Local Church History
The Tamil Methodist Church Kuala Lumpur’s ministry in Cheras started in the home of Mr. & Mrs. I. Ponnuthurai when Rev. P. Tevaraji was the Senior Pastor of the church. There were weekly services on Sundays at 6.00 pm. This however ceased when Rev. Tevaraji became the Conference President. This was started again at the initiative of Mr. I. Ponnuthurai and there were weekly gatherings in his home on Fridays at 7.30 pm. There was good response for this gathering and a need was felt to organize this work as Cheras Outreach.
First Cheras Outreach Service at Chinese Methodist Church
Taman Mudun Cheras
It was felt that the members of both the Tamil Methodist Church Sentul and Kuala Lumpur staying in the Cheras area could come together and see the possibility of becoming a Local Church. Meetings were then held with the leaders of both these churches. The first Cheras Outreach Service was held on 24 September 2006 at the Chinese Methodist Church, Taman Mudun, Cheras. This was a joint effort involving the leaders of the Tamil Methodist Church Kuala Lumpur and Sentul. Rev. Victor Vethamani was the pastor of the Kuala Lumpur Church and Rev. Devadass Ratnam of Sentul.
Outreach Service Move to Taman Cheras Permata
After much searching by Mr. & Mrs. I. Ponnuthurai, the Cheras Outreach rented the premise at Taman Cheras Permata, where the first service was held on 14 January 2007. Approximately 30 - 40 people attended the service on the second and fourth week of the month. Holy Communion was served on the last Sunday of every month. Rev Victor Vethamani was the Chairman for the Cheras Outreach Ministry Committee. The committee included Rev. Devadas Ratnam (TMC Sentul), Rev. Elijah Bala (TMC UK), Mr. I. Ponnuthurai (TMC KL), Mr. Samuel Gunalan Peter (TMC Sentul), Mrs. Manomani Peter (Treasurer, TMC Sentul), Miss Prema Sugi Panirselvam (Secretary TMC KL), Mr. Samuel Segrane (TMC Sentul) and Mr. Sugumaran (TMC KL).
Formation of TMC Cheras Local Conference
The Cheras Outreach became a Local Conference on 27 March 2010. Rev. Devadass Ratnam was appointed the first pastor of the church. At the time of the formation, the Full Membership was 40. Mr. Basil Simmon was the Lay Leader and Mr. Samuel Gunalan Peter the LCEC Chairperson. The Church occupied the upstairs of a shop-lot located at 5A Jalan Permata Biru, Taman Permata, Cheras. The rent was RM 600 per month. Pastors from Sentul as well as from Kuala Lumpur took turns to preach in the Sunday service. Ministerial Student Mr. John Sunder at times conducted Sunday morning services held at 9.15 a.m. The Church School met at 8.00 am. Holy Communion was served on the 1st and 3rd Sundays of every month.
The Early Years as a Local Church
As 2010, was the first year as a local church, there were expenses towards setting- up basic facilities such as installing lights at the staircase, repair and plumbing work and LCD installation. Other expenses included buying microphones, power mixer, microphone stand and other accessories. The MYAF was officially formed on 10 July with a membership of 10 people. Rev. Devadass Ratnam was happy to note that the church finance was strong and RM20, 000.00 was put in fixed deposit in July 2010. In August 2011, Rev. Timothy Krishnan helped in TMC Cheras. On 10 December, TMC Cheras carried out its first Community Project together with the Children’s Christmas Programme. In addition, five new believers joined TMC Cheras.
From 2012 to 2017, Rev. Timothy Krishnan was the pastor-in-charge. In 2012 the finances improved, and the church could afford a full-time pastor. Rev. Timothy Krishnan was appointed as the full-time pastor from 2012. The church sponsored 4 children under the Myanmar Child Adoption Programme. The Church School, under the leadership of Mrs. Selvi Basil, experienced growth. 15 children were taken to Malacca on an educational tour on 21 July 2012. Sadly, the church drummer Mr. Michael Sandanades, had a stroke and lost his job in the private sector. The church decided to assist him with a monthly allowance of RM800 from May to June 2012.
