Mr. Gnanamuthu Moses, a pioneer of TMC Kampar recollects, “The ministry in Kampar was started in 1952. It began with only ten members, and I happen to be the only one who is still a member.” During this initial period, some from the surrounding estates and mining areas became members. The church had the services of Lay Preacher Mr. Kandiah, a teacher at ACS Kampar. At that time, the worship service was held at the Chinese Methodist Church Kampar for two years. The MAC Journal mentions Pastor D. Vethamony as the first Pastor of the church.
The Early Pastors
From 1960 to 1961, Rev. V.A. Chelliah was the Pastor. From 1962 – 1963, Supply Pastor V. Seenisamy was in charge. In 1964 Rev. K.J. Timothy was the Pastor-in-charge and from 1965 to 1970 the Pastor-in-charge was Rev. D.K. Gnananantham. In 1970 the Full Membership stood at 48 and they were from Tapah, Kampar, Malim Nawar and Gopeng. There were no resident pastor, and pastoral care came from the pastor in TMC Tamil Settlement Ipoh. He was given $ 50 as transport allowance. There was need for a separate pastor.
Strengthening Children’s Ministry
From 1971 to 1977, Rev. V. Seenisamy was the Pastor. In 1971 there were fortnightly services in Tong Wah Estate. A new Church School was organised with an enrolment of 35 children. There was another Church School in Malim Nawar with 38 pupils. Cottage meetings were conducted. The Full Membership increased to 55 and in 1972 it was 53. The total enrolment of children in the three Church Schools was 100. In 1973, besides the worship services, regular home prayer meetings were conducted. The total enrolment of Church School children was 123. Two of the Church Schools were conducted in Kampar and Tong Wah Estate. The WSCS met the transport expenses for the Church School. The Full Membership stood at 41. There was a slight drop in the membership as some members had returned to India. In 1974 the Full Membership was 42. There were three Church Schools with 107 children. The pastor and his wife taught in all these Church Schools. They used the Lutheran Church materials. The pastor made regular visits and conducted house Prayer Meetings in all the homes. Distance was a major hindrance to the ladies coming together for meetings.
Worship at Wesley Methodist Kampar
From 1978 to May 1979, Rev. C. Pandian was the Pastor. From June 1980 till November 1981, Miss Saraswathy Suppiah was appointed Conference Worker in charge of the circuit. She was stationed in Gopeng. Apart from Kampar and Gopeng, the Circuit included Tapah, Malim Nawar and Perak Hydro, Temoh, Kota Bharu Estate, Mynalpy Estate and Kinta Tin.
The Full Membership in 1981 was around 50. Weekly worship services in Gopeng and Kampar were held in the home of the Amarasuriya’s and at the Wesley Methodist Church Kampar respectively. Twenty-five young people were confirmed as Full Members of the church by the DS Rev. James Solamadan on 22 February 1981. An Outreach was started at Tong Wah Estate by holding an evangelistic meeting. The church raised RM1881.50 for the Building Fund through a dinner.
Five Young Women Step Forward to Serve God
On 1 December 1981, Mr. Selwyn Anantham was appointed as Church Worker. He served till May 1984. Rev. Jacob David and Rev. Gabriel Jabanathan were the Pastors-in-charge. Five young women – Miss Julie Anamah, Mrs. Sakthi Albert Simon, Miss Gomathi Ambross, Miss Rachel Veny and Mrs. Christina Balasubramaniam committed for the fulltime ministry. In 1982 the Full Membership was 79 and in 1981 it was 50. Three Hindu families were converted and added to the fellowship. Two families left to join a different denomination. In 1983, the updated Full Membership stood at 94. The church’s prayer team conducted prayer sessions in the outreach places. The land application was rejected and a fresh application was made. The church continued to request for a pastor of their own.
From 1 June 1984 – 1985, Rev. Peter Jebasekaran was the Pastor. In 1984 the Full Membership stood at 103. There were 76 children in the Church School ministry. Two youths gave themselves for the fulltime ministry. From January 1985, the church became self-supporting.
