose church goers have been taught that S.D.A’s. are a people who come and go without any stability about their work. The following
news item from the Bangalore Daily Post gives an account of the dedication service.

“The new church erected by the Seventh-Day Adventist Mission on Cunningham Road was dedicated for divine worship on Saturday evening last. “There was a large attendance of church members and friends and the gallery was occupied by the students of the South India Training School, Krishnarajapuram.
“At the appointed hour the missionaries conducting the service took their places on the dais and the first stanza of the hymn `Holy Spirit, Light Divine’ was sung. Pastor E. M. Meleen, Superintendent of the South
India Union extended a hearty welcome to all present and expressed the hope of seeing them on future occasions. The proposal he said, to build a church was made some years ago, but only within the last year was the undertaking made possible through the sacrifice and liberality of the church members.

“After the singing of the hymn ‘Faith of Our Fathers’ Pastor T, J. Michael (Poona) read from the Scripture King Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple he built at Jerusalem, and Pastor H. G. Woodward (Travancore) offered an earnest and appropriate prayer.


“Pastor H. C. Christensen (Ceylon) then delivered the sermon. He said that these are days of intense missionary endeavour throughout the world, and the divine prediction ‘this Gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations, then shall the end come’ is being fulfilled. Men and women in every nation, of every colour and class, are being gathered into the church, and the church today is indeed ‘a house of prayer for all people.’

“Science, invention, and education have built up great and successful organizations,but to build the church of God by these means is but to fail, for God must be the master-builder or they that build labour in vain.
“The darkness is deepening, and the present twilight indicates the fulfilment of the prediction that ‘darkness shall cover the earth and gross darkness the people’ in the last days. The churches and institutions dedicated to the service of God, the ministry whereof will reveal the glorious character of God, should stand as lights in the darkness. “The gloom had deepened over ancient Judah, hope had fled, and this people had lost their king and kingdom and felt that the God of their fathers had forgotten them. Jehovah sent them a message to revive hope. This message contains one of the most sublime revelations of God found in the sacred volume. He is there revealed as the God of Comfort to meet the need of a distressed people. He was also revealed as the King of this kingless people, and as a Judge to judge the enemies of God’s people, and as a Shepherd to His own scattered sheep. He is also revealed as the Creator and Upholder of all things. This revelation was what Judah needed and is what a world in darkness needs today. A world of sorrow is in dire need of the God of Comfort.

“The ministry of this revelation of God is one to which this house is dedicated. A failure to fulfil this mission would be a tragedy. With the dedication of this building we, as members, should dedicate
ourselves to this Divine ministry that the purpose of the erection of this building and its ministry shall not be in vain. “At the conclusion of the sermon Pastor A. E. Rawson (Bangalore City) offered the dedicatory prayer, invoking God’s blessing on the house that had been built for the glory and honour of His name. The doxology followed and an impressive service concluded by the benediction being pronounced by Pastor H. A. Hansen (Ceylon). “The special music provided on the occasion consisted of two pianoforte solos by Mrs. A. S. Boykin, a violin solo by Mr. A.Krijoff, and a quartette by Pastors Meleen, Michael and Hunter, and Mr. A. C. Boykin.”

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Attr.- Adventist Digital Library



With Pastor and Members (Undated)

September 15, 1945

October 15, 1946



CEC's First Wedding

Pastor Sadanala and Lily John celebrated their 80th wedding anniversary on December 14, 2018. Mr. Sadanala John and Miss Lily Surappa were the first couple to be married in the, newly constructed, Central English Church, Bangalore, on December 14, 1938. Pastor Sadanala is 102 and Lily is 95 years of age.

The Washington Post put out an article about their marriage. Read the article below.

By Ellen Mccarthy on Dec 13, 2013

Lily John wasn’t thinking 75 years into the future when she married her husband, Sadanala. At the time, the retirement age in India was 58, so they figured they’d be lucky to have 40 or 50 years together. Besides, who can conceive of the next 71 / 2 decades when you haven’t even reached your 16th birthday? Many of Lily’s friends and relatives were opposed to the marriage. “Everyone said, ‘She’s too young,’ ” recalls Lily, now 90 and still beautiful, with long gray hair pulled back into a bun. They met in Bangalore, where Sadanala came to attend junior college from his hometown on the east coast. He’d gone to a Seventh-day Adventist high school and converted to Christianity as a teenager.

