The Tamil Methodist Church Jelapang began as an Outreach of TMC Ipoh. The ministry began in 1982 when Rev. Jacob David was the pastor of the Ipoh Church. The follow-up work was carried out by Rev. A.E. Joseph from1983 – 1986. At this time Area Fellowships and Bible Studies were introduced. Others who ministered in 1986 were Mrs. Vethamani and Mrs. George. The ministry continued under Rev. Noel Arputharaj in 1987. Mr. Louis Martin was appointed Co-ordinator of Jelapang ministry. He conducted Area Fellowship on Tuesdays in Jelapang and the same in Chepor on Wednesdays. There was Sunday worship service at Chepor. Mr. Louis served till December 1988.
The Outreach Ministry Develops
In 1989 Rev. P. Tevaraji became the pastor of the Mother Church. It was then that the Jelapang circuit was established as an Outreach. From August 1989, Mr. Solomon Thangaiah was appointed the co-ordinator for the Jelapang ministry. There was Tuesday evening worship service in the home of Mr. & Mrs. Michael Maniam. During this time, the need for a building was strongly felt.
Ministerial Students/Church Workers/Supply Pastors
In 1991 Miss A. Gomathi helped in the work of evangelism. The following ministerial students were placed in Jelapang: Mr. Sandireseheran (1991), Mr. Abraham Ponniah (1992). In 1993 and 1994 Pastor Doraiseelan John ministered as Church Worker. From 1994 – 1996, Supply Pastor Ezekiel Raj served.
Rumah Methodist Jelapang
In 1990, a house at 642, JalanTokong, Jelapang, Ipoh was purchased for RM 25,000 and dedicated as Rumah Methodist Jelapang on 1 February 1992. In 1994, Mrs. Shanti Ratnam, a member of the church, was employed as full-time social worker in the Jelapang area by CARE MALAYSIA.
Formation of the Local Conference
On Sunday 30 June 1996 the Jelapang Outreach was organized as a Local Conference by Rev. David Tharmakan, the TAC President. He was assisted by the Perak District Superintendent Rev. Stanley M. Sadagopan. About 400 people attended the occasion. Rev. V. John Kovilpillai, the Pastor of Ipoh, was appointed the first Pastor of the newly formed Jelapang Church. The first LCEC Chairperson was Mr. Eklund John Samuel and the first Lay Leader was Mr. Krishta David. The weekly worship service was held on Sunday mornings in Jelapang (Holy Communion on 2nd Sundays) and Sunday evenings in Tasek (Holy Communion on 1st Sundays).The combined Full Membership was 118 (members transferred from the Mother Church).
Organizing the Ministries
The Area Fellowships met weekly in 5 different areas: Jelapang Tambahan Baru, Taman Silibin/Taman Rishah, Taman Kelebang Jaya,TamanBertuah and Taman Mewah.The Jelapang and Tasek prayer groups met separately in their own places on Fridays. Church School was held in the mornings at 8.45 am while the Tasek Church School was held in the afternoons at 3.45 pm. Together they had a total of 65 children attending regularly.The MYF had 30 members - 10 in Jelapang and 20 in Tasek. The Jelapang group met on Sundays at 12.00 noon and the Tasek group met on Saturdays at 7 pm. Like the MYF’ers, the Methodist Women met both in Jelapang and Tasek on different days. A total of 12 ladies attended the weekly meetings. They waited for the approval from the Ipoh City Council for the building of a two-storey church and parsonage in the existing Jelapang church. The local church raised RM39,000 from its members.
Building Project in Progress
From 1997 – 2002, Rev. Ezekiel Raj was the Pastor. In 1997, the Full Membership was 138. When the building project was in progress, the Jelapang worship was held in a shop-house in Taman Silibin. The Church School in Jelapang and Tasek both had a total of 60 children attending regularly with 8 teachers and 8 helpers. With the approval from the Ipoh City Council, the church started building the sanctuary cum parsonage. The cost was expected to be between RM180,000 and RM200,000. The church had RM120,000. Appeals were made to the TAC churches and friends.
Worship in the New Building
In 1998 the Full Membership was 155. The new church cum parsonage building project was completed. Worship service in Jelapang was at 8.45 am and Chepor at 6 pm on Sundays. About 120-130 people attended the worship services. The Church Schools in Jelapang and Tasek had 80 children. Prayers were held regularly in Chepor on Tuesdays and Jelapang on Wednesdays, both at 7 pm.In 1999 the Full Membership was 158. The church settled all their soft loans from their members for their building and started to settle the loan from the Conference Development Fund. The Church School had 55 children and 16 teachers.
