At 4 p.m. on a Whit Sunday (otherwise known as Pentecost Sunday), ten schoolboys met in an old, dusty and dilapidated music room in a hostel. That was how Barker Road Methodist Church (BRMC) started on 20 May 1956.
The odds were stacked against them. These were young boys meeting in a school compound on a hill. The long-established Wesley Church was nearby. Who would come to join them? Conventional wisdom had it that their youthful fervour would soon fade.
But God honoured their faith, blessed it and gave it increase. Today, BRMC runs 12 worship services every week at Barker Road and our Oasis ministry at Bukit Batok for our 2,600-strong congregation. Our deep relationship with Anglo-Chinese School (ACS) continues today through our ministry work in ACS (Barker Road), ACS (Primary), Oldham Hall boarding school, and The Boys’ Brigade in Singapore.
At BRMC, our worship services range from the traditional hymnbook to the contemporary to the charismatic, and are held in English, Mandarin, Bahasa Indonesia, and Tagalog. Our Indonesian service just celebrated its 16th anniversary, and our Filipino congregation will mark its 32nd year in November.
Missions work is close to our hearts and we strive to obey the Great Commission as a church. We currently support missions work in seven countries: Cambodia, East Asia, North and South India, Indonesia, Thailand, Myanmar and Nepal.
Another key church concern is to be Jesus’ hands and feet to reach out to the poor, disadvantaged and marginalised through our outreach and social concerns ministry. The church gives direct financial aid to about 120 families at this time.
Beyond helping to meet the immediate physical needs of such families, we seek to empower them to rise above the cycle of despair and hopelessness.
We are investing in our next generation – our children, youth and young adults – nurturing, developing, discipling them, and integrating them into the various church ministries.
The church’s vision is to be transformed by the love of Christ, with 2 Corinthians 5:14 being our vision Bible verse.
I have been the Pastor-in-Charge at BRMC since January this year, and am approaching my first decade as a pastor here. I am burdened by our need to strengthen and deepen our community here, and also to extend our pastoral care to help members who suffer silently and secretly from all manner of sickness in their body, soul or spirit.
As we look forward to our diamond jubilee – our 60th anniversary – next year, I envision a church where every member is one whose every action is energised and governed by his assurance of God’s love for him, and motivated by his love for Christ.
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 Barker Road Methodist Church
The Rev Dr Chiu Ming Li is Pastor-in-Charge of Barker Road Methodist Church.