Lily’s family belonged to the Bangalore church he joined, and because they spoke the same regional language, they often invited Sadanala home for meals after services. He was a quiet man in his early 20s, known to be a hard worker, and often after dinner he and Lily would sit talking. “And sometimes the talks went longer and longer,” Lily says with a schoolgirl’s giggle. Soon she was walking him to and from the train he took to get to church.

Another suitor was also interested in Lily, but she refused his entreaties for a commitment. “I said, ‘I have to find my own. The one who I like,’ ” she recalls.

Less than a year after they met, she and Sadanala decided to marry. Despite the concerns of some in the community, Lily’s parents supported the union. Sadanala was kind and ethical and had a salary working as an accountant for the church. On Dec 14, 1938, almost 200 people came to watch as they exchanged vows at the Seventh-day Central Church in Bangalore.

Despite the joyful wedding, newlywed life proved difficult. Lily had to leave high school before graduating and quickly became pregnant with her first child. The church transferred Sadanala to the west coast of India, where their son, Edwin, was born. But when he was 9 months old, the baby became constipated and was treated with castor oil. It was administered through a tracheotomy that caused the child to stop breathing. Their happy, healthy baby was suddenly dead.

Sadanala was away on business at the time. “I thought God was cruel to me,” Lily recalls. “And I was just 16.”

Click to Enlarge Image

Despite their grief, life kept marching on. Soon came a daughter, Helen, and another daughter, Irene. Their son Mervyn was born in 1944, and Daniel arrived five years later. When the children were school age, the family settled back in Bangalore. Sadanala’s paycheck always seemed to run out by the middle of every month. Lily made the children’s clothing by hand and found ways to scrimp by but insisted that there always be new books in the house.

“It was a real struggle,” Lily says. “But we saw that all the children have the best education. That was my own point.”

Sadanala could have earned a higher salary working as an accountant elsewhere, but the church and their faith was central to their lives. “We went through difficult times, but through it all, God has helped,” says Sadanala, who now requires a hearing aid and is slowed by diabetes, but at 97 remains in remarkably good health.

When the children got older, Lily began teaching school. Soon the children were enrolled in college, and the oldest and youngest continued to medical school. In 1970, the couple’s middle daughter and her husband moved to the Washington area. Two years later, Lily came over with Helen, an obstetrician.

At age 49, Lily enrolled in a course to get her GED and then studied to become a nurse, a dream she had held since she was a young girl. Two years later, Sadanala retired after 39 years of service with the church and joined Lily in the States. He found accounting work in a Florida Avenue glass factory and became a diehard Redskins fan.

By the late 1970s, the whole family was reunited in the Washington area, where they now live within a half-hour from each other and gather every Friday night for potluck dinners with Lily and Sadanala’s five grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

On Sunday, the couple will mark their 75th anniversary with a party for 300 people at the South Asian Seventh-day Adventist Church in Silver Spring. But Lily often remarks to her children that it doesn’t seem possible that three-quarters of a century has passed since she stood as a bride. “It went by quite fast,” she says with a smile from the kitchen table of their son Mervyn’s Laurel home, where they now live.

The key to their longevity, Lily says, is mutual understanding and commitment. There was never a thought of divorce or separation. “We had financial problems and others. But no blaming because we are in this state,” she says. “We managed. No criticizing and fighting — that was the main thing. Support each other. That’s my advice.”

Their four children say Lily and Sadanala raised them with an emphasis on faith, family and personal responsibility. If one of them made a mistake, it was their responsibility to make it right. None of them can remember either of their parents gossiping or telling so much as a white lie.

“And they’re very good communicators,” Mervyn says. “They keep each other very well informed and know exactly what’s being done. So they’re close in that respect.”

Lily and Sadanala’s example, says son Daniel, taught their children and grandchildren that “no matter what, you keep going. You don’t give up. Every problem can be solved if you’re willing to talk it through.”

Looking back, Sadanala says, he couldn’t have made it without God’s help — or Lily’s. “She stood by me in every effort,” he says. “So she was a great support to me. And I must thank her for all these 75 years she stood by me. I’m grateful to her.”

“And the remaining years I do not know,” he continues. “But God knows. We are in his hands. We have nothing to fear. And I have my good children, who will take care of us to the end.”

Read the article from the Washington Post