TMC Alor Gajah began as an Outreach of TMC Melaka in 1984. Rev. Noel Arputharaj, the pastor of TMC Melaka, took the initiative to conduct meetings in the homes of members. In 1986, there was a spiritual revival after the Jesus Call’s Ministry in Kuala Lumpur. This impacted the work at Alor Gajah. The work also grew with the help of the STM students and the pastoral care of Rev. Arputharaj. The TAC President, Rev. Noel Arputharaj declared it as a Local Conference on 12 February 1989.
The Early Ministry
In 1989, Rev. S. Duraisingam was posted as the first Pastor with Church Worker Mr. Albert Simon (till April 1989). The Full Membership, which started as 55 in February, was 53. The lay people of TMC Melaka gave good support and in this Mr and Mrs D.A. Rajendran played key roles. Regular Church School, Women’s work, Youth programs and outreach work were carried out. Since members were scattered in several estates and housing areas and with infrequent and irregular public transport, a van was purchased to transport members. Finance was a challenge because of the rental for the building for worship.
Finance a Challenge
From 1990 to 1992 Rev. Stanley M. Sadagopan was the Pastor. In 1990 Candidate for ministry Mr. Robert Selvakumar was sent here for exposure. The Full Membership was 44. Worship services were held on Sundays at 6 pm. The church van was used to bring members from the outlying areas to the worship services in Alor Gajah town. 10 adults met weekly in the homes of members for bible study. This was followed by a time of intercessory prayer. There were 25 children in the Church School with 4 teachers. They met on Saturdays. The MYF had about 10 members and met fortnightly. They were fully involved in all the programs of the church. In 1991 the Full Membership was 40. The majority of worshippers were new enthusiastic converts. They were nurtured in the faith. The average monthly giving was about RM 700 and the money was used for rental (RM 250), pastor’s salary (share of RM 250) and petrol for van (about RM 70). Since they shared their pastor with TMC Melaka, the DS noted that the church would only grow if they had a pastor or a Church Worker of their own. The youths formed the majority in the church.
Took Charge of Tampin Ministry
In 1992 Mr. Dennis Raj was the ministerial student assigned. The Full Membership was 38. The majority of the members in the church were young people and below the age of 25 years. Mr. Dennis Raj did a good job in all the weekly activities of the church and nurtured them well. For a rural community, the giving was good – an average of RM 800 per month for 38 members. Half the giving went towards the rental.
There was a sense of belonging and a burden among the members for soul winning and evangelism. Their resources were limited and the Indian population in Alor Gajah was very small compared to the other races. Some non-Christians showed interest in the church and there was a need for regular follow-up.TMC Alor Gajah was given the responsibility to take charge of the Tampin ministry, which was under TMC Seremban. House meetings were initiated in Sungai Udang and Masjid Tanah. Many became members of the Alor Gajah church. However, many moved to cities due to job opportunities.
The DS noted that there was an urgent need for a pastor or a Church Worker to be stationed in Alor Gajah. He further noted that the person posted must be stationed there for a minimum of three years. When there were frequent pastoral changes, the work was affected and the members were discouraged.
Two Outreach Ministries
From 1993 to 1996 Rev. Justin Clarance was the Pastor. From 1993 TMC Alor Gajah was called Alor Gajah/Tampin. In 1993 Mr. James Ravindaren was sent here for his one-year Pre-Seminary exposure. The Full Membership was 72. About 40 people attended the worship service in Alor Gajah every Sunday at 4 pm. About 25 people attended the worship service in Tampin every Sunday at 9 am. The Outreach work was done in two places: a) in Sungai Udang about 30 people attended the service every Friday and b) in Kuala Pilah, about 15 people attended the monthly meeting. The Church School in Alor Gajah had 25 children and 3 teachers. In Tampin, there were 14 children with 5 teachers. The MYF in Alor Gajah had 18 youths and they met on alternate Tuesdays. In Tampin there were 12 youths and they met on Sundays after the worship service. The youths took turns to lead in the worship service. The WSCS had 12 members.
