Ex-Lawrencian Remembers Ooty’s Ascension Church

The Ascension Church at Lovedale sits at the heart of The Lawrence School campus and, till 1949, was the focal point of a lot of activities. Till 1949 the Girls’ School was separate and the church was the place where all three schools — Boys, Girls, and Prep came together.

The 105-old Ascension Church locate inside The Lawrence School campus in Lovedale
The 105-old Ascension Church locate inside The Lawrence School campus in Lovedale

Sir Henry Lawrence had specified that the Principal should always be a Protestant priest. Religious instruction was compulsory, though the Catholics attended their own church just outside the campus.

Marching to Church 1947 Picture Courtesy: aravalli56
Marching to Church 1947 Picture Courtesy: aravalli56

Till 1949, Church Parade was held every Sunday. Children had to wear their ceremonial uniform and the band led the parade. In 1949, the school was converted from a military to a public school. Old traditions continued and the actual change took several years. Even now, the school can be called a semi-military school.

When I joined in 1952, we still wore the ceremonial uniform to attend church. While there was no Church Parade, we had to form up into a squad at the Boys School and march down to church. Gradually, this was relaxed. We no longer had to wear the ceremonial uniform and we could stroll down to church. Attendance also became optional, though children were always encouraged to attend religious services of their respective faiths.

 Church Parade 1945 Picture Courtesy: telstra1980

Over the years, the church has accumulated brass plaques in memory of departed souls. As with any ancient church, it has seen its share of weddings, baptisms and funerals.

One tradition remained from the old military days. Near the end of the school year, an assembly of all three schools would be held on the lawn behind the church. This was the annual train parade. Children would be assigned to the different batches — Madras, Bangalore, Kharagpur etc — and introduced to their teacher escorts who would take them home to their parents.

This article is written by J Thomas, an ex-Lawrencian who attended The Ascension Church from 1952 to 1957.

Read more about the Ascension Church here – link.

2 thoughts on “Ex-Lawrencian Remembers Ooty’s Ascension Church

  • Avatar
    May 6, 2016 at 4:20 pm
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    Good to see the photo I coloured, displayed, also the B&W I submitted..

    Reply
  • Avatar
    May 6, 2016 at 4:23 pm
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    I believe the sergeant leading the parade ( for the purpose of this photo) is Peter Forkgen, who now resides in the US.

    Reply

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