Local Church History
TMC Banting began as an Outreach of TMC Klang from the mid 1930’s when Rev. S. S. Pakianatham served as the DS. The Government-assisted Methodist English Primary School was opened on 12 January 1953. It was dedicated on 21 March 1953 by Bishop Raymond L. Archer. Rev. J.A.P. Oswald, the headmaster of the newly-formed Primary School, served as the Pastor of the church. Worship services were held in the school hall. The Church School was organized in May 1953 with the pastor as its superintendent.
US $3000 Grant From New York
On 25 December 1954, the first baptism, which was that of little Denison Jayasooria Jayaratnam was held. The MYF was organized in February 1955. The first office-bearers were installed by the DS Dr. Hobart B. Amustutz. The first marriage conducted in this church was that of Mr. Israel Gnanamuthu to Miss Pakiathai Joseph on 12 September 1955. The church wanted to put up their own building. A US $3000 (RM9000) grant was obtained through the New York Office of the Methodist Church in U.S.A. A Building Committee was then initiated, however, the building only materialized later. One problem was that the Chinese members at that time wanted to build their own church building in the town. After Rev. Oswald left Banting at the end of 1958, three English Services were conducted by Mr. V.K. Vincent Daniel. Rev. M. Thangamuthu was only able to come once a month to conduct the Tamil service and administer the Holy Communion.
Church Building Designed by the Best
In 1960, though the decision to erect a church building was taken earlier, it only came into being under the able leadership of Mr. Vincent Daniel. Others in the Committee were Mr. Daniel K. Jayaratnam, Mr. J. Thambidorai, Mr. Robert Selvaratnam, Mr. Tan Chet Wah and Rev. Thangamuthu. Mr. Vincent Daniel got the assistance of two professionals, who rendered their professional services free of charge, Mr. Minjoodt a leading K.L Architect who designed the building and Mr. Daniel Welch the local D.I.D. engineer. Mr. Minjoodt drew up the reinforced concrete plans required specially for unique cantilevered porch. The contractor Mr. Tung Kai Leong, when approached by Mr. Vincent Daniel in his capacity as the Principal of M.E.S, consented to build the church at the minimal cost of $12,900. Mr. Tung acknowledged that he had prospered a hundredfold because he built this church building as a labour of love. The newly-built church was dedicated to God’s glory on 4 February 1962 by Bishop Hobart B. Amstutz. The TPAC which was formed in 1968 and the Joint Liaison Committee assigned this church and two houses to TPAC. The Banting church is blessed.
Blessing from the OMF
In 1970 the church had the services of Rev. William F. Harris, an OMF missionary, fondly known as Pastor Bill Harris. He served as the full-time residential Assistant Pastor.
The Chairman, in his capacity as Principal of the school, persuaded those staying in the men’s hostel to vacate to enable Pastor Harris and family to occupy the house. The OMF undertook full financial responsibility for the invaluable services rendered by Pastor Harris. He expanded the existing outreach work, which stretched from Sungai Linau Estate in Sepang and Prang Besar Estate in Kajang. There were many converts who later joined the church.
Hosting 8th National MYF Institute
In 1971 the TPAC Journal reported: “This is perhaps the only Church School in our conference which has 200 strong Church School children and which hires a school bus on monthly rental of $60 to transport the children.” In 1972, the 8th MYF Institute was held in M.E.S. Banting from 10 to 14 April. The Banting MYF played host under the leadership of Mr. Denison Jayaratnam, who was President of both the Conference and the local MYF. Bishop T.R. Doraisamy visited the church on 23 March 1975. Miss Molly Jayaratnam, the local MYF President was elected the first Selangor District MYF President. In August 1976, a Youth Missionary Conference was organized for the Selangor District MYF under the guidance of the local MYF advisor Mr. William Doraisamy. Some of those who attended this Youth Missionary Conference are serving pastors in T.A.C. A leadership cum Conference MYF AGM was hosted by the local MYF in October 1983 at Seri Pantai Morib. Mr. Arul Raj Solomon was elected the National MYF President and served for four years. Mr. Silvester Louis Martin David was also elected as the District MYF President and National MYF Vice President. In 1977, Rev. James K. Solomadan, a local-born, became the Pastor. He later served as the Conference President. During Rev. James Solomadan’s tenure as pastor of this church, the WSCS was formally organized and Mrs. Mercy Daniel was elected the first local President. Mrs. Mercy Daniel was the LCEC Chairperson from 1986 to 1990. In 1981, the church’s Full Membership stood at 66. Miss Annamary Ponniah served as District WSCS President and was also the LCEC Chairperson.
