TMC Kuantan reached out to Jerantut, Jengka and Mentakab when Rev. Gabriel Jabanathan was the pastor from 1976 to 1981. TMC Jerantut was formed as a Local Church on 26 February 1984. Rev. Jayabal David was appointed the first Pastor. At the time of the formation there were 88 Full Members. The worship services were held in a rented wooden building. The MYF, WSCS and Church School were organised. Jerantut began as a self- supporting church and there was growth.
The Early Challenges
In 1985 Rev. Jayabal David was in charge of Jerantut. The Full Membership was 66. The church had outreach work at Jengka Triangle, Sg. Mai and Teming. They started a Kindergarten. The church continued her witness in this area, inspite of opposition from other religious groups. In 1986 a Church Worker Mr. Timothy Ria Rajan and his wife served here. The ministry was tough as the roads were bad during the rainy season and it was impossible to reach some areas. The church extended their ministry to the Felda Schemes. The lack of a proper place of worship and a parsonage drained the finances of the church through rentals.
The Weakest in the District
From 1987 to 1990, Rev. Joseph Komar was the Pastor. In 1987, Mr. S. Daniel served as the fulltime Church Worker. The Full Membership dropped to 40. There were 28 children in 3 outreach points – Teming had 7 children, Jengka 9 and Batu Balai 12. The members of this church were mostly estate workers and so their ability to give was less. The church’s monthly income from pledges/tithes and offerings did not exceed RM300. Out of that RM220 went towards the rental of the Church Worker’s house and the church building. TMC Jerantut was the weakest link of the 4 Local Churches in the District. The church lacked good leadership.
No Resident Pastor or Worker
From January 1988, Jerantut was without a resident pastor or worker. Rev. Komar was also the pastor of Mentakab and as such his service to Jerantut was limited. Jerantut Sunday Worship services were at 4pm. In Jengka it was on Saturdays fortnightly at 7pm. Attendance was poor at these worship services. The monthly income was about RM 120 and RM 90 went towards the rental of the place of worship. There was no MYF, WSCS or Church School in Jerantut and in its outreach areas. The pastor and the Church Worker faced an uphill task of putting things right in Jerantut.
Growing Again With Fulltime Church Worker
In 1989 the church was blessed to receive a Fulltime Church Worker, Pastor S. Jayabalan as their pastor. With this new appointment of the pastor, the church grew in all areas. Sunday Worship services were held at 4.30 p.m. An average of 25 adults attended regularly. The Full Membership was 60. From a monthly giving of RM 120, the church’s monthly giving increased to about RM 450. The church managed to pay its Conference Commitment of RM 439. Bible Study was conducted on Tuesdays and an average of 10 people attended. They also had a time of prayer and fellowship. The Church School was held every Saturday. 25 children attended regularly. There were 18 MYF members. Weekly Bible Study was conducted for the young people on Sundays. These youths assisted in all the activities of the church. 20 ladies were involved in the WSCS. The ladies did home visitation to encourage one another. The Outreach Work in Jengka was done in a FELDA scheme. 12 adults attended worship service regularly on Fridays. Bible study was held on Tuesdays. In Padang Piol where there were two families home prayer meetings were held every Thursday. In Sungai Mai Estate there was only one family. Weekly home prayer meetings were conducted on Saturdays. In Batu Balai, Home prayer meetings were conducted for two families on Saturdays.
In 1990 the worship service was held at 4pm every Sunday and about 28 people attended. The worship service in Jengka was conducted on Fridays at 7pm. About 13 persons attended this service. The Full Membership was 53. Regular fasting and prayer meetings were conducted on Thursdays. About 12 attended this meeting. An early Sunday morning prayer was conducted at 5am and about 6 came regularly. Prayer meetings were also conducted in Batu Balai, Padang Piol and Sungai Mai. The Christian Education committee started a library with 60 Tamil books. The church did not have buildings of their own. A rented house was used for church activities and the Church Worker’s family also lived in the same building.
