The Union Church was constructed in the 19th Century and resembles a typical ancient colonial architecture of design that marks it as a formidable, majestic and magnificent site in Ooty.
The Union Church is considered as one of the important spiritual as well as tourist spots in Ooty that should not be missed. Being one of the oldest churches in the Nilgiris District, the Union Church attracts a large crowd of tourists every year who visit and offer prayers for wishes to be fulfilled.
It is often known that these ancient Churches in Ooty marked the arrival of Christianity and henceforth the consequences and causes of a large religious infiltration that took place during the colonial era in Ooty. The spiritual needs of people who willingly walked into the Christianity faith forced many churches to crop up in Ooty between the 18th and 20th Century including the Union Church that serves as a platform of worship for the numerous evangelical believers residing in Ooty.
The Union Church has been served by numerous Pastors including C. T. Studd, who was a famous English Cricketer.
C. T. Studd gained his cricketing Blue at Trinity College in Cambridge where he became the Captain of the University Cricket Team by 1883 following in the footsteps of his older brother G. B. Studd who held the captaincy of the team, the previous year.
C. T. Studd firmly retained his commitment to religion and against the advice of his family; he arranged to travel to China as a Christian missionary along with 6 of his university friends who joined along for this extraordinary journey.
C. T. Studd is credited for running the Union Church in Ooty from 1900 to 1906 and he even joined a cricket tour in 1894 and made two double centuries. He returned to England but still felt the need for continuing his overseas gospel work and later in 1910, he sailed to Africa and ran a mission in Khartoum after which he traveled to Southern Sudan via a malarial and sickness infected country.
C. T. Studd then planned his next crusade to the core of the Belgian Congo where he trekked for nine months and finally set up a mission at Niangara situated in the heart of Africa in 1913. His wife who resided in England was active in gospel work and known to be a fine and powerful speaker. She organized a headquarter of missionary projects worldwide including travelling to and preaching in Australia, Canada, the U.S.A., Tasmania, New Zealand and South Africa as well.
By the late 1920s, C. T. Studd became frail, weak and was frequently struck down by illness. In 1928, his wife, Priscilla, paid him a visit in Africa but stayed only for a fortnight after which they never met again due to her sudden and untimely death in 1929 while she was on a visit to Spain. The following year, in 1930, C. T. Studd was conferred as the ‘Chevalier of the Royal Order of the Lion’ by the King of the Belgians for his services to the Belgian Congo. Studd died in the heart of Africa on 16th July 1931 and his burial ceremony was attended by over 2,000 people with salutes and grand respect.
The Union Church in Ooty, where C. T. Studd preached and served, still preserves over 155 years old of ancient Christian Heritage and carries the same fervour that C. T. Studd had towards his religion and as a Christian Missionary. This Church is greatly rooted in its religious beliefs and thus continues to offer spiritual enlightenment to its faithful and followers living in Ooty and its surrounding areas.