Serving the Telugu-speaking Indian community in Singapore

My journey from India to Singapore to serve the Telugu-speaking community in Singapore has been an exciting and enriching journey of faith.

In 2001, Mr John B. Samuel introduced me to the Telugu ministry at Tamil Methodist Church (TMC) Short Street, where Telugu Fellowship was in its infancy. I had discussions with both him and Rev Ranganathan Prabhu on serving the Telugu people in Singapore. My parents and siblings prayed as a family, seeking God’s will and direction.

Soon, Rev Dr Vinson Samuel informed me of Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC)’s invitation to lead the Telugu Fellowship at TMC Short Street. At the same time, ETAC arranged for me to pursue a Master of Ministry at Trinity Theological College.

On 18 January 2004, TMC Short Street gave me a warm welcome when I attended the Telugu Fellowship in the evening at 7 p.m. It was a great joy to see my Telugu people worshipping the Lord. Most of them were young and filled with energy, faces lit up with big smiles. Many of them came to attend the service even after a long day’s work on Sundays.

Every Sunday, I would visit my Telugu friends at Short Street and at their dormitories during weekends for Cell Group prayers. Seated on the pavement under the streetlights, I would listen to their stories and encourage them with the Word. That has been my greatest joy.

Many a time God stopped the rain when we prayed. When God allowed the rain to continue, the floor mats became our makeshift tents, and sometimes lorries by the roadside were our shelter for prayer fellowship and Bible study. In all this, our hearts were filled with awe to see God open hearts to the gospel of Christ.

As more families joined the Telugu Fellowship, the leadership of the TMC, Telugu Fellowship and ETAC came together to pray and discuss the formation of a new church. In July 2008, the Telugu Methodist Church (Singapore) was established, based at the same premises as TMC Short Street. Since then, many ministers have supported the church’s work, and many disciples have been groomed to be leaders to serve the Lord. Praise be to the Lord, for he has continued to bless our ministry.

Highlights of the Telugu ministry

  • On 27 July 2008, Telugu Methodist Church (Singapore) was established under the leadership of Rev James Nagulan, with the blessings of Bishop Emeritus Dr Robert Solomon, Rev Ranganathan Prabhu and other ETAC and TMC leaders.
  • Disciples Bible Training classes have been conducted every September and October since 2009. Many graduates now serve in the Telugu states in India, and even further afield like Qatar and New Zealand.
  • Maids Prayer Fellowship was started in March 2011.
  • Women’s Society for Christian Service (WSCS) was formed in October 2013 at TMC Short Street to empower and encourage women to serve Christ.
  • In November 2014, we started SEVA, a dormitory-based ministry to counsel workers and provide computer and English skills.
  • Migrant Workers Welfare Forum was initiated in 2015 to provide counsel to the migrant brethren.
  • During the pandemic, daily prayers and regular Bible study sessions were conducted virtually to encourage brethren to cling on to Christ.
  • Sunday services are held at 7 p.m. every Sunday at TMC, Short Street. Concurrently, Sunday school ministry brings God’s Word to our children.
  • Annual Chinese New Year Holiday Revival Meetings graced by specially-invited speakers.
  • Evangelistic Outings with fun-filled games and entertainment at public venues to share Christ’s love with pre-believers.
  • Annual Blood Donation Drive in conjunction with ETAC to encourage people to give back to society.
  • All-Night Prayers bringing members together to pray.
  • Mission trips to Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Koya Field in Telangana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh in India.
  • Solemnisation of our church members’ weddings in their villages, which were sometimes the first Christian wedding held there.

Even as I served, our ministry had its challenges, such as keeping in touch with members who returned home—some to reunite with their families, and others due to changes in work policies. However, I am indebted to so many for making the work possible.

It has been a pleasure to work with fellow pastors and leaders at TMC Short Street for nearly 20 years. I was privileged to be involved in various ETAC Boards and ministries, including ETAC camps and men’s retreats. I made many good friends. Representing ETAC at General Conference level has been a pleasure albeit with a steep learning curve. Through its churches, ETAC nurtures and encourages its young leaders to become faithful stewards and shepherds to serve the almighty God.

Telugu Methodist Church (Singapore), though a young church, has a special place in ETAC. It has won the hearts of many sister churches in The Methodist Church in Singapore. In the midst of challenging times, the avid prayers and the constant support of the Conference has enabled the church to grow and achieve its vision of ‘reaching every Telugu-speaking person in Singapore for Christ’. My special thanks to the leaders and the congregation of Telugu Methodist Church (Singapore) for their unconditional love and support.

With God’s help, I pray that the bonds of friendship will continue to grow beyond the shores of Singapore. God has given us a large extended family in ETAC. Working with different ministers has been an enriching experience. I am thankful to Rev Philip Abraham, ETAC President, my fellow pastors and ETAC leaders for their prayers and support.


In this journey, God has blessed me with a loving and understanding wife, Dr Ruth Anil. Her leadership has been a great blessing especially in WSCS and children’s ministry. Our children Asheera and Arman are a great joy.

God worked in wondrous ways to accomplish his purposes. I thank God for using me as his instrument in pastoral ministry for nearly two decades in Singapore. “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23 NIV). As a family we praise God for his faithfulness and the opportunity to serve him in this part of the world through ETAC, and we will cherish these moments always.

To God be the glory.

Rev Anil K. Samuel Reddipogu served with Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference for 20 years and has recently returned home to India. / Photos courtesy of Rev Anil Samuel Reddipogu