CHENNAI: The Waterbury Memorial Telugu Baptist Church at Perambur - the first Telugu church in Chennai - is all set to celebrate its 125th anniversary from October 1.
Built by an American named Rev Norman Mather Waterbury in 1886, the church is the result of his exceptional sacrifices. According to Pastor Madanmohan, he (Waterbury) was appointed as a missionary to India by the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society. “He arrived at Perambur with his wife in November 1881 and started working among the Telugu speaking population residing in the area. They mostly concentrated on the well-being of labourers, whose wards got an opportunity to learn both English and Telugu,” he added. The American mastered Telugu in just five years and even authored five books in that language.
Unfortunately, he said, Waterbury died on November 11, 1886, the day fixed for dedicating the new church building. “Both his funeral service and the church dedication were conducted simultaneously,” he noted.
In a bid to recall the contributions of Waterbury for the Telugu speaking people through his church, its authorities have decided to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the church between October 1 and 3.