London Tamil Christian Congregation

Hammersmith, London, United Kingdom


King Street
Rivercourt Methodist Church
Hammersmith London, United Kingdom


All Services are at 4:00p.m except 3rd Sunday Praise & Worship (4:30 p.m)

rior to 1932 there was no formulation of general principles of a tortious duty of care as regards products. Indeed it had remained somewhat dubious whether or not in the absence of some form of 'privity of contract' the manufacturer owed the ultimate consumer any general duty at all. This rather untenable state of affairs continued until 1932 when the House of Lords in Donoghue v Stevenson laid the general principles of what for convenience can be referred to as the "manufacturer duty." With this momentous decision a wholly new area of law know as the law of negligence was thrust into the twentieth century and it is still a dynamic area of law today. However, it will not be appropriate for me here to go into the details of this case but suffice to say the although tha case came to be heard by the highest Court of Appeal in the United Kingdom, the House of Lords it all started from a simple incident in a small cafe in the remote village of paisley in West Scotland - a bottle of ginger beer sold in a dark coloured opaque bottle was later found to contain the remnants of a decomposed snail when it was finally emptied.

I cited this well known and world famous landmark case relating to the law of negligence because the founding of the popularly referred to "Putney Tamil Church" also had its origin in simple beginnings. The conversation that led to the holding of the first Tamil service started accidentally over a family dinner at the home of Mr. Ranjith and Mrs. Vathani Thangiah at which the late Rev S. W. Arasaretnam and his son Guru were invitees.

The couple took the advantage of the presence of the late Rev. Arasaretnam to engage in, the singing of some popular Tamil lyrics before the prayers were said. They found the experience so emotionally moving that discussions immediately took place to explore the possibility of meeting as a group to worship in Tamil, ideally in the setting of a proper church environment. Rev. Arasaretnam came to England after retiring as a Methodist Minister in Sri Lanka to spend an extended holiday period with his son before departing to the United States to live with his daughter.

While he was here, as a resident in Putney, he became actively involved with the Putney Methodist Church, in fact encouraged to do so and on a few occasions he led the worship for the mainly English congregation. This close association

with his local church enabled him to discuss the issue of holding a Tamil Service with the then Minister in charge Rev. George Farmer who very spontaneously and encouragingly supported the idea.

So on 28th May 1972 Rev. Arasaretnam and his son along with the Thangiah family and their close friends (a small group numbering about ten) met to hold the first Tamil service at the Putney Methodist Church. Encouraged by this successful exploratory start they decided to publicise the next Tamil Service more widely resulting in an attendance of over sixty worshippers at the service held on 25th June 1972. It was at this service the decision was finally made to continue with the experiment of holding a Tamil Service on the fourth Sunday of every month at 4pm at the Putney Methodist Church.

Needless to say that the next monthly service held in July attracted a greater attendance than June and as it transpired a large number of people had spoken to Rev Arasaretnam both in person and over the phone suggesting that we should meet informally to plan for the future. So following the August month's service and fellowship an informal meeting was held chaired by Mr. C. J. Thamotheram at which Rev Arasaretnam outlined his thought for the immediate future. During the meeting following suggestions and nominations from the floor, a core group of seven was formed to act as an unofficial co­ordinating ad hoc committee. We continued to meet as planned on the fourth Sunday of every month at 4pm culminating in our first Tamil Carol Service (probably the first of its kind in the UK) held on 24th December 1972 at 4pmThe church was full, the attendance in the region of 200 or more and it is this re-creation echoing our traditional Tamil Carol Services in our own villages in Sri Lanka that finally set the seal on the permanent continuation of our plannetl monthly services. There was however one major snag because we knew all along that Rev. Arasaretnam was due to depart for the United States sometime in the latter part of 1973. However, we were relieved when we learnt that Rev. Wesley Ariyarajah who was a post-graduate theological student volunteered to take over when the need arose. He was with us for three years until 1975. The subsequent unbroken continuation of the Tamil Christian Congregation and the availability of Ministers to guide us through these 39 years is a great testimony to our God in the way and manner in which He had made all this possible.