Methodist History

History of The Methodist Church in Singapore

God fanned the spark of divine grace into a blazing flame through the lives and ministries of the Wesley brothers and their fellow pilgrims in the early Methodist movement. That flame touched our shores on 7 February 1885 when James Thoburn and William Oldham landed in Singapore. Their arrival was not the result merely of human planning and intention. That God was directing them is evidenced by the fact that Charles Phillips … (More)

The first Methodist Church in Singapore (left) and the first ACS school building (right) were adjacent to each other on Coleman Street. View the Methodist Heritage Exhibition panels (Click here)

Official Historical Statement of The Methodist Church in Singapore (Click here)

Bishops of the Methodist Church in Singapore, listing all the Episcopal heads of the Church since 1885 (Click here)

List of Annual Conference Presidents since 1968 (Click here)

John Wesley: Father of Methodism (Click here)

Life of John Wesley (Watch video)

Wesleyan Heritage

God fanned the spark of divine grace into a blazing flame through the lives and ministries of the Wesley brothers and their fellow pilgrims in the early Methodist movement. That flame touched our shores on 7 February 1885 when James Thoburn and William Oldham landed in Singapore

Their arrival was not the result merely of human planning and intention. That God was directing them can be evidenced by the fact that Charles Phillips, the man who had issued the Macedonian call to Thoburn through a letter, was waiting for them at the Singapore harbour even though he had not been informed of their arrival, at least not by humans. The night before Thoburn and Oldham arrived in Singapore, Phillips had a dream of their arrival. It was a small reminder of God’s hand in the arrival of Methodism in Singapore.

After a series of quickly-arranged evangelistic meetings, the first local Methodist church was constituted on 23 February 1885. The spiritual and organisational engines of Methodism went into full gear soon after. The Methodists began schools, medical and publishing work in rapid succession, alongside their church-planting work. From Singapore, missionary work expanded to other countries in Southeast Asia.

After more than 130 years, the Methodists in Singapore today number more than 44,000 members with many more others in the community, worship in 46 local churches and several preaching points. We have 15 schools with great educational traditions and 20 social service centres and programmes that reach out to specific and diverse needs of close to 12,000 disadvantaged seniors, families, youth and children. We have mission work through the Methodist Missions Society in 7 countries and have set up a Provisional Annual Conference in Cambodia, and Annual Meetings in Nepal and Thailand. All these are important milestones in our history.

Indeed, God has blessed us abundantly with His presence, committed servants, tireless visionaries, great institutions, and wonderful fruits of ministry. Firstly, let us not forget our great heritage. At the heart of it is our loving Sovereign God, who in Christ, and through His Spirit has worked in our midst to shape a people for Himself. It is His saving and perfecting grace that has brought us thus far and will bring us even further. Our history is really the story of what God is doing in, among, and through us. It is not our might or power but His Spirit that makes the real difference (Zechariah 4:6)

Secondly, let us not forget our focus on biblical holiness, expressed through personal and social holiness. Our message of salvation should bring people through conversion into holiness maintained by the exercise of the spiritual disciplines at the individual and community levels. Our busyness cannot be a substitute for our holiness. Holiness has to do with being bathed in God’s love and being like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season (Psalm 1:2). It has to do with divine love.

Fourthly, we must continue in the connection that unites us all in Christ our Lord. The Methodist connection has both privileges and responsibilities. We must make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit (Ephesians 4:2), so that the beauty of Christ can be seen in our communal life and the mission of Christ fulfilled through us. In a world that celebrates selfish individualism, we must demonstrate the beauty of life lived together in a covenant of love for and commitment to one another.

Thirdly, we must rediscover and retain our passion for mission that sees the world as its parish. We must have the same passion that brought Methodism to our shores, and with it, we must fulfil all that God wants to do through us. We must never become so comfortable that we fail to see the brokenness and needs around us. We must remain tender-hearted and risk being spent for the sake of others.

These are important aspects of our Wesleyan heritage that we must keep at all costs so that the glory of God can continue to shine in our midst. May God bless His people so that lives may continue to be touched and destinies changed forever by His abiding grace.

Wesleyan Insights

John Wesley was raised by God to spread ‘scriptural holiness’ throughout England and beyond. Living at the time of the English Industrial Revolution, he saw the utter necessity of the Christian teaching being made available to the masses and made relevant to their daily lives.

– The People Called Methodists: The Heritage, Life and Mission of The Methodist Church in Singapore

Here you will find contemporary writings that relate to the work, theology and insights of John and Charles Wesley. For a list of other resources, click here.

A Poet’s Lasting Legacy

In 2007, Methodists all over the world celebrated the 300th birth anniversary of Charles Wesley, God’s poetic gift to the Methodist movement and the larger Body of Christ. (More)

Re-tuning Charles Wesley

The Wesley brothers, as we are all familiar, never did leave behind for their constituents a crystallised systematic theological understanding of their faith expressions. (More)

Social Holiness

In His earthly ministry, our Lord Jesus preached and taught the truth, healed the sick, and delivered those in bondage from evil. (More)

Redeemed from human slavery to serve Christ

While the image of John Wesley preaching the gospel astride a galloping horse may be etched in Methodist consciousness, Wesley did not only preach freedom from slavery to sin … (More)

The Breath and the Voice

In thinking about the reality and ministry of the Holy Spirit, Christians sometimes do what they should not … (More)

The Methodist Covenant Service

Methodist churches all over the world have habitually observed the Methodist Covenant Service, typically on the first Sunday of each new year. The practice dates back to John Wesley himself. (More)

Reading for Life

As Christians, we are the people of the Book. God has chosen to reveal Himself through His written word. It was no wonder that John Wesley considered himself to be a “man of one book.” (More)

Menu