The ministry among the Tamil Methodists in Raub dates back to 1927, but no detailed records are available. From 1938 to 1947, Rev. M. Thangamuthu was the Pastor. On 31 December 1940 the Full Membership was 22. From 1942 – 1945 there are no reports because of the Second World War. In 1948 Rev. K. J. Timothy was the Pastor. The Statistics Report does not mention Raub as a separate local church. In 1949 Raub is mentioned in the Statistical Report but no figures were given. In 1951 there were 32 Full Members. From 1952 to 1954 Rev. G.D. Thambidorai was the Pastor. In 1952 the Full Membership was 30 and in 1954 it was 39. In 1955, Rev. Chelliah was the Pastor.
West Pahang Circuit
From 1956 to 1962 Rev. S. Ratnasamy was the Pastor. In 1956 the Full Membership was 69. From 1957 Raub was part of the West Pahang Circuit of the MAC. In 1958 the Full Membership was 55, and in 1959 it was 57. In 1959, Bentong was separated from Raub and joined the congregation in Mentakab. In 1960 the Full Membership of this Circuit was 64, in 1961 it was 59 and in 1962 it was 60. The members were spread from Kuala Lipis to Mentakab, a distance of about 110 miles. The pastor had a difficult task of covering the area every month and Miss Mitchell’s car was a great help.
Raub with Cheroh, Bentong and Kuala Lipis
From 1963 to 1965 Rev. John Abraham was the Pastor of the West Pahang Tamil Circuit which included Raub, Bukit Dinding Estate, Cheroh Estate, Sabai Estate, Edensor Estate, Bentong and Kuala Lipis. In 1964, the Full Membership was 70. Rev. Abraham’s work was like the “Chaplaincy”. He made periodic visits to the different places and conducted prayer meetings or worship services. In 1965 the Full Membership was 74. Church Schools were held in Raub, Cheroh, Bukit Dinding and Kuala Lipis with a total enrolment of 65. The people were from the lower income group so provision of items such as used clothing, flour, and milk powder were given. Yet the people gave sacrificially. The giving was as follows: 1962 – RM602, 1963 – RM853, 1964 – RM1294, 1965 – RM1362. Mr. Edward Pachymuthu came into the Circuit and provided able leadership as the Official Board Chairperson.
In 1966, Pastor Joseph Devasagayam was the Pastor. There was work among the Tamil women and children in Raub and in the surrounding estates. A WSCS was formed. The Full Membership was 73. The pastor and laymen cleared the 2 ½ acre hill behind the parsonage and planted hill paddy. The proceeds from the harvest was for the Building Fund for the construction of a multi-purpose building on the hill. A successful Variety Concert was organised in September to boost this Fund.
Indian Missionary Pastor
From 1967 Rev. Donald M. Smith gave Pastoral leadership. In May, Raub welcomed Rev. & Mrs. Francis Sunderaraj and their daughter Maliga from India. Since the departure of the Smith family, they gave pastoral leadership to both the Tamil and English congregations. They initiated a Tamil and English congregation, a Tamil class and an Intermediate Youth Fellowship. The Full Membership was 88. In 1969 Rev. A G. J. Rasanayakam was the Pastor. In 1969, the Full Membership was 25 and in 1970 it was 37. Rev. Rasanayakam covered Raub, Cheroh and Kuala Lipis. He met with an accident at the end of October 1970, and his left hand was fractured. He was excused from attending the Conference. Part of Raub’s parsonage was used to house the Wesley Kindergarten at a monthly rent of RM 40.
