The Early Years
The Tamil Methodist Church in Klang was established in 1908 when 15 Tamil Methodists gathered to worship at what is now the Convent School at Jalan Tengku Kelana (then known as Rembau Street). The Rev S.W.V. Arumugam, a former clerk from Jaffna, Ceylon (Sri Lanka), served as the first pastor from 1914 until his death in 1932. The Full Membership in 1914 was only 15. Rev. Arumugam ministered to the Tamil-speaking immigrants from India and Ceylon in Klang, Kuala Selangor and Banting. Young pastors from South India came and lived with him in Klang, among them was Rev Thangamuthu, Rev K.J. Timothy and Rev D. K. Gnananantham. Rev. Arumugam served as pastor for 18 years and reached out to the Tamils in the estates of Selangor.
Ministry Extends to Port Swettenham
Ministry was extended to Port Swettenham (Port Klang) and Kapar as early as 1917. In 1930, the work extended to Banting and Sepang. The present sanctuary in Jalan Sultan was dedicated in 1925 by Bishop Titus Lowe. The building cost $5000. This sanctuary was shared by Tamil, Chinese and Wesley Methodist congregations. In 1938, the Tamil Parsonage was built in Jalan Bukit Jawa at a cost of $4000. Rev J.S. Arthur and his family were the first to occupy this parsonage.
Becoming a Self-Supporting Church
From 1950 – 1958, Rev. M. Thangamuthu was the Pastor. In 1951, the Full Membership was 62. In 1952, all outstanding debts on the current account were cleared. Regular worship services were conducted in the out-stations and estates. Steady increase in the church finance was reported. The opening of a Tamil school at Kapar was brought about by the efforts of Rev. Thangamuthu. Mr. S. Ratnasamy of Tanjung Malim was appointed headmaster of this school. In 1953, 11 children and 8 adults were baptised and the Full Membership was 64. The Port Klang Outreach was organized. In 1955 the Klang church building was extended together with the construction of the Chinese Methodist Education Centre. The church grew and became self-supporting with sound finance.
Kapar Outreach Organized
In 1959, the Kapar Outreach was organized. In 1960 the church welcomed their new pastor the Rev. V.A. Subramaniam early in the year on transfer from Penang. The Pastor reported that eight Preparatory Members were received into Full Membership after 20 weeks of instruction. Six baptised adults were prepared for Full Membership. The Full Membership in 1968, when the TPAC was formed, was 166. A Methodist Tamil Primary School was established in Kapar. In 1970 Rev. Noel Arputharaj was the pastor. The Full Membership was 138. In 1971, there was a Church School in Seafield Estate which was conducted by the young people of the church. The Full Membership was 137. In 1971, Rev. Paul Athimuthu was the pastor until 12 August that year.
Seafield Estate Outreach Ministry
From 13 August 1971 – 1974, Rev. Francis Sunderaraj was the pastor. In 1972, the parsonage was renovated at a cost of about $ 3000. In August, the church conducted a VBS for the first time. In 1973, the Full Membership was 171. In 1974, an Outreach Ministry was organized in the Seafield Estate (present day Puchong). The Full Membership was 183. Bishop T.R. Doraisamy visited the church in January and again in September.
Outreach Ministry in Highlands Estate and Kampong Jawa
From January to November 1975, due to the shortage of pastors, ministerial student Mr. Simon Chandran, agreed to delay his return to India to continue his theological studies to give pastoral help. His ministry was a great blessing. The Chinese Methodist Church moved out in 1976, after constructing their own building nearby. During that same year, an Outreach Ministry was organized in the Highlands Estate (present day Bukit Tinggi). An Outreach ministry was also organized in Kampung Jawa. In 1977, although the record showed Full Membership as 211, the actual number was 160.
Major Parsonage and Church Repairs
From 1978 – 1989, Rev. James Solamadan was the pastor. In 1978, the newly formed choir enhanced the worship during the church services. Sister Amirthabai and Brother Samuel Ganesh Evangelistic Meetings were well attended. The church purchased a terrace house for RM 36,000 in Klang. In 1980, the church finances improved and they wanted a pastor of their own. 8 adults and 5 children accepted the Lord and were baptized. The Full Membership was 220. In 1981, the old parsonage was renovated and was brought to good condition. In 1982, there were four Church Schools, one in Klang and the other three in Seafield Estate, Highlands Estate and Kampong Jawa. In 1983 the Full Membership was 267. An Easter Fair was organised to raise funds. A Church Retreat was held on 1 June and about 100 attended. There were three All Night Prayers. They spent RM 8000 on church repairs. In 1984, the Klang Church School had 80 children with 6 teachers. A Church Retreat was organised on 15 May in Morib. About 120 attended. Brother Sadhu Chellapa was the special speaker and he spoke on the growth of the Church. It was a retreat that challenged its attendees.
