The Beginnings of the Methodist Community Center Ulu Klang
The Methodist Community Centre in Ulu Klang came as a result of the effort of Dr. Harry Haines, a missionary of the Methodist Church residing in Kuala Lumpur. He advised Miss Helen Lumis of the Women’s Division of Christian Service of the possibility of obtaining land for a community service project at the New Village in Ulu Klang. An application for a piece of land in Ulu Klang was approved by the District Office of Kuala Lumpur on 25 July 1956. The land, approximately 1.7 acres was given on a lease for 30 years. A second piece of land, approximately of one acre, was approved for the use of the Women’s Division of Christian Service on April 1959. A two storey building was built, which included a hall, two class rooms for the kindergarten and nursery classes and a worker’s residence. It was dedicated and officially opened on 23 October 1957.
The Beginnings of TMC Ulu Klang
The Tamil Methodist Church Ulu Klang was birthed in and has her history tied together with the Methodist Community Centre in Ulu Klang. The Community Centre had various programs and activities to meet the needs of the Ulu Klang community. There was a kindergarten and a medical clinic. In the 1960’s Mr. Wilson David and his wife Mrs. Charlotte David conducted Church School for the Tamil children. Several were touched by this and eventually took membership in the church. The Ulu Klang Centre, located at 35 Jalan Embun, became an Outreach Point of the Tamil Methodist Church Kuala Lumpur. In 1969 worship services were started by Rev. Dr. Thangaraj but were discontinued for a while after his time as the pastor.
Discontinued Ministry Revived
In 1975 worship services were revived by Rev. Francis Sunderaraj and continued by Rev. John Kovilpillai from 1976. In 1982 Rev. Victor Vethamani, the Assistant Pastor of Tamil Methodist Church Kuala Lumpur, was stationed at the Centre, where his wife Mrs. Saras Victor was appointed Supervisor of the Community Centre. Rev. Victor, since staying at the Center, was able to oversee closely the spiritual programs of this Outreach Point. In 1986, when he was transferred to Kluang and Johore Baru, he and his wife left the Center.
The Fusion of Spiritual and Social Work
The Outreach work continued under the supervision of the mother church. The work among the youths and the women were consolidated. Several programs such as fasting and prayer, revival meetings, bible study, youth programs, Christmas programs and home fellowship were conducted. Lay members from the mother church were involved in the early years of ministry. Dr. Saro Pakianathan and Dr. Gnanam Thuraiappah helped in the clinic on weekday evenings. Among those who faithfully taught in the Church School were Mrs. Ambi Sandosam and Mrs. Rani Manoharan.
The Introduction of Outreach Coordinators
In 1986, the work was further consolidated as lay members from the mother church such as Mr. and Mrs. Muthu Thaver, Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Ngo helped coordinate the ministry. Mr. and Mrs. John Ponnambalam were the youth counselors while Mrs. Helen Samuel helped with the music and choir. Mrs. Rosalind Rajahser coordinated the women’s prayer ministry. Rev. Peter Jebasekaran, the pastor at the mother church, gave leadership for the various ministries.
From Lay Coordinators to The Charge of Assistant Pastor
From the middle of 1992 to 1994 there were no lay coordinators. The total responsibility of the worship service and all other ministries of the Ulu Klang Outreach were well led by the Assistant Pastor of TMC Kuala Lumpur, Rev. Emanuel Rajahser. Members of the Methodist Churches who were scattered around Ulu Klang, Wangsa Maju, Melawati, Ampang, Cheras and the outskirts were encouraged to worship at the Ulu Klang Centre. There was a marked increase in attendance during the worship services. By mid-1994 there were about 60 regular members attending the worship services and church programs.
Formation of the Local Conference
The Ulu Klang Outreach of the Tamil Methodist Church Kuala Lumpur was finally constituted as a Local Conference on 11 December 1994 with Rev. David Tharmakan appointed as the first Pastor. The Full Membership at the time of formation was 52. There were two worship services every Sunday, Tamil in the morning and English in the afternoon. Rev. Tharmakan served till 1995. Rev. Joseph Komar became the Pastor in 1996. In March 1997 Rev. Emanuel Rajahser was posted as the Pastor.
Move to Dataran De Palma Ampang Signed
The Church felt the strain of being a paying tenant at the Methodist Centre and thus in May 1997, the Church launched a Fund for a new Church Building. In February 1999, the building at Dataran De Palma in Ampang was identified. On 10 March 1999 a Letter of Intent was signed between the Church and the Vendor of the property. The Sale and Purchase Agreement was signed on 19 April 1999. On 11 July 1999 the church was shocked at the sudden demise of their pastor Rev. Emanuel Rajahser. Rev. Victor Vethamani was then appointed as the Pastor. He served till the end of 1999. On 12 December 1999 the church moved to its new location at Dataran De Palma in Ampang. The Full Membership was 88.
Rev. Joseph Yesupatham was appointed the next Pastor effective January 2000. He served till 2003. The Full Membership in 2000 was 99. The building at Dataran De Palma in Ampang was officially opened and dedicated to the glory of God on 10 December 2000 by the Bishop of the Methodist Church Malaysia, Bishop Datuk Dr. Peter Chio Sing Ching. Mrs. Juliet Ambigapathy Sandosam (Mrs. Ambi), a longtime faithful member of the church passed away on 29 December 2003.