Low on Finance
In 1971 and 1972, the Pastor was Rev. S. A. Andar. The Full Membership was 58. The District provided the pastor with a Honda motorcycle. The pastor preached twice a month in Kuala Lipis, 38 miles away and twice a month in the Cheroh and Gali Estates. He was ably assisted by Mr. Shanthosham, a lay preacher. There were 4 Church Schools. In 1972 the Full Membership was 63. The women and youths ran a Merdeka Stall and raised funds to clear debts and boost the Church Funds. In 1973 and 1974 Rev. E. J. Thoraisingam was the Pastor. The Full Membership was 69. The MYF met weekly in the Cheroh Estate Chapel. The church spent RM1,100 towards the renovation of the parsonage. Evangelistic meetings were held at the Dewan Jubilee, Raub with the Bagavathar Vethanayagam Sastriar on 10 & 11 July and on 12 July at Kuala Lipis. TPAC President, Rev. T.R. Doraisamy visited the Raub church on 25 February and the children of the Cheroh Estate welcomed him with the traditional Tamil Dance ‘Kummi’. In 1974 the Full Membership was 69. The members of the churches in Raub and Kuala Lipis attended the Evangelistic Meetings by Dr. G. D. James from May 27 – 31. Rev. S. A. Andar who served this circuit as pastor, passed away on 21 March 1974. Mr. S.M. Sadagopan served from 1 May. Irregular members came back to church.
Theological Students Help
In 1975 the Full Membership was 66. The Raub Circuit was served by three theological students: (1) Mr. S.M. Sadagopan – from October to November 1974, (2) Mr. Vincent Jeyaraj – from January to April 1975 and (3) Mr. Jacob David – from May to September 1975. The Raub Circuit had four Preaching Points which were Kuala Lipis, Cheroh Estate, Sg. Bilut Estate and Jerantut. There were two MYF groups, one at Cheroh Estate and the other at Raub. They worked hard to earn about RM500 to send about 10 youths to the MYF Institute at Kuantan. From May 1977 Pastor Jacob David served the Raub/Lipis Circuit. Mr. Anthony Row, a ministerial student, served for seven months.
From 1978 to 1984 Rev. S. Sundararaj was the Pastor of the Raub/Lipis Circuit. In 1978, the Full Membership was 78. The Cheroh Estate Building Repair Fund stood at RM195. In 1980 weekly services were held in Raub and Cheroh. In 1981 the Full Membership was 92. In 1982 there was a revival and 11 people were brought to faith. In 1983 the Full Membership was 100. Mr. Timothy Ria Rajah helped. Worship services were held in the MGS Primary School. The church was self-supporting.
From 1985 – December 1992 Rev. Daniel Poopalarajah was the Pastor of the Raub/Cheroh Circuit. In 1985 TMC Mentakab, being themselves a year old as a local church, reached out to Bentong, which then became their Outreach Point. In 1986 the Full Membership was 99. In 1987 and 1988 Mr. K. Jayabalan was placed as the Outreach Worker. The Full Membership was 150. There were nine cell groups organised in the Raub and Cheroh area. They had a “Prayer Tower” but only a few came to pray. On 1 May a one-day Teachers’ Training was organised. A total of 20 participants came from Raub, Cheroh, Kuala Lipis and Budu Estate.
Five Outreaches of Raub
The following Outreach Points came under the Raub Local Conference: (a) Cheroh – 10 miles (b) Kuala Lipis - 40 miles (c) Budu Estate - 25 miles (d) Benta Estate - 20 miles (d) Selborne Estate - 30 miles (e) Dura Estate - 50 miles. The Estate Management in Budu gave the church a small building in the estate to be used as a chapel. Renovations were made and the building was dedicated as the Budu Methodist Chapel on Monday 8 June 1987 by Rev. John Kovilpillai, the Conference President. The land approved for the building of the Tamil Methodist Church was fenced and funds were raised for the building. In 1988 the Full Membership was 165. The church continued to use the parsonage for worship services and other activities. They decided to put up a larger building with various other facilities at a cost of RM150,000. The Management of the Cheroh Estate did not give permission to rebuild the church in Cheroh. The members became weary of waiting. The Cheroh members met in the home of a member.
In 1989 the Full Membership was 175. Building plans for a church in Raub was submitted to the Raub Town Council for approval. The church raised RM25,000 towards the RM150,000 Project. The pastor Rev. Daniel Poopalarajah met with a bad motor accident on 21 April 1989. He was on medical leave for two months. The lay members assisted in all areas of the church work.
Cheroh Became a Local Conference
In 1990 the Full Membership was 88. The Worship Service was at 9 a.m. in the parsonage and about 70 attended. The Church Worker Yesudason was beaten up by some persons while returning from ministry. He was badly hurt and a leg was broken. The Fraser’s Hill Service was started on Wednesdays at 5.30 p.m. and about 10 attended.
