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The Christian Reformed Church in Sri Lanka (formerly known as the Dutch Reformed Church in Sri Lanka) is the oldest Protestant church on the island.

History

Beginnings and development

In a Galle on 6 October 1642 was the first Protestant ministration after Willem Jacobszoon Coster captured the fort in 1640. Protestantism was introduced in Sri Lanka in 1658 by Dutch missionaries after the Dutch defeated the Portugueseon the island. When the Dutch took over there were already three religions was present, Buddhism, Hinduism and Catholicism. All Roman Catholic churches, schools, and monasteries were transferred to the Dutch Reformed Church. The Church membership grew rapidly in the 18th century there were over 53,000 members in Colombo and 200,000 in Jaffna. the reformed faith was propagated by its schools. During a period the Reformed Church was the state religion. The Dutch period started in 1656 and lasted until late 1700. In 1796 the British occupied the Maritime Province of Ceylon, and Ceylon remained BritishCrown Colony for the next 150 years. When the island become a British colony, many Dutch predicants left and the church system collapsed. In the 19th and 20th centuries church membership consisted of the Burghers, this word means citizens, they are not necessarily of Dutch origin, but were persons of Calvinist adherence. But in the 19th century membership begin to broaden, with separate Tamil and Singhala congregations being formed.

Recent history

In 1992 the church announced its 350th anniversary. The church is the oldest Protestant denomination in the island of Sri Lanka, and the Wolvendaal (which means the ‘Valley of Wolves’) Church is the oldest Protestant church in use in the country of Sri Lanka, it celebrated its 250th anniversary in 2007.[3][4] Interest was made the increase and broaden the church membership. In 2008 the Church changed its name to Christian Reformed Church in Sri Lanka.

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