Pledging Towards the Building Project
In 1994 the Full Membership was 73. A Building Committee was formed and members of the church pledged towards the building project. In 1995 the Full Membership was 79. In 1996 Ministerial Student Mr. P. Raymond Raj was assigned here. The Full Membership was 79. There was a combined worship service in Alor Gajah at 9.30 am every Sunday. The members from Tampin would worship separately when they would have a suitable building. The MYAF was formed on 11 August 1996.They had 12 members
From 1997 to 1999 Rev. Barnabas Baskaran was the Pastor. In 1997, the Full Membership was 87. The Worship services were held in Alor Gajah at 9.30 am on Sundays and at 9 am in Tampin. In 1998 the Full Membership was 84. About 14 youths met weekly after the service. The church participated in a City-Wide Miracle Rally in the Tampin area. They purchased a new amplifier set, repaired and painted their van. After being in a rented premise for 12 years, the need to own their own place of worship was a great concern. It was a great challenge for the church because most of the members were dependent on the church van to bring them to the place of worship.
In 1999 the Full Membership was 79. Prayer group met every Tuesday at Tampin under the leadership of Mr. Vijaiadas. There were attempts to secure a land to build their own church and fund raising was done.
In 1998 the church, with the help of TMC Seremban, bought a low-cost house for a parsonage for RM32,000. In 2007 it was given for rent for RM200. In 2013 this property was sold for RM35,000.
Building of Their Own but Burden of Loan Repayment
From 2000 to 2003, Rev. R. Yesudason was the Pastor. In 2000 the Full Membership was 71. They had Cell Groups at the following locations: (a) Tampin on Tuesdays (b) Sg. Udang on Wednesdays (c) Alor Gajah on Thursdays and (d) Masjid Tanah on Thursdays. Tampin Outreach rented a shop house for their activities. The Alor Gajah / Tampin Church finally secured a building of their own at a cost of RM77, 000. They celebrated Christmas service in the new building. In 2001 the Full Membership was 80. Bishop Datuk Dr Peter Chio and the Conference President Rev. P. Tevaraji, dedicated the church building and parsonage respectively.
Facing Finance and Leadership Challenges
In 2002 the Full Membership was 81. The church moved back to their former place of worship, after they had problems with their neighbours in Taman Sri Kelemak. Finance was a problem, though people gave well from the little that they earned. They tried their best to repay the loans that they took. The church also had leadership problems – one of the reasons why the MYAF and MSF could not be revived. Tracting ministry was done together with the Singapore church members. Ministry was also carried out with a team from Singapore at the centre for the handicapped in Melaka. In 2003 the Full Membership was 91. There was an increase in tithes and offertory. TMC Sentul helped with a monthly gift of RM350. Bible studies were conducted by the pastor and Mr. Vijaiadas.
A shop lot was bought in 2002 for RM77,000. In 2005, it was put up for sale for RM 95,000. There were no buyers. In 2006, it was again put up for sale at a revised price of RM 85,000. Since there were still no buyers, in 2007 the building was rented out for RM 300. The building was eventually sold in 2012 for RM 70,000. In 2013, the church bought a double storey building for RM350, 000 under the name of three individuals from the church. The church thanked all the TAC churches for their contributions towards the Building Project through the TAC Dedication Sunday Offering and donations. The building was dedicated on 20 October 2013 by the TAC President Rev. C. Jayaraj
In 2004 Rev. Jevaratnam Sowria was the Pastor in charge. New graduate Pastor Samy Dass was assigned as the Assistant Pastor. The Full Membership was 93. Pastor Samy Dass did well under the guidance of Rev. Jevaratnam. There was a need for a more conducive place to worship as the present building was narrow and very often not enough for the congregation.
From 2005 to 2007 Rev. Samy Dass was the Pastor. In 2005, the Full Membership was 96 and remained the same in 2006. The church worshipped at a shop lot for a rental of RM350. In 2007 the Full Membership was 105. The place of worship moved to Cheng in a shop lot for a rental of RM 400. This location was more central and enabled the church to be more effective.
