Tamil Methodist Church (Short Street) will celebrate its 130th anniversary on 28 Sep 2017. This church holds several distinctions: Not only is it the second Methodist church and the original home of Methodist Girls’ School, which began with nine young Indian girls, it is also Singapore’s oldest Tamil Methodist church, and subsequently the mother church of the other seven churches that comprise Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC).
This is indeed a legacy that we have today, a history that we can take pride in, but that is not our intent. The God-given vision and opportunities to be His workers are all by God’s grace.
Significant changes have taken place at TMC since its birth in 1887, chief of which is the original premises giving way to larger buildings. This was not only to accommodate an anticipated growing membership, but also to house other congregations, namely the Batak congregation and Telugu Methodist Church in Singapore.
Previously, TMC’s membership comprised mainly Tamils from Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka). Today, 50 per cent of our membership comprises Indian nationals. Similarly, the proportions of our various age-groups have changed over the years. However, I can confidently say that we have eased through these periodic changes and met our challenges with grace.
I am fortunate to have had the privilege and joy of being Pastor-in-Charge of TMC from 2008-2012, and currently, President of ETAC. This has enabled me to work closely with the church’s leadership, and especially with our youths, who have a special place in my heart. I see much potential for developing effective church leaders amongst this very important cohort of believers. We believe in and work on the premise that if we do not teach our young to think and act as dictated by God’s Word, someone else will come along to teach them to think otherwise.
Often, I am told by some youth: “Pastor, the world is changing; we have to get with it.” So challenged, my reply is: “But God’s Word has not changed.” Our youths are not only our church’s future; they also help us align our daily moral compass with God.
I believe God has led me to teach our TMC members that our pews can only be filled when each believer does his or her part. Mr Richard Jeremiah, in his New Year greetings as Chairperson of TMC’s Local Church Executive Committee, exhorted the congregation to adhere to the Lord’s call to discipleship. Richard urged: “As we contemplate 2017, each one of us has to ask ourselves, ‘Is my faith real? … Are we just church members or am I a disciple myself?’ To be a Christian is to be a disciple, and so, it means doing everything that the Lord has asked us to do.”
TMC works effectively with foreign Indian nationals, including the families of the employed. The Evening Indian Fellowship not only provides a current platform for this community’s worship, but also prepares these believers to continue to practise and share their faith with others on their return to their native homeland.
Tamil Methodist Church faces many challenges, as do our sister churches. However, we will create opportunities for our youths to realise their potential and be who God wants them to be. We will overcome difficulties not only because we are resilient, but because we have God at the helm!
Tamil Methodist Church
(Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference)
8 Short Street, Singapore 188214
8.45 a.m. (English)
10.30 a.m. (Tamil)
6.30 p.m. (Indian Fellowship)
The Rev James Nagulan –
was elected President of Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC) in 2016 for the quadrennium. He is also Pastor-in-Charge of Tamil Methodist Church (Short Street) and Seletar Tamil Methodist Church.
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 Tamil Methodist Church