Increase in Baptisms and Tithes
From 1991 to 1994, Rev. Devadass Ratnam was the Pastor-in-charge. Pastor Jayabalan continued. In 1991 much re-organisation was done to help the church grow. Attendance and giving improved and also the activities of the Agencies. Three people were prepared for baptism. Ten people left Jerantut in search of better jobs. In 1992 the finances slowly improved. The accounting system was reorganised and a new treasurer was elected. The Full Membership was 52. There were 5 adult baptisms. In 1993 the pastor was assisted by Full time Church Worker Pastor Yesudason Rajandurai. The rented house was found to be inadequate as the Sunday crowd was overflowing. They needed to either rent another place or buy a shop-lot for worship purposes. The Full Membership was 74. 19 children and 15 adults were baptised. 16 were received into Full Membership through Confirmation. They had four Outreach Points. In 1994 the Full Membership was 78. Six people were baptised. The Tithes increased from RM3,589 in 1993 to RM7,213 in 1994. They bought a second-hand van and it was very useful for the work of ministry.
Shop-House for Worship and Parsonage
In 1995 Rev. Devadason Peter was the Pastor. Supply Pastor R. Yesudason continued. The Full Membership was 76. Sunday worship service was at 5pm. Average attendance was 40 adults. There were weekly services at Jengka and Tong Kiat. There was noticeable growth in the leadership, fellowship, committees’ activities, prayer life, giving, worship and witness. The church prayed, gave and were involved in the needs of the people of the community. The monthly rental for the building was RM90 and RM 150 for the Pastor’s residence. The church received a monthly subsidy of RM350 from the Conference. The Menteri Besar gave permission to purchase an old wooden usable shop-house for RM40,000 at No.40, Jalan Sungai Jan. This was a corner lot with much space at the back. This was located, in the heart of the town and was near the bus stand. The TAC contributed RM20,000 as a grant from the Development Fund towards buying the shop-house.
From 1996 to 1998 the Pastor in charge was Rev. C. Paul with Supply Pastor R. Yesudason. In 1996, the Full Membership was 79. There were 6 baptisms and 8 were received into Full Membership through Confirmation. Sunday worship was at 5pm in their own shop-house. The pastor stayed at the back. The people were excited and interested in the church. The Finance of the church was still a challenge, with the expenditure exceeding the Income. In 1997 the Full Membership was 79. The shop house, bought at RM40,000 was the place of worship as well as the pastor’s residence. The church embarked on tearing down the old wooden building to construct a 3 storey building in the range of RM250,000. Mr. Alex Krishnan a new recruit, left Jerantut after 3 months. Jerantut was without a stationed personnel. In 1998 there were 23 children and 2 teachers in the Church School. They met on Sundays at 9.30 am. The Full Membership was 70.
Relating to Different Needs
From 1999 to 2002 Rev. Raymond Raj was the Pastor. In 1999 the Full Membership was 59. An average of 50 adults and 20 children attended the Sunday service. The church was working on a Government gazetted land to build a Church, parsonage and Hall. In 2000 the Sunday worship service was changed from 5pm to 8am. The Full Membership was 62. In 2001, an English Service was introduced on Sundays at 12 noon. About 6 adults met in the home of Mr. and Mrs Charles Chan. The Church building was found to be small and insufficient and they hoped to buy a shop-lot and renovate the present building into a parsonage. The gazetted land was yet to materialize. Kuala Lipis was their Outreach Point, where worship was held at 5pm in the Centre Point Hotel. About 8 – 12 adults attended. Financially TMC Jerantut was weak. The lay leadership worked together with the pastor. In July, the Pusat Serenti Drug Rehabilitation ministry was started and they ministered to 20 Indian and Chinese inmates.
In 2002, apart from the Tamil service, the English service was held on the 2nd and 4th Sundays. The Outreach Service at Kuala Lipis was at 5pm on Sundays. About 7 to 11 adults and 4 to 5 children attended regularly. Although the income was low, the work was growing. A proper place of worship would encourage more to come. Placing of a Church Worker would greatly enhance the work.
