Oxford Mission, a century old church in Barisal
While roaming the streets of Barisal city, a majestic red brick colonial structure drew my attention. From far it looks like a huge locomotive designed with beautiful archways and a dome on the top. If you have already seen it, you know what I am talking about.
It is the Oxford Mission Epiphany Church, a century old church situated beside Bogra Road in Barisal.
In the early twentieth century, the ancient river port city attracted many Christian missionaries. Those who came from Europe to visit the city built the church and school here. An England-based missionary, the Oxford mission started its journey in this region at the end of the 19th century.
The church was built in 1903 from a sketch by Sister Edith. Father Strong later completed the project around 1907.
The building has been designed following Greek architecture. Although it looks like a four or five-storied building from the outside it is in reality a single floor with a large Prayer Hall. There are many doors on the three sides of the main structure.
There are forty archways and many corridoors to strengthen the main structure of the church. The large cross on the main altar was brought from Bethlehem. The interior has been designed with wood carvings and the floor including the baptism bath basin decorated with marble tiles.
The church also runs a number of philanthropic activities in Barisal-- primary and secondary schools, girls’ schools, hospitals, libraries, students’ hostel and so on.
The Epiphany Oxford Mission Church stands witness to hundred years’ of communal harmony in Bangladesh.