In 2000 the Full Membership was 158. The youths of Chepor and Jelapang faced difficulty to get together due to transport problems. They got together once on the 4th week each month in the Jelapang church after service. In 2001 the Full Membership was 137. Bible studies were conducted on Tuesdays in Chepor and Wednesdays in Jelapang during the Area Fellowships. In 2002 the Full Membership was 148. The church P.A. system was upgraded.
Training for Ministry
From 2003 to 2007, Rev. K. Segaran was the Pastor. In 2003 the Full Membership was 152. The church purchased a keyboard. In 2004 the Full Membership was 143 and in 2005 it was 159. There were no Cell Groups. Evangelist training was held in Tasek and 20 members participated. In 2006 the Full Membership was 168. Chemor was targeted to be an outreach of Tasek. In 2007 the Full Membership was 156. New P.A. system was purchased for Tasek.
Two Youths Come Forward for Fulltime Ministry
From 2008 – 2009, Rev. David Rasahpandy was the Pastor. In 2008 the Full Membership was 167. Mission work was done among the Orang Asli. Tasek appealed for a van. Kantan and Cherry Park ministry was started. In 2009 the Full Membership was 175. Mr. David Thanivel was sent to the TEACH Centre in Thailand for a two month exposure. Mr. David Thanivel and Mr. Edwin Mohan committed for the fulltime ministry.
From 2010 – 2012 Rev. Padmanathan was the Pastor. In 2010 the Full Membership was 153. 12 participants won at the District Level Bible rally. The church sought to be relevant to the society through various community projects. On 18 December, in a Christmas Get Together, they adopted a Tamil School in a Health Awareness Campaign. This was done together with the Lembaga Pendudok Dan Pembagunan Keluarga Negara (LPPKN) of Perak. In 2011 the Full Membership was 153. The church received RM5,000 financial aid from the State Government. This was used to upgrade the musical instruments and for the purchase of a LCD projector and a laptop. Mr. Rajendran Paul was taken in as a Church Worker to help establish the ministry in the Tasek Outreach. In 2012 the Full Membership was 152. Mr. Louis Martin and Mr. Rajendran Paul were taken as Part-Time Church Workers here.
Talks by Government Agencies
From 2013 – 2017 Rev. Jeyarajah became the Pastor in charge, after Rev. Padmanathan left due to ill-health. Rev. Jeyarajah continued as Assistant Pastor at TMC Tamil Settlement. In 2013 the Full Membership was 151. In Chemor, members from the Social Welfare Department were invited to give talks to the church members and others. Members from Perkeso, Yayasan Bina Upaya, Yayasan Perak and Amanah Iktiar were also invited to speak. They have four Cell Groups and all have completed using all the four of Rev. Victor Vethamani’s Small Group Bible Study material.
Tasek Outreach Purchase Own Building
In 2014 the Full Membership was 142. The Tasek Outreach members bought their own building with a view of becoming a Local Conference within a few years. In 2015 the Full Membership was 152. Five members went on a short term Missions trip to India. The church sponsored 128 bibles for China through Asia Harvest Missions. The building in Tasek was purchased and renovated without any loans. There was a need for a parsonage for the Jelapang church.
In 2016 the Full Membership was 153 and in 2017 it was 141. Worship services in Jelapang were on Sundays at 9.30 am. The Tasek worship service was on Sundays at 5.30 pm. 9 people participated in the “SU Bible Quiz” which the church organized. The Church frontage extension was done. A new 16 seater van was purchased for the Tasek Outreach. There was a crisis that threatened the unity of the church, but the matter was eventually solved.
Four Youths Committed for Fulltime Ministry
From 2018 Rev. Paul Mani Sabrail has been the Pastor. The Full Membership in 2018 was 147. The church promoted the National Bible Knowledge Quiz and six students participated. Four youths from the church committed themselves for the fulltime ministry during the National MYF camp.After much consideration and deliberation, the Pro Tem Committee in Tasek was dissolved. A small working committee, under the supervision of the Jelapang church, coordinated all the ministries of the church.
In 2019 Rev. Paul Mani Sabrail is the Pastor. The Full Membership is 157. They have two Agencies with membership as follows: MYF (22) and MW (46). They have no MYAF and MSF. There are 43 children and 11 teachers in the Church School. They have two Outreaches, one in Tasek and another in Chemor. They also have three Cell Groups in Jelapang, Tasek and Desa Rishah.
Conclusion: TMC Jelapang is now 23 years old. At the time of formation in 1996, the Full Membership was 118. In 2019, the Full membership is 157. The church is active in various forms of ministry, especially Christian Education, Evangelism, Missions and Social Concerns. The church is blessed to have their own building where worship and ministries are held. The members are spiritually nurtured through the efforts of the Christian Education Committee. The church reaches out to win souls through the Evangelism and Missions Committees. Their Outreach Points are being prepared to become local churches. The church is set for further growth to bring glory to God.
Sources: TAC Journals