News, Touch

A truly migrant church

Like the migrant workers we minister to, Seletar Tamil Methodist Church (Seletar TMC) has had a history of migration, beginning in the 1920s during the British rule, when many Indian nationals came to Singapore. They started working in areas where the British army was well-established; those working in the Royal Air Force base at Seletar lived in quarters provided by the British army.

The Christians among them began to meet in small groups to worship God, and in 1929, the Rev J. A. Subramaniam, then the pastor of Tamil Methodist Church, met them and started a Preaching Point ministry. Later in 1935, under the leadership of the Rev S. S. Pakianathan, Seletar TMC was instituted. God has used His people like the Rev and Mrs Prabhu Das Roberts, Mr C. D. Pandian and Mr Philip Jesudoss to build the church in its earlier days.

We have moved several times and even today, the church does not have its own permanent place of worship. First, when the Singapore Army took over Seletar Airbase in 1982, we had to move out to Abundant Grace Presbyterian Church at Jalan Kayu, and the membership declined as many returned to India. In 1989, we moved to St. Thomas Orthodox Syrian Church at Yio Chu Kang Road, and then to Salem Chapel at Thomson Hill Drive in 1995.

Our final move was in 2004, to the present St. George Chapel at Cranwell Road in Changi Village, which we are sharing with Maranatha Bible-Presbyterian Church. This move to the eastern part of Singapore was prompted by the growth of our outreach small group ministry in Tampines, with a vision to serve the Indian community in the Pasir Ris, Tampines and Bedok areas.

Like our forefathers, we continue in ministry to Indian migrant workers. Classes in Spoken English and computer skills are conducted on Saturdays for these friends. We also organise special celebrations for Indian Independence Day and Christmas. In this way, we share with them Christ’s love at all times.

Another great ministry the Lord has given us is the start of the Bedok Preaching Point on May 5, 2012, at Bethesda (Bedok-Tampines) Church. Held at 6.00 pm on Sundays, it sees a group of 30 to 40 people meeting regularly, with many faithful volunteers helping out. To date, eight believers have accepted the Lord and received baptism, and some have become members. Praise the Lord!

The Rev Isaac Raju, one of our leaders, went into full-time ministry is now serving our Annual Conference, as a full-time minister with Pasir Panjang Tamil Methodist Church.

Please pray with us that we will continue to be a channel of blessings to the Indian community in the Pasir Ris, Bedok and Tampines areas, and also to the many Indian friends we are ministering. Many must come to know the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Pray with us also for our main need – a permanent place of worship.

From the beginning, ministry to Indian migrant workers was a core service of Seletar Tamil Methodist Church, which it has sustained until today.

We continue our series of profiling local churches from our three Annual Conferences of The Methodist Church in Singapore. As we come to have a better understanding of each other’s history and ministry, there may be opportunity to forge cross-church partnerships and collaborations.

PRAY * that Seletar TMC will continue to bless the local and migrant Indian communities with Christ’s love u for the church to secure a permanent place of worship

Pictures by Seletar Tamil Methodist Church

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Pastor T Jeevanantham is a full-time supply pastor attached to Seletar Tamil Methodist Church.