Four Recommended for Lay Preaching Course
In 1986, Rev. Joseph Komar was the Pastor. With the help of Mrs. Betsie Komar, the pastor’s wife, the church witnessed growth in the children’s ministry. There were a total of 80 children with 13 teachers. Church School was conducted in six different places. Mrs. Komar conducted a teachers’ training programme, and they met once a month for prayer, evaluation, lesson-planning and audio visual preparation. Mrs. Komar also helped to train Church School teachers in the other churches in the district. For the first time four active lay persons were recommended for the Lay Preachers’ course: Mr. Segaran, Mr. Parthiban, Miss Vimala Embrose and Mr. Alakeason.
Moving into Deliverance Ministry
From 1987 to 1992, Rev. Hendry Ponniah was the Pastor. The Full Membership in 1987 was 108. In 1988, there were four weekly worship services – Gopeng, Kampar, Malim Nawar, Tapah. There were six Church Schools in the circuit, 8 teachers and 82 students. In 1989 the Full Membership was 131. Once a month, the members gathered in Kampar for Holy Communion Service. There was an emphasis on personal evangelism and deliverance ministry. Several people were saved through these ministries. People were attracted to the ministry when they saw signs and wonders.
Owning a Parsonage
In 1990, the Full Membership was 139. The Lay Leader was Mr. Segaran and LCEC Chairperson was Mr. M. John. By God’s grace, the church bought a parsonage in Kampar and they raised funds for it. In 1991, the Full Membership was 144. The work among the Sengois progressed well. 16 people were ready for baptism. The pastor moved into the spacious parsonage. This was the church’s first property. In 1992, the Full Membership was 144. Mr. James Ravindaren gave himself for the fulltime ministry.
Ministry in Bidor/Sungkai/Tapah
From 1993 – 1997, Rev. Elango Kannan was the Pastor. In 1993, the Full Membership rose to 157. Mr. K. Segaran gave himself for the fulltime ministry. The church had a weekly ministry among the Sengois. About 20 people, including two Sengois were baptized. Tithes and pledges increased significantly. The church became self-supporting. In 1994, there were seven cell groups meeting in seven different areas under committed lay people. The Church School helped in the Sengoi ministry. In 1995, the Full Membership was 155. The Tapah Outreach area with 14 members was transferred to the Teluk Intan Outreach of Bidor/Sungkai. A 10% down payment was made for the Building Project. The church raised the rest of the money, including the renovation expenses. In 1996, the Full Membership was 167. Area Fellowships were held in three places and the pastor was in charge. In the absence of an Outreach Worker in the Tapah/Bidor /Sungkai area, Tapah work was transferred back to Kampar by the Teluk Intan Church.
Building Project in Kampar Town
The church made all the financial arrangements to purchase the block of three buildings with one entrance at the price of RM 350,000. A problem arose when the Perak State Government was not prepared to approve the sale and transfer to the Church. The local church made an appeal to the Perak State Government. In 1997, Rev. Stanley M. Sadagopan was the Pastor with Rev. Mark Subramanyam as the Assistant Pastor. As the supervising pastor, Rev. Sadagopan went to Kampar only on a few days in a month and whenever needed. All programmes and activities of the church were conducted by Rev. Mark in consultation with Rev. Sadagopan. Kampar worship service was on Sundays at 3.30 pm, in the Kampar Wesley Church premises. Gopeng worship was on Sundays at 8.00 am, in a shop-house owned by the Anglican Church. Malim Nawar worship was on Thursdays at 5.45 pm and Tapah the worship service was held fortnightly on Wednesday evenings. The second application for the purchase of the 3 shop- houses was submitted to the office of the Pengarah Tanah & Galian. It was also rejected. The church made a third attempt.
From 1998 – 2002, Rev. Mark Subramanyam was the Pastor. In 1998, the Church finally purchased the 3 shop-lots in Kampar town. The Full membership was 158. In 1999, the church worked hard to raise funds to do a major renovation on the 3 shop-lots. The Full Membership was 169.
In 2000, the Full Membership was 184. Worship service in Air Kuning was held every alternate Tuesday at 7.30pm in the house of one of the members. About 3 families attended regularly. A VBS was held from 4 – 6 September at the Kampar Tamil School from 8.00 am – 12.00 noon. About 72 children participated, of which 40% of them were non-believers. In 2001, the Full Membership was 184. In 2002 Bible Studies were done through Cell Groups and there was an extended time of prayer on Thursdays at 7.00 pm.
