The ministry in Kapar was initiated by Rev. V.A. Subramaniam, who was the pastor of TMC Klang from 1960 – 1961. He was also the headmaster of the Methodist Tamil School in Kapar. Mr. Sarathy, an active member of TMC Klang, was also a member of the School Board. During this time the Kapar ministry was first started in the school canteen. As a result, in 1969, Mdm. Kuppu Munusamy Naidu was one of the first persons to be baptized. However, the Kapar ministry was discontinued following the racial riots of May 13, 1969. Sadly, no records were kept regarding the Kapar ministry from 1969.
Evangelism Efforts in the 1990s
Rev. S. Duraisingam, the pastor of TMC Klang from 1990 – 1992, together with Mr. P.P. Abraham, Ms. Tina, Ms. Usha Stanley and their team started a Bible Class and Church School in a house in Taman Rakyat, Batu Tujuh, Kapar. The ministry then moved to the Kapar Chinese Methodist Church. At that time, Mr. Jayarajah was the Evangelism Coordinator of TMC Klang.
In 1994, under the leadership of Rev. C. Jayaraj, TMC Klang rented a building in Kapar to build this ministry. Those who were involved in this include Mr. and Mrs. Victor, Mdm. Sathianathan, Ms. Grace, Mr. and Mrs. Sarathy, Mrs. Chitra Nathan, Mrs. Napolean, Mr. Timothy Sathianathan, Mrs. Pakiarani Edward, Mr. Achu Naidu, Mr. and Mrs. Patrick, Mr. Roymen Kumar, Mr. Steven, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Nagappan and Mr. and Mrs. Paul Nadarajah. Mr Victor was the Evangelism Coordinator.
Consolidating Ministry in the 2000s
Rev. Jayabalan, Rev. Ruben Kanagalingam, Pastor John Mathuni and Rev. Jeremiah Thomas led the Kapar ministry in the 2000s while serving as Assistant Pastors of TMC Klang. During this time, there were 20 adults and 25 children worshipping regularly. In 2004, this Tamil ministry returned to the Kapar Chinese Methodist Church. Then under the leadership of Rev. John Kovilpillai, TMC Klang reclaimed the Methodist Tamil School land in Kapar and built a Mission Chapel there at the cost of RM 100,000. It was dedicated on 8 October 2006 by Rev. John Kovilpillai.
Formation of the Pro Tem Committee
Mr. Timothy Sathianathan, Evangelism Coordinator of TMC Klang, together with several other lay members continued to be actively involved in this ministry in the 2000s. Rev. Elanko Kannan was pastor of TMC Klang from 2007 – 2008, followed by Rev. A.E. Joseph who served in 2009. A Pro Tem Committee was set up under his leadership. At this time, Pastor Devarajah Balayah was appointed co-ordinator of the Kapar Outreach Ministry with Mr. Ramulu as the secretary. Mr. Jayarajah was the Evangelism Coordinator then. This team decided that the Kapar ministry should strive to become a Local Conference by 2011.
Up until that time, the average attendance was 40 to 50 people, including non- Christians. Church School had 30 to 35 children. Regular prayer ministry was held every Wednesday and song practice on Saturdays. The pastoral house visitations were on Sundays and Wednesdays. All Night and Extended Prayer Sessions were carried out. Women and youth meetings were also conducted. Tithes and offering increased considerably. Social concerns ministry was also carried out.
In 2010, the average attendance increased to about 50 to 55 adults and there were 30 to 35 children. Many revival meetings were held frequently with various pastors. Attendance was very good and encouraging. The Pro Tem Committee was extended. The Evangelism Coordinator was Mr. Arthur Jeremiah. Mr. Jaime John, Mr. Tommy Ganapathi, Mr. Draviasingam, Lay Leader Mr. Achu Naidu and other TMC Klang leaders were very helpful towards the Kapar ministry. TMC Klang, in its Second Local Conference, recommended that Kapar Outreach become a Local Conference. However, the DS, Rev. P. Tevaraji, while encouraging and supporting the ministry in Kapar, advised them to wait another year to further build their leadership and finance.
Becoming a Local Conference
In 2011, Sunday worship service in the mornings was started. While continuing as the Assistant Pastor in TMC Klang, Pastor Devarajah Balayah concentrated more on the ministries in Kapar. At this period, Mr. Patrick Anthony was the Evangelism Coordinator. More extended prayer sessions and frequent home visitations were done. Many were brought to the church. Tithes and offering increased rapidly.
The 36th Session of the Tamil Annual Conference held in November 2011 approved of the Kapar Outreach becoming a Local Conference. On 17 March 2012, the Kapar Outreach was constituted as the 50th Tamil Methodist Church in Malaysia by the TAC President Rev. C. Jayaraj. Rev. Jonathan Jesudas was appointed as the first Pastor of TMC Kapar, with Supply Pastor Devarajah Balayah as the Assistant Pastor. The Full Membership in June was 57. Ten adults and eight children were baptised on 29 July. TMC Klang continued to give support in different ways.
Growing with a Pastor of their own
From 2013 – 2018, Pastor Devarajah Balayah served as the pastor. In 2013 the Full Membership was 84. Christian nurture was through Cell Groups and Bible Studies. Finance improved with an increase in tithes and offerings. Several gospel meetings were held. In 2014 the Full Membership was 97. Five adults and six children were baptised. In 2015 the Full Membership increased to 96. Majority of the members were from the lower-income group. In 2016 the Full Membership was 99. They had five active Cell Groups.
In 2017, for the first time, the Full Membership crossed the 100 mark to 107 in June. There were seven active Cell Groups. A few members of the church registered for the TEE Course in Tamil and English. An Evangelistic Banquet was held at Klang Utama, which was a new experience for this church. About 200 people attended. Eight adults and six children accepted Christ. The Social Concerns Committee of the church started free tuition at Bukit Raja with 25 children. The DS reported that Rev. Devarajah was well respected by the Indian Community in Kapar.
Growing Through Cell Groups and Evangelism
In 2018 the Full Membership further increased to 125. The Finance too improved. For the period January – June 2017, tithes were RM 44,476. There was a significant increase in 2018 to RM 58,230. There were six active Cell Groups. The Church was involved in evangelism in three places – Bukit Raja, Taman Sg. Kapar Indah and Taman Intan Kapar. They started a Cell Group in Bukit Raja. An open-air Evangelistic Meeting was held in Taman Intan.
In 2019, Rev. John Kovilpillai has been appointed the Pastor-in-charge with Pastor Mohan Raj as the Assistant Pastor. Mr. David Atputam is the Lay Leader and Mr. Paul Raj the LCEC Chairperson. The Full Membership is 123. The membership in the Agencies is as follows: MYF (18), MYAF (32), MSF (30) and MW (28). They have 46 children and 7 teachers in the Church School. They have one Preaching Point at Bandar Bukit Raja, which meets once a month. They have six Cell Groups meeting regularly on 2nd and 4th weeks.
Conclusion: The Tamil Methodist ministry in Kapar spans almost over sixty years. The DS delayed its formation as a Local Conference by one year in 2010, when it was first recommended. This was because of the need to strengthen the leadership as well as the finances. This vibrant new church rose to the situation by being faithful. Currently, with the experience of the Senior Retired Pastor, Rev. John Kovilpillai, the energy of the young pastor Mohan Raj and the commitment and service of the members, TMC Kapar can look forward to greater things ahead for the glory of God
1. Article by Rev. Devarajah Balayah
2. TAC Journals