The Church school had 35 children. 52 members were transferred to Cheroh, when they became a Local Conference in January 1990. In 1991 the Full Membership was 75. The church Building Plan was not approved by the D.O. The pastor offered his parsonage hall to be used for the Sunday worship.
The number of worshippers increased and they decided to renovate and extend the parsonage hall. The total cost was about RM15,000. The church raised about RM5,000 and appealed for RM10,000 from the Conference. In 1992 the Full Membership was 77. They had prayer huts at the back. The Raub Town Council rejected the church’s sanctuary project. The Parsonage Hall was renovated and extended to accommodate about 150 people. The well-furnished sanctuary cum parsonage was dedicated on 21 November 1992 by Rev. David Tharmakan.
Raub Bible School
From December 1992 to 1995, Rev. C. Paul Arputharaj was the Pastor. The Church Worker was Mr. Ezekiel Govindarajoo. In 1992 the Full Membership was 100. There were six Outreach Points. In 1994 the Full Membership was 106. A program “Raub Bible School“, attracted leaders from Raub, Cheroh and Lipis. 15 took part in this, which aimed to train lay leaders. The Budu Estate Management gave a new building for worship in the estate. The main service continued in the Kuala Lipis Wesley Church. They had a huge arrears of – RM4,750 and wanted a review of the Conference Commitment Fund for Raub. They had about RM5,000 for their Van Project. In 1995 the Full Membership was 71. They had a Fund Raising Dinner which brought in RM10,000.
In 1996 Rev. Jayabal David was the Pastor. In 1996 the Full Membership was 61. Missions work among the Orang Asli was done in Sg. Kelang. The church van was beyond repair and they needed to buy a good van. The WSCS contributed RM1,000. An understanding with regards to the land demarcation was established. The parsonage was used as a church and was shared by the MGS Primary, TRAC church and TAC. In 1997 the Full Membership was 61. Rev. Barnabas Baskaran was the Pastor. The pastor went in the church van daily as early as 5 am to bring members to church and send them home. A chapel was built for the Orang Asli people and the TAC President, Rev. David Tharmakan, dedicated it. The earlier van was sold and a newer van bought. 3 non-Christians and 36 Orang Asli were baptized. The church applied to the Majlis for a separate entrance. They intended to construct a church by itself on their huge land instead of their present annex.
Kuala Lipis Came Under Cheroh
From 1998 to 2000, Rev. Elanko Kannan was the Pastor. In 1998 the Full Membership was 63. The D.S. came on second Sundays, to conduct the Communion Service and the LCEC meetings. The church established a Death Fund and thus the cemetery was regularly attended to. A new access road for the use of TMC Raub alone was constructed. The Government gave RM2,000.
The ground in front was levelled and made ready for the new church building. There was a leadership crisis due to the sudden exodus of key LCEC members. In 1999 the Full Membership was 58. The members from the Kuala Lipis outreach were removed as they came separately under TMC Cheroh. Some leaders left looking for jobs. Finance was low as some members were not tithing. In 2000 The Full Membership was 59.
From 2001 to 2004 Rev. Moses Jayaseelan was the Pastor. In 2001 the Full Membership was 57. The Building Project was initiated and pledges received. Raub organised the First District Family Day Games Carnival and about 300 adults and children participated. The TAC President attended the Closing Ceremony, together with Rev. Francis Sunderaraj the former pastor of Raub and Cheroh. In 2002 the Full Membership was 61. The Gethsemane Prayer Tower was dedicated. In 2003 the Full Membership was 68. A second hand van was purchased from TMC Kuantan. Many young people left for further studies or work elsewhere. In 2004 the Full Membership was 72. The Worship Service time was changed from 8 am to 9 am from August 2004. Five new families were added into the church.
