St. Thomas’ Church School, Howrah founded between 1860 and 1865 by Rev.Dr. William Spencer, Chaplain of St. Thomas’ Church for the education of Anglo-Indian children of Howrah, is one of the largest and most famous schools in Howrah. The school now admits children from all sections of society, irrespective of caste, creed or religion.
The affairs of the school are controlled by an efficient Board of Governors, as determined by the Constitution of St. Thomas’ Church School.
His Grace, The Bishop of Calcutta, is the Chairman of the Board of Governors.
The school campus covers an area of almost 6 ‘bighas’ 17 ‘kathas’. There are playgrounds and the buildings are spacious and airy. The school buildings contain large classrooms, a library, staffrooms, laboratories for Physics, Chemistry, Biology, a Computer room, a Music room and an Art room.
The school academic year consists of 2 terms. The first term extends from April to September and the second term from October to March. In these terms are three vacations – Summer, Puja and Christmas. A list of school holidays and co-curricular activities is printed every year in the school diary.
Subjects taught in the school are in accordance with the ICSE and ISC requirements. Commerce and Science streams are offered. The school prepares students for the ICSE (Class X) and the ISC (Class XII) Examinations, in Science and Commerce streams.
St Thomas’ Church, which was erected in 1830, owes its establishment mainly to the exertions of Rev. Professor Holmes of the East India Company. He was also the Principal of Bishop’s College and wished to provide a place of worship for the local populace.
This Church, spread over five bighas of land, was completed in 1830 and was consecrated in 1832 by Bishop Daniel Wilson. It was named St. Thomas Church in 1843. Prior to that, it was known simply as the Howrah Church. The architect of this Church, which was built in accordance with Gothic architecture, was William Jones. It has a seating capacity of three hundred people.
In 1832 five men and a woman were baptized here from this district and in 1833-34 thirty eight others were accepted for baptisim. They were examined twice by the Bishop who found their conduct to be ‘quite satisfactory’. In 1855 twenty six men and women were prepared for baptisim, but were rejected by the Bishop as they were aspiring only for monetary benefits.
St. Thomas’ Church, Howrah is not without a certain beauty and prettiness. A handsome marble font has been presented to commemorate John Stalkart of Ghoosery who was a member of the Church for over sixty years and whose hospitality was remembered by his friends. The beautiful stained glass windows forming a backdrop to the altar, depict the tragic grandeur of Christ’s crucifixion and have survived the test of time.
The Pastorate Committee of this Church also looks after Sadhu Sunder Singh Girja, St Lukes’ Church, Boikhali,PrabhuJishuGirja (Medinipur,GeonKhali) and Christ Church Liluah. These three Churches are in the Hooghly/Howrah district and come under the Calcutta Diocese. The Church being situated in the cetre of St Thomas’ Church School, flanked by the senior and junior school buildings on either side, is actively used by students and teachers alike. During weekdays the school conducts it morning assemblies here. Special commemorative functions of the school, including Patronal Day, Teachers Day and Prefects Investiture ceremony are held in the hallowed precincts of this place of divine worship.
Today after one hundred and eighty years, as we move towards further milestones in the propagation of the Christian faith and the history of St Thomas’ Church, we go forward with gratitude and gratefulness to God for having instilled us with the Holy Spirit, always remembering that ‘all things come from Him and of His own do we give unto Him’.
The present Chaplin/Presbyter – In – Charge is The Revd. Paritosh Canning who is also the Vice President of the Diocese of Calcutta.
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