Sole Occupant in the Church
From 1 January 1985 the Wesley Methodist Church moved to their own building, leaving the Tamil Methodist Church as the sole occupant of the sanctuary. In 1985, the Full Membership was 287. There were four Church Schools. Outreach work was also done in Harun Estate. A worship service was started in Shah Alam. In 1986, the Full Membership was 310. There were 21 members received on transfer. Area Fellowships were started on Thursdays in 4 places. Leaders were appointed and the pastor visited one Area Fellowship each week. Mr. C. Paul Arputharaj committed to fulltime ministry. In 1987, the Full Membership was 338. They bought an overhead projector to enhance the worship sessions during church services.
80th Church Anniversary
In 1988, the Full Membership was 377. In the Church School, Klang had 100 children, Seafield had 40, Kg. Jawa had 30 and Highlands Estate 30. There were a total of 15 teachers. The children were taken to Templar’s Park for a picnic. The Young Adult Fellowship was formed. The Church celebrated its 80th Anniversary. This was the first time the church celebrated its anniversary. In 1989, the Tamil Worship service was at 8.30 am and the English at 10.00 a.m. A Church School teachers’ training was held on the 7 - 8 March 1988. A Holy Spirit Seminar was held from 4 - 6 March 1988. The church bought a new Ford Econovan for about RM 29,000. This was a great help for the outreach work of the church. The Full Membership was 379.
Focussing on Missions and Missionaries
From 1990 – 1992, Rev. S. Duraisingam was the pastor. In 1990, there were two worship services, one in Tamil and one in English. Both the services were well attended. The Bible study was attended by about 70 people. In 1991, the Full Membership was 374. The church had one main bilingual service in Tamil and English at 9.00 am. There was an English service every 2nd, 3rd and 4th Sundays of the month at 10.45 am. About 40 people attended the Bible Study on Tuesdays at 7.30pm. Twelve people were selected for a twelve-week course on Preaching and Teaching. In 1992, the Full Membership increased from 374 to 407. Apart from supporting missionary Miss Usha Stanley, the church also supported two missionaries in India through India Evangelical Mission (IEM) and Friends Missionary Prayer Band (FMPB). More than 10% of the total income of the church was spent on Missions. The church continued to support their missionary Miss Usha, who was with the Doulos ministry. Weekly services were held on Sundays at 5.30pm in the Outreach homes in Puchong and Alam Mega. About 15 adults attended these services.
In 1993, Rev. David Tharmakan, the newly elected TAC President, was the pastor. He was also the pastor of TMC Port Klang. The Full Membership was 405. Ministerial student Mr. Sandireaseheran was posted here and he was a great help. From December 1993 – 2000, Rev. C. Jayaraj was the pastor. In 1994, the Full Membership was 429. There were 7 Cell Groups meeting every Wednesday. Regular Friday Prayers were conducted and once a month All Night Prayer was also held. In 1995, the Full Membership was 434. There was an LCEC Retreat conducted by Rev P. Tevaraji. There was also a Navigators Cell Group Leaders’ Training in March as well as a Counsellors’ Training conducted by Rev. Justin Clarance. The Christian Education Committee periodically organised sale of Christian books. In 1996, the Full Membership was 395. Fifty members were transferred out and fifty were removed by Local Conference Action. In 1997, there were 13 teachers and 84 children in the Church School. The MYF had 30 members and similarly with the MW. A monthly Newsletter was published by the Christian Education Committee. There were 15 Cell groups which met on alternate Wednesdays. The leaders came on a weekly basis for training of the lessons. There were two main Outreach ministries.
The Puchong Outreach was very vibrant. At the Kapar Outreach, the Children’s Ministry was conducted at the Kapar Chinese Methodist Church. In 1998, the Full Membership was 456. The Agape Fellowship (Senior Citizens) did hospital visitation, Home Prayer Meetings, Health Talks and Fellowship Programs. Tuition classes were also started at Kapar. In 1999, the Full Membership Roll was 443. The Christian Education Committee conducted two Marriage Enrichment Seminars by Rev. P. Tevaraji and Pastor Suresh Sundram. About 30 people attended an Evangelism Training Seminar conducted by Rev. Kulothungan. The Puchong Outreach saw growth. Ministerial student Timothy Krishnan served at the church on weekends. In 2000, the Full Membership Roll was 454
Old Parsonage Demolished New Building Dedicated
From 2001 till 2006, Rev. John Kovilpillai was the pastor. He retired in 2006. In 2001, the Full Membership was 461. Rev. Jayabalan was the Assistant Pastor. After the Lent Services, regular Friday Prayer Sessions took place. About 20 – 25 attended. Special speakers were invited. In 2002, the Tamil Parsonage was demolished to make way for a three-storey building that would house a Multipurpose Hall, a new Parsonage, Church Office and other facilities. Also in 2002, an Outreach Ministry was organized in Bukit Cheraka. In 2003, Rev. Ruben Kanagalingam was theAssistant Pastor. In the same year, the dedication of the new building was in January by Bishop Rev Datuk Dr Peter Chio was a major milestone in the history of this church and the culmination of a decade-long dream. On 2 January 2005, the Puchong Outreach became a Local Church. In 2006 Rev. John Mathuni, the Supply Pastor, assisted Rev Kovilpillai. The Kapar Outreach Ministry moved out of the Kapar Chinese Methodist Church to a building of their own. This was on the grounds of the Methodist Tamil Primary School, after the school had relocated. The Kapar Methodist Mission Chapel was renovated at about RM 80,000. The Building Dedication was on 8 October.
