The humble beginnings of Paya Lebar Chinese Methodist Church (PLCMC) can be traced back to amongst the remote attap villages located at Hougang in 1937.
Today, 80 years on, God has blessed PLCMC with eight congregations across four languages (Mandarin, Hokkien, English, and Teochew). The church currently has a worship attendance of about 900. Two of our congregations are at our preaching point.
As PLCMC first started with the Hokkien service, and subsequently added the Mandarin, English and Teochew services, we are very much a family church with some having three to four generations still worshipping with us.
It is not unusual to see grandparents attending the Hokkien service, the parents at the Mandarin service and the children or even great-grandchildren at the English or bilingual service(s). I myself am a 3rd generation member of PLCMC and my children are the 4th.
Our multi-generational aspect means that PLCMC is so much more than just a church – it is a community of families. As many of our worshippers grew up in the church, members are often related in one way or another to each other.
At the same time, due to our different services, PLCMC is also a multi-lingual church. With this comes obvious multi-social differences. However, despite being a melting pot of cultures, I thank God for there is peace and harmony across our congregations. This harmony also extends across the clergy and leaders.
Sometimes it may be tempting to think that dialect ministries have lost their relevance. That cannot be further from the truth! In fact, God moves in mysterious ways to cause a spiritual renewal.
For example, our Hokkien service recently witnessed a child baptism, despite the fact that many of its worshippers are 70 years of age and older! We have seen parents who may actually be more proficient in Mandarin and English, but are drawn by the sheer camaraderie experienced amongst the Hokkien members.
We also had young adults (in our Hokkien service, “young adults” refers to those around 50 to 60 years of age) succeed the previous leaders and they have given a new breath of life to the ministry.
In fact, some of our ‘young adult’ Hokkien members are leading our ‘Praise Dance’ (see pic below right). Also, when it comes to singing the hymns, the Hokkien service actually provides the lyrics in both Hokkien and English.
Spreading God’s love in various communities
By the grace of God, PLCMC has developed strong roots in serving God over the years. We have nurtured a number of Chinese Annual Conference (CAC) pastors while also having successful social outreach ministries. Our leaders also serve in many Methodist Church and CAC ministries even though we may be only about 900 strong.
Despite our various victories, there are still some challenges that the church will need to overcome. We are facing an aging population in Singapore. As such, there is an urgent need to grow the younger segment of our worshippers. With that in mind, PLCMC is in the midst of finalising our alteration and addition plans for our church building to create a more conducive and prayerful environment for our worshippers – young and old, new or otherwise.
With all said and done, a church is nothing if it is not God-centred. It is therefore with faith that we take our steps forward in our work and ministries. Just as God has been with us thus far, we will labour on in the assurance that God will continue to be with us in His love and faithfulness.
To God be the glory.
Paya Lebar Chinese Methodist Church
(Chinese Annual Conference)
299 Upper Paya Lebar Rd, Singapore 534932
8.45 a.m. Mandarin (Lvl 4 Sanctuary)
10.15 a.m. Hokkien (Lvl 4 Sanctuary)
11.15 a.m. English Contemporary (Lvl 2 Sanctuary), 11.45 a.m. English Liturgical (Lvl 4 Sanctuary)
2.00 p.m. Teochew (Lvl 2 Sanctuary)
Contact us: plcmc.org.sg or 6286-7243
The Rev Wilfred Leow –
is Pastor-in-Charge of Paya Lebar Chinese Methodist Church.