From 2008 to 2009 Rev. Tankaraj was the Pastor with Part Time Supply Pastor Vijaiadas. In 2008, the Full Membership was 98. The MYF started a youth service on the last Saturday of each month. The DS noted that most of the LCEC members were women. In 2009 the Full Membership was 118. They organised an exposure trip to an Orang Asli Kampung in Taboh Naning Alor Gajah. In 2010 Rev. John Simson was the Pastor with Part time Supply Pastor Vijaiadas. The Full Membership was 130. The church coordinated and participated in this exposure trip for Singapore ETAC MW and Pasir Panjang Methodist Church. It was for the purpose meeting with families in the Alor Gajah area.
Potential for Growth but Lacked Leadership
From 2011 to 2012 Rev. P. Sandireaseheran was the Pastor in charge with Part time Supply Pastor Vijaiadas. In 2011, the Full Membership was 130. For Missions, the church supported an indigenous pastor. Retired pastor Rev. Tankaraj helped in the ministries of the church. The DS Rev. Sandireseheran observed that the church had great potential for growth, however, there was a severe shortage in male leadership as most of the LCEC members of the church were ladies. In 2012 the Full Membership was 149. The church gave financial support to two missionaries working among the indigenous people of Peninsula Malaysia. The church also financially supported the studies of their part-time Supply Pastor, Mr.Vijaiadas. In 2013 Pastor Vijiadass was the Pastor in charge. The Full Membership was 133. The church supported Pastor Moses Jayaseelan’s ministry expenses every month. Only the MW was doing well and was active in all church ministries. MYF was not functioning as most of their key youths were studying and working in Kuala Lumpur.
Joint Ministry with Singapore
From 2014 to 2016 Rev. Anthony Panan was the Pastor. In 2014 the Full Membership was 119. Rev. Tankaraj helped in the Small Group Ministry. Weekend ministerial student, Mr. K. Saravanan helped in the Tampin Outreach. In 2015 the Full Membership was 118. The church was involved in tract ministry and Personal Evangelism. This was done together with the Singapore Pasir Panjang Methodist Church. This joint ministry came as a result of a discussion between both the pastors of these two churches, Rev. Anthony Panan and Rev. Philip Abraham. For the Pasir Panjang Church, it was a mission project and for TMC Alor Gajah, it was an evangelism venture. The weekend ministerial student, Mr. Nelson Nadarajan served in the Tampin Outreach. In 2016 the Full Membership was 118.
In 2017 Rev. Vijaiadas, the pastor of TMC Sungai Pelek, was also the Pastor here. Mr. Nelson Nadarajan was the Weekend Practical Student. In 2018 Rev. Vincen Dass, the Pastor of TMC Melaka, was the Pastor here. Pastor David Retnam was the Assistant Pastor. The Full Membership was 126.
In 2019, Rev. Joseph Yesupatham is the pastor-in-charge with new graduate Pastor Roland David as the Assistant Pastor. The Lay Leader is Mr. Stevan Francis and the LCEC Chairperson is Mr. Robert. The Full Membership is 139. The membership in the Agencies is as follows: MYF (24), MYAF (14), MSF (9) and MW (16). There are 8 children and 3 teachers in their Church School. They have one Outreach ministry in Tampin and four Cell Groups.
Conclusion: After five years of being an Outreach of TMC Melaka, Alor Gajah became a Local Conference by themselves 30 years ago. From the beginning, finance was a challenge for this church. They did not have properties of their own and the earning capacity of the church members was low. They pressed on to have their own place of worship. Twice they had joint ministry with TMC Pasir Panjang of Singapore – once in 2002 and another in 2015. The fact that they have an Outreach in Tampin, four Cell Groups and strong membership in the Agencies is an indication that there is a bright future for TMC Alor Gajah. This church is now located in Cheng, a town in Melaka, which is fast developing and only a two hour drive away from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. We look forward to see this church grow and bring glory to God.
1. TAC Journals
2. Souvenir Program TMC Alor Gajah Church Dedication on 20 October 2013