“….take root below and bear fruit above.”
In September 1936, renowned Chinese Christian evangelist John Sung, while passing through Singapore, conducted a gospel rally in Telok Ayer Chinese Methodist Church. There, a youth named Lim Kim Seng was converted, began to proclaim Christ, and started a congregation in a charcoal shop at Bukit Panjang. In June 1937, the charcoal shop was named “Bukit Panjang Methodist Gospel Hall” in what was then a farming and fishing community. Later, it became Bukit Panjang Methodist Church (BPMC).
During and after the Japanese Occupation, the church met in an attap house. The church’s membership increased under the pastoring and leadership of the Rev Kao Jih Chung, who served the church for 28 years (1946-1974). In 1959, the church moved into a two-storey brick shophouse, and in 1978, our church’s new main building was officially opened by the Rev Kao, who served as Bishop of The Methodist Church in Singapore from 1976 to 1984.
Today, we have seven worship services with more than a thousand worshippers in two worship halls in our main building and in The Sanctuary in John Wesley Centre (consecrated on 25 Nov 2001). Our most recent expansion project for the main building will soon be submitted to the government authorities for planning approval.
Our mission fields
Our mission targets are St. Francis Methodist School (sharing the gospel with foreign students), North Thailand and East Asia. Recently, we have had increasing numbers of people from China and India joining our church. We praise God for providing us a great opportunity for spiritual harvest when the MRT Station in front of our church is completed in the near future.
We have to manage the different cultural mindsets of members in the English and Chinese congregations, so that we can move together for the work of God’s kingdom. Just like in other Methodist churches, our young people are always fascinated by what is new in other churches. Besides our worship services (WOW English and Lishi Chinese) and small group ministries specially catering to this age group, we will do
what it takes to encourage them to journey with us in BPMC. With our increasing numbers of seniors, our challenge is how best to encourage them that their contributions to God’s Kingdom do not end with their retirement, as most of them are still physically healthy and spiritually experienced to play a part in the Great Commission.
BPMC’s vision is to trust God for a doubling of number of worshippers from the present 1,000 to around 2,000 by 2022.
During our humble beginnings, most of our members were illiterate farmers with simple faith, earnest Christian service, prayerful dependence on God and close relationships with one another. We pray that as we grow in size, we will still keep our “kampong spirit” intact: the simple faith in reaching out to the unsaved with the Gospel, trusting God in prayer and brotherly love 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 Bukit Panjang Methodist Church
The Rev Yeung Hin Fai is Pastor-in-Charge of Bukit Panjang Methodist Church.