Formation of the MAF
In 1986, Rev Jeyabal David was the Pastor. The Methodist Adults Fellowship (MAF) was inaugurated and formally accepted at the First Local Conference. The first President of this Fellowship was Mr. Melvin Wijayaratnam. In 1987, Mr. Abraham Ponniah who served as the local and District MYF President, heeded God’s call for the full time ministry. The Full Membership now stood at 78.
Confirmation of Members by the Bishop
In 1990 Rev. David Tharmakan was appointed Pastor on his return from the USA after obtaining a Master’s Degree. He was also the Selangor DS. Mrs. Mercy Daniel and Mr. I. Selladurai had the privilege of being part of the Malaysian delegation to the 16th World Methodist Conference held in Singapore from 23 to 30 July 1991. Mrs. Mercy also served on the Conference Board on Music & Worship, Social Concerns and Nomination Board.
Mr. I. Selladurai served as a District Lay Leader and Treasurer. Mrs. Elizabeth Selladurai too served as District WSCS President. Rev. David Tharmakan made possible the visit of Bishop Dr. Denis Dutton on the 6 September 1992. The Bishop received and confirmed 15 new members.
Rev. M.G. Thana Raj was the Pastor from 1993 up to March 1995. His vision and desire was to instill and cultivate the earnestness and commitment for full time ministry among the young people. He started the Building Fund Project. He also started a Preaching Course to equip the members to proclaim the gospel effectively. He revived the outreach work in the Gadong area. In 1994 various new initiatives such as singing competition, guitar classes and other interesting events were initiated by him. The Church School ministries were also held in Sungai Sedu. Rev. Vincent Jayaraj took over from Rev Thana Raj as the Pastor- in-charge. In 1996 & 1997 Rev. Paul Maniam was the Pastor. The church went through a phase of revival under his vibrant leadership. Many were ministered to and came to know the Lord. The church played host to the National Methodist Women’s Convention at Buloh Perindu Morib and National MYF Convention held at the Methodist English School in Banting.
Playing Host to District Sports Carnival With 500 Participants
In 1998 & 1999 Rev. D.B. Laurence was the Pastor-in-Charge assisted by Mr. Anthony Panan in 1998 and Mr. Samuel Periathamby in 1999 respectively. Rev. Laurence administered the Holy Communion and conducted LCEC meetings once a month. In 1999 The Full Membership grew to 81. From 2000 – 2005 Rev. Devadass Ratnam was the Pastor-in-Charge. He led the Church in the area of worship and administration. Mr. Edwin Selvanesan was elected the District MYF President and he served for six consecutive years. During his tenure as the District President TMC Banting hosted the National Youth Convention and it was held at the Dewan Jugra Banting. TMC Banting also played host to the District Sports Carnival that attracted more than 500 participants. During these years the Kuala Langat Inter-Denominational Fellowship was also revived on the initiative of Rev. Devadass Ratnam and Rev. Willian Singgam of the Anglican Church. For the first time TMC Banting organized a Church Family Camp at the Baptist Centre, Port Dickson. This was an eye opener for the church, as they realized that fellowship does make a difference and was important. The Church Family Camp has since become an annual affair. The church also purchased a new double- storey parsonage and a van. The P.A. system was upgraded and so were the musical instruments. The church was also air-conditioned. After a lapse of several years, the church produced another Pastor in Silvester Louis Martin David.
From 2006 to 2012 Rev. Jevaretnam Sowria was the Pastor-in-Charge. A humble and simple man of God, he served TMC Banting for seven years, thus being the longest serving Pastor. In 2009 the Full Membership was 88.
Rev. Jevaretnam was a mission minded Pastor who challenged the church to focus on missions with the first step of faith in adopting Bongi Island in Sabah. The church raised funds for the ministries in Bongi and also sent Rev. Jevaretnam to Bongi several times. Other mission involvement of the church included Nepal, Pale, Myanmar and the Orang Asli ministries in Bukit Cheeding. Myanmar services were conducted every Sunday evenings under the guidance and ministry of Rev. Alex Zhao Ming Tu attracting nearly 50 - 80 souls. It was indeed a fruitful ministry. This ministry was later discontinued as the migrant workers returned to Myanmar.