Beyond Centennial Celebration Full Membership Crosses 500
In 2007 and 2008, Rev. Elanko Kannan was the pastor with Mr. Jeremiah Thomas, the seminary student. In 2007, the Full Membership was 428. The Kapar Outreach service was at 6 pm. with an average attendance of 40 – 50. In 2008, the Full Membership was 439. The Church celebrated their Centennial Celebration on 27 September. In 2009, Rev. Dr. A.E Joseph was the pastor with Church Worker Devarajah Balayah. The Full Membership was 508. In 2010, the church theme was: “Year of Promise”. The Full Membership was 516. The church published an Easter Newsletter. The MYF had a local camp. Mr. Edwin Mohan was sent to TMC Klang for ministry exposure. Local church member Mr. Kevin Paul Raj came forward for fulltime ministry. In 2011, the Full Membership was 513. The Church had a one-day outing to Kundang. The Church recommended Kapar to become a Local Conference. The recommendation was accepted at the 36th Session of TAC on 20 November 2011. There was a Fund Raising Dinner for Kapar on 29 October 2011.
Giving Birth to a Local Church
From 2012 – 2017, Rev. Jonathan Jesudas was the pastor. On 17 March 2012, the Kapar Outreach was constituted as a Local Conference. In 2013, the Full Membership was 510. There were four Cell Groups. The church started a Sports Ministry (football and badminton) and held their Family Camp at Bayu Beach Resort, Port Dickson from 20 – 21 April. In 2014 the Full Membership stood at 514. The number of Cell Groups increased from 5 to 8. The church took over the Sentosa Outreach ministry from TMC Shah Alam. TMC Klang was part of the Migrant Ministry Klang (MMK). Weekly Batam and Nepali services were held in the church. In 2015, the pastor was assisted by retired pastor Rev. Joy Pandian. The Full Membership was 501. An average of 300 attended the Sunday worship services.
From Commercial to Church Land
In 2016, the Full Membership was 511. The Alpha Course was introduced. The church had 7 Cell Groups and they used Rev. Victor Vethamani’s book “Going On To Maturity. About 20 – 30 people attended the Sentosa ministry. Ministry among the Sri Lankans migrant workers was on Thursdays. Renovation was completed at the church house, which was occupied by the caretaker. The cost was RM 52,490. The Church Hall land title was converted from commercial land to church land on 17 November 2016. In 2017, the Full Membership was 516. The Church had 5 Cell Groups and used the book “Little Foxes”. They adopted 59 Myanmar children under GOH. Eight Nepalese were baptised. The average attendance at the Sentosa Outreach, which was held in a house, was 15. The MYAF was officially formed on 27 August 2017. The renovation of the church building was completed at a cost of RM 320,000 and the Rededication Service was held on 10 September 2017. The Federal Government gave RM 20,000 through the MIC.
From 2018, Rev. Vinsant Rayar was the pastor. In 2018, the Full Membership was 513. Seven members were received as Full Members through Confirmation. The Church has 8 Cell Groups. The church adopted 61 Myanmar children through GOH. The Sentosa Outreach Ministry stopped as an Outreach and the ministry was done through the Cell Group. A Musical Celebration Night was held on 14 July 2018 under the theme: “Excellence in Worship.” About 250 believers attended the service.
In 2019, Rev. Vinsant Rayar continued as the pastor with Rev. Jeyarajah as the Assistant Pastor. Mr. Paul Raj is the Lay Leader and Mr. Achu Naidu the LCEC Chairperson. The Full Membership is 522. The number of members in each Agency is as follows: MYF (27), MYAF (20), MSF (34) and MW (30). There are 48 children and 10 teachers in the Church School. They have 2 Preaching Points, one in Setia Alam and another in Sentosa, Klang. There are 7 cell-groups: Taman Sentosa I (Mr. Anthony Louis), Taman Sentosa II – (Mr. Rajan), Kota Kemuning – (Mr. Achu Naidu), Bandar Botani, Baya Perdana & Bukit Tinggi – (Mrs. Jayanthi Jayaraj), Tepi Sungai – (Mr. Deva Dass), Shah Alam – (Mr. Jevanatham) and Palm Grove – (Mr. Edward).
Conclusion: What began as a gathering of 15 Tamil Methodists in Klang 111 years ago, has today grown to be TMC Klang with a Full Membership of 522. Initially the growth was very slow, in fact, after six years the Full Membership remained at 15. But by God’s grace, the church reached out to the Indians in the nearby towns and estates. Slowly Outreaches were established, which resulted in new local churches being established. The members were nurtured through Bible Studies and Small Groups. The community was reached through strong evangelistic efforts. Empowered by the Holy Spirit, people were drawn out of darkness into God’s holy light. Both the pastors and the lay people laboured earnestly and God gave the harvest. To Him alone belongs all glory and honour.
1. Methodist Journals – MAC, TPAC and TAC
2. Local Church Souvenir Programme