A small Church library was initiated by Mrs. Manomani Peter and the members started to pledge for the Nehemiah Project. 10 children from the Church School attended the VBS at SMK Methodist Boys School from 31 - 2 June 2012. Tuition classes were started by Dr. Robinson, Mr. Samuel Gunalan Peter and Mrs. Regina Solomon on Saturdays. This was later changed to Sundays after church service. More than 10 students attended the classes. An Electric Field Therapy Unit (Alpha 9000) was bought by the church for RM16,600 to be used by members of the church. Under the Myanmar Child Adoption Programme, the church sponsored 15 children. For the Children’s Summer Camp in Ulu Klang 20 children and 6 teachers attended. The Full Membership stood at 69 (increase of 2 members). A PA system consisting of 2 speakers, 2 stands, an amplifier and 3 microphones were donated by the Government representative (Hulu Langat) to the church on 16 March 2013. 5 people from the church were given baptism at Sungai Tekala, Hulu Langat. In addition, the Church Family Camp was held from 24 – 25 May 2013 in Gunung Ledang Resort, Tangkak, Johore. Finance continued to improve and the money kept in fixed deposit increased to RM100,000.
Church Worship Service Moves to Ground Floor
In Sept 2014, the worship service moved to the downstairs at 6, Jalan Permata Biru, Taman Permata, Cheras. The monthly rental for the new additional premises was fixed at RM1,300. A church building fund was also started with an initial fund of RM 2,000. Two mission trips were made to Kg. Bertam, near Raub. The Church School attendance increased from 5 to 11.
The tuition classes were temporarily stopped as the response from students was poor. The church sponsored 4 children under the MMM Myanmar Child Adoption Programme, in 2014.
Mr. Basil Simmon and Madam Elsie Ponnuthurai had their preaching licenses renewed. The Family Camp was successfully carried out in Hotel Seri Malaysia, Malacca from 28 -29 July 2014. A new PA system was bought for RM30,000. Full Membership increased from 69 to 75. The 2014 Christmas Party was held at the Community Centre in Taman Cuepacs. 15 children from the TMC Cheras Church School made an educational trip to KLCC Aquaria and Petrosains in June 2014.
22 children were sponsored under the Myanmar Child Adoption Programme in 2015. In the same year it was found that church funds were declining. However, the local church continued to support Rev. Seenivasagam David from January 2015 until April 2015 with a monthly amount of RM500. Financial assistance to Mr. Michael Sandanades was continued. Mr. Kunaseelan and Mr. Sam were sent to KARAK for evangelism training from 18 to 19 July 2015. On 17 August 2015, the church was burgled at night. Several church band items like guitars, amplifier, speakers etc. were stolen. The annual Christmas Party was held on 11 December 2015. Total Full Membership was 76.
In 2016, the Christian Education Committee, under the leadership of Mrs. Manomani Peter started the memory verse recitation for church members. This was well received by the members. Mr. James Thavaraj went on a mission trip to Kudat, Sabah from 20 to 23 October 2016. In view of the burglary in 2015, the District Superintendent, Rev. Justin Clarance, instructed the LCEC to speed up the fixing of an alarm system for the church and to insure the musical instruments.
Mr. James Thavaraj was sent on a mission trip to Sepulut, Sabah from 15 to 18 June 2017. Rev. Timothy Krishnan resigned as pastor of the church with effect from 1 September 2017. Rev. Justin Clarance, the Central District Superintendent, took charge as the pastor from September to December 2017. Prior to this Rev. Timothy Krishnan went on three months leave. Full Membership in 2017 stood at 86. The downstairs, where the worship took place, was sold in August 2017 by the owner and the new owner raised the rental to RM 2007 with effect from August 2017. The Mission Committee also gave coin boxes to each member in the church in the beginning of 2017. Total collection from the coin boxes amounted to RM1,492.40 and this was used for mission work.
Greater Social Concerns
From 2018 Rev. Samy Dass took charge as pastor of the church. There was one baptism. The Social Concern Committee under the leadership of Mrs. Elsie Ponnuthurai continued to help the needy and destitute. A stroke victim was given a monthly allowance of RM 500 from May 2012 onwards.
Similarly, a monthly allowance of RM200 was given to a dialysis patient from 2013 to 2015. A one-time support of RM200 was further given to a single mother. Free groceries are also given to needy families during Christmas time. 22 Myanmar children were adopted under the MMM Myanmar Child Adoption Project. In 2019, the Lay Leader of the church is Mrs. Vasantha Chelladurai and the LCEC Chairperson is Mr. Samuel Gunalan Peter. The Full Membership is 84. The number of members in the Agencies are as follows: MYF (16), MYAF (18), MSF (18), MW (26) and there are 26 children and 3 teachers in the Church School.
Conclusion: Today this local church is nine years old. It was slow to evolve in the very early years in the home of Mr. and Mrs. I. Ponnuthurai. However, in 2006, when the leadership of TMC KL and TMC Sentul agreed to encourage their members staying in the Cheras area to come together, it rapidly progressed to become a local church in 2010. The church continues to grow by doubling its Full Membership and with greater involvement in ministry.
1. Article by Rev. Samy Das
2. Article by Dr. Robinson
3. TAC Journals