Major Renovation of the Three Shop-Lots
From 2003 – 2004, Rev. S. Jayabalan was the Pastor. In 2003 the church embarked on a major renovation of the three shop-lots. The church was involved in the Migrant Ministry. In 2004, the church was involved in the Vietnam ministry. The church finally completed the renovation work of the 3 shop-lots. The ground floor was rented out, to help settle the loans secured.
Dedication of Church Building
From 2005 – 2008, Rev. Joseph Yesupatham was the Pastor. In 2005, there were 6 cell groups and the participation was encouraging. The Church library was expanded and the Daily Devotional Material “Our Daily Bread” was distributed. Financial help as Social Concerns was rendered through the payment of medical bills and bus fare for school children. Social Concerns offering was taken on the 3rd week. It was noted that some focus was needed on the UTAR campus. In 2006, the Full Membership was 215. In 2007, the Church building was officially dedicated on 22 September 2007 by Rev. P. Tevaraji, the Conference President. In 2008, the Full Membership was 220. Concern was expressed as people were moving to bigger towns for education and employment purposes. This affected leadership development.
LCEC Mission Trip to Thailand
From 2009 to 2012, Rev. David Abraham was the Pastor. In 2009 the Full Membership was 214. Outreach Ministry was started in Tapah Road and it showed positive growth. In 2010, the Full Membership was 196. There was a significant dip in the giving of tithes. Apart from the Myanmar Child Adoption, the church also adopted 2 children from the Bondo tribe in Orissa, India. The presence of the TAR University and the restoration of Kampar town presented the church with a different ministry scenario. In 2011, the Full Membership was 201. The LCEC went on a mission trip to Thailand TEACH Centre. In 2012, the membership was 185. Three cell groups functioned. 5 adults were baptised. Orang Asli ministry was stopped temporarily. Orissa Missions Fund too was stopped for the moment. Tithing increased dramatically (exceeding RM 10, 000). The church celebrated its 60th Anniversary on 11 August 2012.
In 2013, Rev. Jeyarajah was the Pastor with Mr. Sargunawaran as Part-time Supply Pastor. Rev. Charles Abraham’s Evangelistic Meeting was held on 16 May and around 500 people attended. Many non- believers were healed and delivered from the evil one. There were four active cell groups. Most of the church leaders were young, educated and spiritually motivated. It was noted that there was a great scope for Campus Ministry.
Focusing on Mission
In 2014, Rev. Stephan Gunaraja was the Pastor and Mr. Sargunawaran continued to minister. Rev. Stephen Gunaraja travelled from Teluk Intan and Mr. Sargunawaran travelled from Klebang, Ipoh to minister. On Fridays prayers were held simultaneously in Kampar, Malim Nawar and Gopeng. There was prayer for missions every Saturday morning. The women organised “Esther Prayer” every Wednesday. Church School Teacher Training was held in February and VBS in July
In 2015, Rev. Vinsant Rayar was the Pastor-in-charge and Mr. Sargunawaran continued. The Full Membership dropped to 152. VBS was held and many non- believers’ children attended. The cemetery problem continued to be an issue. From 2016 – 2017 Rev. Seenivasagam David was the Pastor. In 2016, the Full Membership was 153. In 2017, Rev. Seenivasagam David continued as pastor in charge and Rev. S. Krishnan (retired) was Assistant Pastor. Full Membership was 158. A Three-Day VBS was organised. 55 children attended, of which 50% were non- Christian children. In 2018, the Pastor in charge was Rev. David Rasahpandy and Rev. S. Krishnan continued to assist. The Full Membership was 156. The church bought a new van.
In 2019 Rev. Stephen Gunaraja is the Pastor. The current Full Membership of the church remains at 156. The membership in the Agencies is as follows: MYF (12), MYAF (16), MSF (46) and MW (25). There are 75 children and 6 teachers in the Church School. There are also 5 Cell Groups. They have one Outreach in Gopeng.
Conclusion: Though the church has a long history extending to over sixty years, the exact date of its formation as a local church is not known. The church faced many challenges that slowed the growth. Most of the time, the church had to share their pastor with another church. The church had a Full Membership of 48 in 1970 and reached its highest of 220 in 2008. One of the high points in this local church’s history is the purchase of the three-storey building in Kampar town in 2008. The location is strategic and much can be achieved with focussed ministry, and much prayer and commitment.
1. Methodist Journals – MAC, TPAC. TAC
2. 60th Church Anniversary Souvenir Programme