Limitations at De Palma
Except for the Sunday Worship Services, other activities such as bible study, prayer meetings, choir practices, MYF activities could not be carried out freely due to restrictions and parking fees imposed by the De Palma Management Services. This building was located at a commercial center and this generally posed a problem to the members.
The Return to the Ulu Klang Methodist Center
The Tamil Annual Conference came forward to offer the local church the premises of the Methodist Community Centre Ulu Klang to be used for the total ministry of the church. The Tamil Annual Conference also required the church to pay a monthly rental of RM500. The local church was also required to manage the Kindergarten and the Hostel.
This offer was very timely. Apart from other constraints, the Church was beginning to feel the strain of settling the repayment of the building loan which stood at RM500,200. The other factor that prompted the members to move from Dataran De Palma was also to expand their social work and evangelism ministry within the surrounding community in the Kuala Ampang area. The members were briefed and consulted about the idea of moving back to the Methodist Centre and the majority were in favour.
In 2004 Rev. James Solamadan was the Pastor in charge with Rev. Elijah Bala as the Assistant Pastor. The Full Membership was 102. Through negotiations among the TAC, JCWW and TMC Ulu Klang, the church moved back to the Methodist Center. In May 2004, the shifting from Dataran De Palma to the Methodist Centre was carried out. The whole Center was then managed by TMC Ulu Klang for a monthly rental of RM 500 effective 1 June 2004. The pastor also moved into the center. The Conference advanced RM 20,000 to help in the initial expenses towards repair and renovations.
The first worship service at the Methodist Centre, Ulu Klang was held on 4 June 2004. From 2005 to 2007, Rev. Elijah Bala was the Pastor. In 2006 the Ground Floor at the De Palma Building was sold at RM450, 000. In 2007 the Mezzanine floor at the De Palma was sold at RM350,000. With this the Church managed to settle all outstanding loans.
A Note on the Stepping Stone Home
On 8 November 1998, Mr. Johnson Rajahser, a member of the Ulu Klang Church, was moved to initiate a Centre that could care for, give advice and referral services for the needy children. Hence, the Stepping Stone Home was accepted as the social ministry of the Tamil Methodist Church, Ulu Klang. This home is located at Taman Seputeh off Old Klang Road, Kuala Lumpur. The church played a very significant role in guiding and shaping the Stepping Stone Home until it became a self-governing body under the Founder and Director Pastor Johnson Rajahser in 2007.
The Church Marches on With Greater Responsibilities
A Management Committee was formed to oversee the running of the kindergarten, the hostel, workers and the parsonage. After moving to the Methodist Centre, once again the church grew with such activities as prayer meetings, bible study, choir practices, and MW, MYF and MYAF programs.
From 2008 till 2012 Rev. Samy Dass was the Pastor. In 2008 the Full Membership was 110. On 24 February 2008, the members of TMC, Ulu Klang received another piece of shattering news that Rev. Elijah Bala had passed away. From 2013 to 2016 Rev. Devarakam John became the next Pastor. In 2013 the Full Membership was 97 and in 2014 it was 120. On 30 January 2014, Mrs. Devikarani Manoharan (Mrs. Rani Mano) a longtime faithful member of the church passed away. A “Barnabas Fund” was started to meet emergencies of needy families. A “School of Prophets” was started in June to train the members in the ministry. The DS reported, “Their biggest concern is that there will be a permanent settlement to the land issue at the Center.” In 2015 a Family Enrichment Seminar was conducted by Rev. Dr. Vincent Vasudevan and his wife. JCWW had requested the church to submit their requirements for the renovated building. In 2016 the JCWW informed the church of their plans to renovate both the parsonage and the three storey block.
Training and Equipping the Members
Rev. Dr. Joseph Komar took charge from January 2017. In 2017 the Full Membership was 115. An Evangelism training was held in February 2018 with Pastor Selvaraj from India. A three-day renewal program was organized with Rev. David Rasahpandy. This was to get members involved in the ministry. Mr. Edward Maniam, a member and a worker of the local church, visited homes of new seekers to share Christ. There was a Church Family Camp organized at the Cheefoo Methodist Centre in Cameron Highlands and about 100 members participated. The Full Membership in 2018 remained at 115.
In 2019, Rev. Dr Joseph Komar is the pastor. The Full Membership is 116. The membership of the Agencies is as follows: MYF (24), MYAF (26) and MW (33). There is no MSF. There are 31 children and 9 teachers in the Church School. There are three areas where Small Group Ministry takes place and each group has a name: (a) Imanuel – Ampang and Ulu Klang; (b) Messiah – Gombak, Selayang and Jalan Kuching and (c) Almighty – PJ, Cheras and San Peng. The church is also involved in a social ministry in a squatter area in Kg. Pandan on Saturdays.
On 17 October 2019, an MOU was signed with the GCMW that TMC Ulu Klang can stay at the Ulu Klang Methodist Center for another twenty years, with a love gift of RM 2000 per month for its usage.
Conclusion: The Tamil Methodist Church Ulu Klang was the Outreach of TMC Kuala Lumpur. They grew out of the Ulu Klang Community Center. On 11 December this year the church will be 25 years old. The Lord, through His abundant grace, has led TMC Ulu Klang these past 25 years in a marvellous way. Now the surroundings of the church has changed with notably the busy highway. The church is challenged to see new ways of making its ministry relevant to the present community where she is located.