From 2005 to 2008 Rev. Samuel Periathamby was the Pastor. In 2005 the Full Membership was 66. Sunday Worship Service was changed back to 8 am. In 2006 the Full Membership was 74. 27 people received baptism on 11 April 2006. In 2007 the Full Membership was 83. In 2008 the Full Membership was 82. The Cell Group Ministry was held on Wednesdays and Thursdays in 6 different places. About 15 people were trained to lead in this ministry. From 2009 to 2010 Rev. Timothy Krishnan was the Pastor. In 2009 the Full Membership was 88. A VBS was held with about 80 children, of which 80% were non-Christians. The church altar was renovated for RM5,000. The church finance had a surplus of RM7,154. In 2010 the Full Membership was 87.
Children’s Ministry Touches Non-Christian Parents
From February 2011 Rev. Jonathan Jesudas was the Pastor and he was assisted from March onwards by Mr. Joseph Ambrose, a ministerial candidate. The Full Membership was 86. Rev. Jonathan came once a month to preach, conduct the Holy Communion service and to chair the LCEC meetings. Mr. Joseph Ambrose was stationed in Raub and carried out all the church ministries. They received as donation items: A Yamaha P.A. system with speakers, a speaker stand, a rhythm guitar, a guitar amplifier and hymn books. They also received RM2,000 from Dato Ng Yen Yen, the Member of Parliament for Raub. In 2012 Rev. Joy Pandian was the Pastor. The Full Membership was 92. The Hindu children who came to the Church School sang songs and prayed for their parents at home.
Building Construction Disrupts Church Programme
From 2013 to 2018 Rev. Doraiseelan John was the resident Pastor for six years. In 2013 the Full Membership was 100. There was a lack of men’s participation in the church. In 2014 the Full Membership was 111. There was a change among the men and they gathered monthly in the homes for prayer. The LCEC prayed for 15 – 30 minutes before their meetings. Through the Social Concerns Committee, the floor of an Old Folk’s home was cleaned and the grass cleared. The building construction disrupted the normal programmes of the church. They used the facilities of the Orang Asal church in Raub. The church renovated the church/parsonage located at Jalan Cheroh at a cost of RM150,000. The church raised funds through a Dinner Project.
The Conference gave them the 2014 Dedication Sunday Offertory and some money from the Development Fund. Work completed included the sanctuary, a hall for fellowship, a public toilet, a baptismal pool, an extensive corridor, a veranda and a concrete roof for the parsonage.
Road Works around Church and Parsonage
In 2015 the Full Membership was 116. The Dedication Service of the building was held on 26 April. The approach road was tarred. The church thanked Mr. Amarjeet the District Council Engineer who made this possible. Some extra funds were used to tar the road that goes to the parsonage. The wall around the canteen was erected by church members. The roof of the canteen was elevated to prevent leakage. The church financially supported Cheroh with RM500 from July. The church and parsonage renovation was completed on 26 April 2015 at a cost of RM250,000.
In 2016 the Full Membership was 115. There was a seminar on “The Status of Gangsterism in the Indian Community” by ASP Jonathan. A “Mentor Mentee” program was conducted for the church school. In 2017 the Full Membership rose to 121. A garage was built for the school teachers with parking charges and a wall around the canteen. In 2018 there was a membership update and the non-attending members were visited and notified of their responsibility. Full Membership dropped to 103. The Prayer Tower was rededicated on 19 August 2018 by the TAC President Rev. Dennis Raj. The roof timbers of the parsonage were changed due to a termite attack.
As of 2019, Rev. V. Vijaiadas is the Pastor. The Lay Leader is Mr. Pratahp and Mr. Kalaiselvan is the LCEC Chairperson. The Full Membership of the church is 103. There is no Outreach nor Cell Groups. There are 12 members in the MYF and 24 in the MW. The newly formed MSF and MYAF have members as follows: MSF (34) and MYAF (16). There are 30 children and 4 teachers in the Church School.
Conclusion: TMC Raub was part of a larger Circuit, which included Cheroh and Bentong. In 1985, Bentong became an Outreach of Mentakab. Cheroh became a Local Conference in 1990. Accordingly the Full Membership decreased. In 1989 it was 175 and in 1990 it was 88. The church is in the process of consolidating their ministries. The fact that they have built the Agencies, especially in this year is an indication that they are serious about their effort to build their church. With God’s enabling power they can look ahead to brighter days of church growth for the glory of God.
Methodist Journals MAC, TPAC and TAC