Celebrating 149 Years of The Presbyterian Church

By Stephen Kangal
January 15, 2017

Stephen KangalPeaceful and restful, Aramalaya Church where the PCTT founder, Rev John Morton established his second operational base to spread the Presbyterian brand of protestant evangelism/education to North and Central Trinidad was eminently qualified to host the 8th January 2017 Service of Grateful Praise and Thanksgiving to commemorate and launch the 149th Anniversary Celebrations of the Founding of the Presbyterian Church of T&T (PCTT).

Rev Clifton Mathura was Leader of Worship.

Aramalaya Church
Aramalaya Church

This Communion Service was well supported. Aramalaya, a comfortable idyllic spiritual sanctuary, well adorned, functional and immaculate in décor and appointment was filled to capacity with a glitzy flock of clergy, elders, church workers and simple Presbyterian loyalists. The mellifluous and inspirational anthems/singing rendered by the composite 150th Anniversary Choir conducted by Organist Ms Zara Lachkan supported by Dr Satanand Sharma were the icing on the Anniversary cake that appeared to be missing from the proceedings.

A Song-spirational Session was initiated by a Group from the Valencia Presbyterian Church (below) led by Aerron Harridan that ignited the tone for the subsequent proceedings.

The Valencia Presbyterian Group
The Valencia Presbyterian Group

An interactive format distinguished the impressive and packed Programme. It was instrumental in mobilizing congregational participation, inclusion and involvement in the Prayers of Thanksgiving, Intercession, Approach and Confession and the Statement of Faith led by Rev Damien Sieunarine.

At the end of these prayerful and pertinent interventions printed in the programme, the faithful present got a succinct synopsis of the principal driving historical and spiritual perspectives that underpinned the progressive development and expanding geographical outreach and mission of the PCTT. That mission was aimed initially at evangelizing, emancipating and educating the then colonial statal- neglected and rural -isolated grass- roots of the indentured laboring class beginning in 1868 at Iere Village in Princes Town- some twenty-three years after Indian Arrival in 1845.

No land-mark event such as this one, celebrating and honouring the early foundations and the overcoming the language challenges that confronted the early pioneering Canadian missionaries can be complete and linguistically-correct without invoking the oriental-flavoured Yishu bhajans that formed an essential component of the early worship services geared to appeal to the indentures and their children. A Group (shown below) conducted by Rev Kelvin Sookhansingh from the Diamond Region provided a nostalgic recreation of that game-changing Hindi Bhajan era. It is slowly losing its appeal in the PCTT. It must be noted that the first Hindi Press in Trinidad was established at Aramalaya by the Mortons.

Diamond Regional Mandali
Diamond Regional Mandali

The Service was also punctuated by a video message of greetings received from the Moderator of Synod, the Rt Rev. Annabell Lalla- Ramkhelawan who is at present pursuing theological studies in the USA.

In her absence the acting Moderator, The Rt Rev.Brenda Bullock delivered an appealing, values-studded 149th Anniversary Message to the faithful. She challenged them to create a difference in the life of the Church as it turns 150 in 2018. She exhorted us to redefine ourselves, our mission and our relationship with the God who we serve and towards one another by spreading the gospel of humility as the panacea for building a second Republican fellowship. We must make that qualitative leap as a Church from childhood to adulthood in our beliefs, mission and Presbyterian value systems to foster and promote a new plateau of caring, bridge-building interpersonal relations by relinquishing arrogance, she advised.

The Rt Reverend Brenda Bullock
The Rt Reverend Brenda Bullock

The 150th Anniversary Logo (below) was launched at the Service. An expose of the several symbolic elements and their significance sewn and woven into the final design but faithful nevertheless to the original PCTT logo was provided.

PCTT 149th Anniversary Celebrations
PCTT 149th Anniversary Celebrations

The Commemorative Thanksgiving Service ended with the singing of The Theme song composed for the 150th Anniversary of the PCTT after which a fellowship interface was held at the historic Morton House facility.

Happy 149th Birthday Greetings to all Presbyterians!

Thank you for having made and continuing to make a great difference to the civilization, diversity and strategic human resource capital of Mother T&T!

3 thoughts on “Celebrating 149 Years of The Presbyterian Church”

  1. Congratulations on your 149th anniversary. Rev. Morton was well like by the Indian population, they called him “sahib” and he worked hard to bring education to many rural communities. My mother and her family attended a Presbyterian school, so to my wife and her family. One of the first Bibles I read as a child was located at the top shelf of my family library given by the Presbyterian church. My mother used to sing the Presbyterian hymns in Hindi.

    Rev Morton work in setting up some of the most progressive schools in south, his efforts must be applauded. Iere High School Siparia, Naparima College were the most sought after schools by parents. In fact our first female Prime Minister attended Iere High school Siparia something for all Presbyterians to be proud of. My nephew attended Naparima college and passed all seven subjects.

    Rev. Morton work touched thousands and helped shaped Trinidad by raising several generations of leaders. Amongst them Noor Hassanali who attended Naparima college. What is notable was the way in which the Presbyterians connected TNT history by the names selected. Iere is the native name for Trinidad. Naparima also had its name locked in native history. The hymns they taught were in Hindi and many of their churches bear names that connect to the Hindi language Susamachar church etc.

    Again congratulations be proud of your history, you were a bridge that connected many to a better life. Thank you. Hope your 150th anniversary will be blast and proudly celebrated across the nation.

  2. I am trying to understand why the Presbyterian Church? Christianity has a long history in India since Saint Thomas… As a matter of fact, he was ‘murdered’ there.. Me eh know nah, but Morton should have lobbied for more Christian Indentured Indians to be brought to Trinidad..
    But Anyway, Devant dem don’t seem to think Morton was an honorable human..

    >Early Christian Attacks Against Trinidad Hindus :The Curse of John Morton in Trinidad , 1868-1912 by Devant Maharaj :- An Executive of the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha

    On the 03rd January, 1868 John Morton placed his foot on Trinidadian soil, and Trinidad was never the same again. This year marks 130 years since the arrival of John Morton and 127 years of Dr. Kenneth Grant, and some sections of the Trinidadian society have….<


    1. Of course Sat and Devant would be annoyed with the Presbyterians, same as the upper caste Hindus in India who are bleeping mad for all the chamars and Dalits leaving Hinduism. As the descendant of a chamar I no longer ascribed to the fatalistic views of Hinduism the most oppressive religion along with Islam on this planet. Yes I know the Catholics are right there with priest abusing little boys. But shall a man be a fool ALL the days of his life???

      All my family who attended Presbyterian schools went on to do very very well in life, they became teachers, engineers, road overseers,doctors, educators. I must say they remain Hindu but respected the work of the Presbyterian church. One can argue about the past and the motivations of those who came and built but what one can’t argue against is the reality that is there the work of the Presbyterians remain a testament of upliftment to a people who would have been confined to poverty and backwardness.

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