In 2003 Rev. Mark Subramaniam was the Pastor-in-charge. The Full Membership was 83. There were 4 Adult and 3 Child Baptisms. About 50 people regularly attended the worship service. Kuala Lipis Service was at 4pm. The English service was held once a month on Sundays at 4pm. Minor renovations were made to increase the capacity of the church sanctuary. A friend of the church donated RM3,000 towards van maintenance. Giving and participation in church activities improved.
In 2004 Rev. Barnabas Baskaran was the Pastor. Kuala Lipis service was at 5pm. About 15 people attended. On 2nd Sundays, there was an evening service at Benta. Worshipping in the various homes was not conducive. Distance and finances were also a problem. Permission was sought to use the Wesley premises for worship services. Finances had dropped. Many did not give their tithes.
From 2005 – 2006 Rev. S. Krishnan was the Pastor with Supply Pastor Ruben Rajandurai. The Kuala Lipis Outreach Service was held at 5pm. About 35 attended. The Full Membership was 85. The church planned to renovate their present building. The Kuala Lipis Outreach worshipped at the Wesley Church. About 30 attended the worship. In 2006 the Full Membership was 95. Two new families started to attend the service regularly. There were 7 families at the Kuala Lipis/Benta Outreach and four families at Sg. Jerik/Jengka area.
From 2007 to 2011, Rev. Ruben Rajandurai was the Pastor. In 2007, the Full Membership was 101. Sunday worship was attended regularly by about 60 people. In 2008 the Full Membership was 106. A parsonage was purchased for the resident pastor in Jerantut at a cost of RM98,000. They took a loan of RM60,000 from RHB and made a monthly repayment of RM356. The pastor’s theme was “Never again will my people be ashamed” and his vision: “Removing all obstacles and looking forward to progress well in all aspects”. There was growth in membership and finance. In 2009 the Full Membership was 119. About 80 people regularly attended the Sunday worship. About 15 people attended the Kuala Lipis service on Sundays. The church grew both in finance and membership.
Sharing the Gospel with Boldness
In 2010 the Full Membership was 107. The Sunday worship service was regularly attended by about 80 people. The church identified “Kuala Krau” as their new outreach area. They started house meetings and regular visitation. The present church building was not able to accommodate all and they wanted to move to a new premise.
In August the church identified an acre of Government Land next to the General Hospital. On 14 August an appeal letter was submitted to YB Dato Lau Lee, the State Legislative Assemblyman of Jerantut. He agreed to give them the land and get a subsidy from the Government. The pastor shared the Gospel boldly and many accepted Jesus and were baptized.
In 2011 Rev. Ruben Rajandurai ministered here for the seventh year. The Full Membership was 105. The church grew in the prayer ministry. A pioneering outreach work was started at Kuala Krau. It was situated 30 km between Mentakab and Jerantut. They were in contact with nine families. The pastor and members visited this place every alternate Wednesday for prayer and sharing. The pastor visited the families every 4th Wednesday. They planned to build a church building on the government given freehold land the following year upon receiving the Grant. Though they hoped to get it done by the end of the year, it did not materialize.
A Second-Hand Van Purchased
In 2012 Rev. Samuel Periathamby was the Pastor-in-charge with the new graduate Pastor John Sunder. The Full Membership was 107. A second hand Toyota Hiace van was purchased for RM29,900. TMC Jerantut recommended that the Kuala Lipis Outreach work be handed over to the nearby churches. This Outreach had only 6 members - 4 adults and 2 children. They were not regular to church and one couple travelled from Sungai Koyan to Kuala Lipis for Sunday service, a one hour journey of about 70 Kilometres. The income of the Outreach was very low and the monthly rental was RM200. The church applied to the Pejabat Tanah to extend the lease title of the land (old building). In 2013 Rev. John Sunder was the Pastor in charge. The Full Membership was 118. Kuala Lipis was very far from Jerantut. Their current place was not suitable for worship anymore. A shop-lot with a RM300 monthly rental was identified. This rented Building was dedicated on 24 November 2013 at 5pm by the Conference President Rev. C. Jayaraj.
