During the initial stage of ministry among the Chinese immigrants in Singapore, beginning from 1885, the locus of the work, particularly among the Hokkiens, was around Telok Ayer Street. This led to the construction of the first Chinese Methodist Church at Telok Ayer Street. Inroads to the Chinese community were also established through the setting up of schools such as Anglo-Chinese School and Chinese Girl’s School (later Fairfield). Subsequently, other groups began their own ministries and established churches along their dialects, including Foochow, Hinghwa and Hakka, to minister to immigrants from China, Malaya and elsewhere. The growth of these spawned ministries among the Cantonese and Teochews.
While the early years of the CAC’s work was facilitated along dialect lines, English-speaking congregations in the CAC were later established in tandem with Singapore’s education policies and emphasis on bilingualism. While the English-speaking congregations have become an important ministry of CAC churches, the significance of Mandarin services has not waned.
The CAC continues to fulfill its mission of reaching out to the Chinese community, be they English-speaking or dialect-speaking. The CAC’s strength and distinctive continues to lie in the myriad of dialect work and ministry among the diverse ethnic and linguistic communities in Singapore.
The Chinese Annual Conference (CAC) is one of the three Annual Conferences of The Methodist Church in Singapore. The CAC is a family of 17 churches with services conducted in Mandarin, several Chinese dialects, English and Tamil.