As the up stair building belonging to our circuit that was standing in the Burlie House was completely destroyed by cyclone in 1978, the then Superintendent Minister Rev. S. Thevaneshan approached the Jesuit fathers to purchase a property called Stella Maria that was near mission house. Then with the permission of the president, the said property was legally transferred and deeds were written.
Soon after the purchase of the property, it was decided at the leaders meeting that a community hall should be constructed in the newly purchased land funding for the construction of the hall was also discussed at the meeting. Following the decision taken, at a building plan was drawn by the government engineer Mr. Thamothiram depicting a hall in the ground floor and 12 rooms in the first floor. The purpose of the building was to cater to the needs of the community and also it would be of income support to the church.
Rev. S .Thevaneshan determined that at least foundation should be laid as a initial step. In order to raise funds. He decided to invite actor Jeyshankar and Nagesh and have live concert at St.Micheal’s College and it was held as he wished.
With the profit made by construction musical show, the foundation for the hall was laid by Rev. Basil Rajasingam the president on 29th of June 1980. As the fund was insufficient to continue the construction work, the superintendent and leaders made an appeal to the president, requesting him for financial assistance to go head with the construction work. Although it was expected to complete up to slap level with the money sent by the president, it was not completed the fund was not sufficient then in 1980, following the transfer of Rev. S . Thevaneshan to kalmunai our circuit was taken over by Rev. S. Jayaseelan. No construction work took place during the period 1980-1989.
Soon after the transfer of Rev. A. Vythilingam to Puliyantivu Methodist Church, she acted promptly to get the work going. So she had a discussion with the leaders in pertaining to restart of construction work. It was decided to complete ground floor only, as the iron bar had become rusted.
The then superintendent minister approached the Member of Parliament Mr. Prince, G. Casinader for monetary aid. He provided Rs. 750,000/= from decentralized budget, as it was community hall. This community hall was named “William Ault Hall”, in memory of William Ault – the first missionary to arrive in Batticaloa and it was declared open by the Member of Parliament Mr. Prince. G. Casinader on 4-2-1992.
After ceremonial opening of community hall, the hall was available social functions. We also could make profit. As the near portion of the hall was incomplete we made an appeal to the president, requesting for a loan 400,000/= in response to our request the president agreed to provide Rs. 200,000/= as a loan and Rs. 200,000/= as a grant. We could finish the rest of the work with the money provided by the president. After the transfer of Rev. Vythilingham the successors Rev .J. Vivekanathan, Rev S. K. Jebaretnam and Rev S. S. Karunairaj took care of the hall. In 2004 when Rev. S. D. Thayaseelan took over the circuit he suggested that income could be made to provide meals in the hall itself and it was effective. Arrangement were also made to provide meals to provide meals in the hall itself , and profit was earned.
Following the transfer of Rev. S. D. Thayaseelan to E.T.C at kalkudah, in the mid of 2007, Rev. S. S. Terrence who was in Trincomalee took over the Puliyantivu circuit, the hall was further furnished with furniture and air condition and the floor was built entirely of floor tiles. The full furnished hall was declared open by he president on 27th October 2007. This well equipped hall would have immersed useful to the community in future.
A monument of late Rev. William Ault was erected in memory of his arrival to Batticaloa near the public library, under the purview of principal of Methodist central college Mr. K.G. Arulanantham and staff. The untiring effort of Mr.K.G.Arulanantham on this endeavor is commendable.
The sculptor of this statue was a study of Methodist Central college Mr. Muralitharan the statue was unveiled on the 30th of June 2001 by Rev. S. J. Kathiresapillai North East chairman in the presence of all Methodist clergies of Batticaloa. Rev. William Ault and his companions’ (missionary’s) voyage to Ceylon was an arduous encounter
Despite the lost of his dear wife at sea on the voyage to Sri Lanka (Ceylon ) he left her body float on the sea and continued the journey towards Galle for the cause of Lord Jesus while traveling to Batticaloa from Galle on a small boat, the boat was capsized and all his belonging were submerged except the Bible. Taking only the Bible in his hand he ventured into the dark city of Batticaloa with the intention of proclaiming the gospel to the people who were living in darkness. His services and sacrifices to our community was immeasurable. Today William Ault’s statue is standing majestically near the library. The statue sculptured as if he is holding a lamp on one hand and a bible on the other hand reveals his dedication and selfless service. Although he lives alive for eight ( 8 ) months all his dreams of proclaiming name of Jesus was fulfilled. It is our bound duty to thank God and pay our tribute to Rev. William Ault.
Let’s unite in remembering him for his tireless service rendered towards the betterment of our society.