Toa Payoh Tamil MC: A home with its tent curtains stretched wide

Toa Payoh Tamil Methodist Church ensures that its ‘tent curtains’ are stretched wide, to receive new members (above) into its community.

Toa Payoh Tamil Methodist Church (TPTMC) had its humble beginnings in 1979, with the outreach work of Tamil Methodist Church (Short Street). Under the supervision of the late Rev R. Prabudass, Mrs Rajaiah had begun Bible study sessions for the women, and had also worked together with her husband to start Sunday School.

In March 1982, TPTMC initiated an outreach ministry of visiting others, targeting mainly the un-churched Christian families around Toa Payoh. By the turn of the year, the church had a regular attendance of 35 members at its Sunday worship services. On 31 Oct 1982, the church was constituted in the presence of Bishop Kao Jih Chung, with the Rev I. G. Sundarajan being appointed as the first Pastor-in-Charge.

Over the years, our church has continued to minister to Tamil-speaking Christian families in Toa Payoh and the neighbouring districts. Each Pastor-in-Charge has continued the legacy of his predecessors and the church, by working together with lay members to be actively engaged in reaching out, especially to non-Christian families.

Today, our church is pastored by the Rev Jeyapaul Sitther, assisted by Pastor Stephen Shadrak and the Local Church Executive Committee, which is chaired by Mrs Tamilkodi Arthur. About 50 worshippers regularly attend Sunday services.

TPTMC’s mission is based on the theme ‘Stretch Our Tent Curtains Wide’ (Isaiah 54:2) and is thus focused on three key ministries: Evangelism, Discipleship and Missions.

Our church conducts regular prayer walks. Our primary concern is low-income families who live in one-room flats. We therefore have partnered with Methodist Welfare Services to provide financial assistance to these families, and also seek to minister to them through Sunday services and Sunday School sessions. In addition, the Pastoral team visits their homes, providing counselling and prayer.

Our church also carries out quarterly visits to Bethany Home, where we provide home-cooked Indian food to the Indian residents, in the spirit of getting to know them better.

Participants from TPTMC are sent for all the mission trips organised by Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference. We have partnered with the Methodist Missions Society to provide support for missions ministry. Our church has also committed to providing long-term support for an Indian Evangelical Mission (IEM) missionary, Mr Irpa Prasad, from the tribal Koya people group in Andra Pradesh, India.

We have been providing financial assistance to Myanmar and Sri Lanka for various projects such as building of hostels, church planting, etc. We have also been participating in the Gift of programme, which caters to the education needs of poor children in Myanmar.

As our church believes constant nurturing and discipleship is fundamental to the Christian faith, we conduct regular prayer and Bible study sessions. We also hold regular enrichment programmes such as chain prayer and Bible quizzes. As we are a small church, we conduct regular cell group meetings at the residences of church members, on a rotational basis. These activities are also emphasised in our local chapter of the Women’s Society of Christian Service and the Methodist Youth Fellowship.

Though our church is small, TPTMC stays focused on God’s mission. We strive to be His beacon of hope in the Tamil-speaking community in the vicinity, proclaiming the Gospel of Christ and the beliefs of the Christian faith to those in need. We endeavour to maintain the worship of God, and through our conduct, testimonies and ministries, to inspire in all persons the love for Christ and for one another.

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, we may discover more opportunities to forge cross-church partnerships and collaborations.

Photos courtesy of Toa Payoh Tamil Methodist Church

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Segaran Yacob is the Lay Leader at Toa Payoh Tamil Methodist Church.