AT SOME POINT IN TIME, a fellow Christian or even an acquaintance may have asked you this question: “Which church do you attend?” Without hesitation the answer is given. Would it have made a diﬀerence if you were asked, “To which church do you belong?”
I believe it would. I have grown up with a group of believers and together we have become a community. Our corporate worship has evolved distinctly with our language and culture.
This is not to say that I am uncomfortable worshipping in another church, which I do periodically, but it is the family atmosphere that contributes to worshipping in a church which I belong to, that makes the diﬀerence. Tamil Methodist Church (TMC) is celebrating its 125th
Anniversary this year. In this church, my family line goes back three generations. Having been born, baptised, received into membership, married, and then seen my children take the same path in this very church is history in itself.
However, there is more to that – my participation in the various age-group ministry activities, receiving nurture in Christian living and serving God who gave me many gifts has brought me joy, much joy.
As a young child, the church was my sanctuary. Here I found acceptance, witnessed caring, and was received by people who considered all children to be their own.
There was also a role for everyone who wanted to take on a responsibility. With such values displayed, we mirrored the ways of those encouraging personalities. As we grew to be adults and parents we became givers and encouragers.
As the adults interceded in prayer for us children that we would be blessed with wisdom and love for God’s Word and His Mission, we too entered into this ministry of intercessory prayer. It was good. There was peace within and around the church.
There was growth. TMC has shared its humble premises with congregations who were yet to have their own buildings. This kind of sharing came naturally – without us counting the loss. It was TMC and not “a modest shop- house at Short Street” that was the first site of Methodist Girls’ School with nine Tamil-speaking girls as its first pupils.
What God provided for us, TMC shared with others. TMC is home. Through its clergy and laity, all through the ages, we have seen the love of God displayed in many facets. Where there is such love, acceptance and space to grow, develop and serve God through man, truly God is here and His Holy Spirit lives within us to worship Him in spirit and truth.
As we commemorate our church’s 125th Anniversary, we want to remember the contributions of generations long gone. We know that God led them, and God will lead us, as we forge ahead in faith that works.
Veronica Poore, Chairman of the Board of Presidency of Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference (ETAC), is a member of Tamil Methodist Church.