Membership Growth Called for Larger Sanctuary
During this period, TMC Banting produced several leaders who served at the District and National level. Mr. Edwin Selvanesan was elected as the National MYF Secretary after which he was elected the National MYF President for three consecutive years, from 2008 to 2010. He was also elected as the Secretary and Vice President of the Persaudaraan Belia Methodist Malaysia also known as the General Conference Youth Council. In 2008 the Full Membership was 80. As the church grew in number, a Building Committee was formed under the leadership of Mr. Edwin Selvanesan. They looked into the possibility of a larger sanctuary. A temporary extension structure was erected to accommodate the growth of the church. The sanctuary then accommodated 300 people. This extension was done in faith as the church did not go on a fund raising drive. God provided the financial needs of the church.
In 2013 Rev. Raymond Raj Ponnudurai was the Pastor-in-charge and assisted by Ministerial Student Mr. Ronald Rohendra Rao. A tangible growth was seen as Sunday services were packed. There were ministries among the Sri Lankans in Telok Panglima Garang. Evangelistic work in Gadong and Dusun Durian was growing under the supervision of the Student Pastor. God was doing great things in these areas as every week more were attending the Sunday Worship Services.
Producing Outstanding Individuals to Serve the Community
The church has produced outstanding individuals such as Datuk Dr. Dennison Jayasooria, a recognized and respected person in the nation for his involvement in the area of social work. Mr. I. Selladurai who was selected as the “Tokoh Guru Negeri Selangor”. Many others are doing well in their own fields and bringing glory to God.
Concern for the Needy
In 2014 and 2015 Rev. John Sunder was the Pastor-in-charge. He was assisted by Mr. Ronald Rohendra Rao, a weekend seminary student. The growth in church was significant as Mr. Ronald reached out to the people in the estates nearby. From 2015 – 2018 Rev. Raymond Raj was the Pastor-in-Charge once again. He was very active in social work especially among the orphans and widows. He was also overseeing the “Ray of Hope” Shelter Home. The church had almost 50 people from this Home attending the service.
Rev. Raymond Raj also steered the church into getting a rented building in Telok Panglima Garang for the Outreach Ministry which was being conducted in a member’s home. The building was refurbished and the ministry continued at the new venue. In 2016, for the first time, the Full Membership of the local church reached 100.
Growing Spiritually and Financially
In 2018 Rev. Ronald Rohendra Rao was the Pastor-in-charge. He immediately got involved in all the ministries. He was familiar with the ministry, because he had previously served as a Student Pastor from 2013 -2015. Mr. Kelvin Paul Raj was the ministerial student on weekend practical work. Being young and vibrant, he was very active in home visitations and encouraging the members especially youths. This resulted in a significant growth in the membership. The church grew spiritually, financially and in numbers. In 2017 and 2018 the Full Membership went up to 118.
Currently, in 2019 Rev. John Mathuni is the Pastor. As an experienced senior Pastor, he is doing his best to guide the church. Though Mr. G. Athimoolam Solomon was elected as the Lay Leader, this faithful servant of God was called home to the Lord on 14 October 2019. Mr. David Selvathasen is the LCEC Chairperson. The Full Membership is 118. The number of members in the various Agencies is: MYF (14), MYAF (27), MSF (20) and MW (24). There are 26 children, 6 teachers and 1 helper in the Church School. There are however, no Small Groups. TMC Banting has one Outreach Point in Telok Panglima Garang.
Conclusion: TMC Banting began as a Local Church in 1953. Rev. J.A.P. Oswald, the headmaster of the newly-formed Methodist English Primary School served as the pastor of the church. Worship services were held in the school hall. The Church School was organized in May 1953 with the pastor as its superintendent. Here we see a close tie between the church and the school. It is significant to note that this local church has produced several teachers and head-teachers of caliber over the years. Many have served and are still serving the District and the Annual Conference. Datuk Dr. Denison Jayasooria is one who served the local church as a youth, the Annual Conference as a pastor and is currently serving the nation in matters concerning social well-being. God’s enabling power has made all these possible. To Him alone belongs all glory and honour.
1. TMC Banting
2. Methodist Journals – MAC, TPAC, TAC