In 2014 Rev. D.B Laurence was the Pastor-in-charge with new graduate Pastor Samuel Manokaran as the Assistant Pastor. The Full Membership was 119. Finance improved with an increase in the tithing. In November 2013, the church moved to a new shop-lot for their Sunday Worship. After many years, TMC Jerantut had a spacious and comfortable sanctuary for worship in, but there was no space for fellowship after the worship service. The place was just enough for the sanctuary, pastor’s office and two rooms for the Church School ministry. As such the church fellowship was held only during Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. They put up a tent at the car park area. The price of their place of worship was RM950,000. The monthly rental was RM300. One infant was baptised.
Emphasis on Kuala Lipis Outreach
From 2015 to 2018 Rev. Samuel Manokaran was the Pastor. Church files and records were properly organized. New leadership emerged and outreach work was given emphasis. The Full Membership was 93. In 2015 there was growth in the finances of the Kuala Lipis Outreach. After more than 20 years, a Christmas celebration was held in Kuala Lipis. The gospel was shared to about 50 new contacts who attended the celebration.
In 2016 the Full Membership was 87. The church helped the needy through their Second Sunday Offerings. Regular Worship was held on Sundays at 5pm. A Friday Prayer and House Meetings were conducted by committed lay members. Five new converts were added to the Kuala Lipis Outreach. There was a concern that young people were leaving due to their work and studies.
In 2017 the Full Membership was 86. The church had a joint program with an NGO “PROJECT MADE” at the Tamil School. They reached 30 Hindu families. The old wooden Church building was demolished. At the Kuala LIpis Outreach regular worship service was held on Sundays at 5pm. About 20 attended. Four people received baptism in Kuala Lipis and the church reached out and helped the poor. Mr. Andrew Muthu was Co-ordinator for the Kuala Lipis ministry and he served well as a part-time evangelist. They also reached out to surrounding areas such as Padang Tengku (21 km), Benta (26 km), Selborne Estate (21 km). The church thanked the Conference Board on Evangelism for financially supporting the Kuala Lipis ministry. The church organized a Christmas celebration at the Kuala Lipis Tamil School for the first time. Nearly 200 new contacts attended the celebration. The Subang Jaya Chinese Methodist Church sponsored the Christmas program. The church launched a project to buy a van for the Kuala Lipis ministry. RM9,000 was pledged in faith by the members.
In 2018 four youths were received into Full Membership through Confirmation and the total was 82. About 27 people attended the Friday prayers in Jerantut. About 20 non-Christian families were visited at the Kuala Lipis Outreach. Two non-Christian families regularly attended the Kuala Lipis Outreach ministry. Nearly RM5,000 was collected for the Kuala Lipis Van Fund. After many years, the Jerantut church had a Family Day at the Jerantut Tamil School which was attended by 85 people. Home visitation was conducted with the church leaders and those who were not regular to church started to come and there was also an increase in giving. The Sungai Jan Land lease was extended for another 99 years by the Pejabat Tanah Jerantut. The existing parsonage loan with RHB Bank was settled with the help of TAC. The Conference gave a soft loan of RM59,501.75. The church paid the first instalment of the soft loan. The ownership of the parsonage was transferred to the Trustees from the individual’s name.
In 2019, Rev. S. Jevaratnam is the Pastor in charge with Church Worker Pastor Devasitham. The Lay Leader and LCEC Chairperson is Madam Gudhi Patrick. The current Full Membership of the church is 87. The number of members in the Agencies is as follows: MYF (15), MYAF (40), MSF (16) and MW (42). They have two Small Groups and they have given the names Elijah for one and Elisha for the other. There are 25 children and 2 teachers in the Church School.
Conclusion: TMC Jerantut is 35 years old. When they were formed as a Local Conference, there were 88 Full Members. As of 2019, their Full Membership is 87. They have grown in terms of property ownership – they have two plots of land as well as a parsonage. The finance was always a challenge, especially with the youths being drawn elsewhere for their education as well as job opportunities. The church is putting a concerted effort in the Kuala Lipis Outreach. The good numbers in their Agencies show that this local church is active. These are indications that TMC Jerantut has potential to grow more, both numerically as well as spiritually and bring glory to God.