The Background to this Circuit
The present churches in this Circuit developed as separate Outreaches of TMC Melaka and became Local Conferences of their own over the years. In 1990, Sagil Outreach became TMC Sagil on 14 January. On the next day, Asahan Outreach was formed as TMC Asahan on 15 January. In 1996, the ministry in Sagil was incorporated together with Tangkak and became TMC Tangkak. In 2010 these local churches were incorporated and became TMC Asahan, Sagil, and Tangkak Circuit. In 2016, with more developments, the circuit came to be known as TMC Asahan/Tangkak/Sagil/Jasin Circuit.
TMC SAGIL (From 1990 to 2009)
Formation of Sagil Local Conference
TMC Sagil was formed as a Local Conference on 14 January 1990. From 1990 to 1992, Rev. Roberts Pandian was the Pastor. In 1990, the Full Membership was 54. About 40-50 adults attended the worship service on Sundays at 7.30pm. Weekly worship was held in Tangkak town on Thursdays. About 10 members lived in Tangkak. Work also started in nearby Nagapa Estate. There were 15 children and 2 teachers in the Church school. MYF had 13 members and WSCS 10 ladies.
Growing in Leadership and Finance
In 1991, the Full Membership was 53. When Sagil became a Local Conference, both the leadership and the finance were not strong. The leaders were trained and the finances improved. A greater commitment was seen among the leaders as well as the members. Worship services were well attended, with about 40-45 adults. The outreach ministry of the church was in Tangkak. In 1992, the Full Membership was 58. It was an Estate Church. The outreach work in Tangkak town grew and 20-25 adults attended the weekly worship service. The pastor of Asahan and Sagil was now based in Tangkak. The response from the Indian community towards the church in Tangkak was very encouraging. The church staged a drama “JESUS” and raised RM3,500 for its Van Project. They had a total of RM 8,000 in this fund. The church spent much on rentals of vehicles for their ministry.
From 1993 to 1994 Rev. Mark Subramanyam was the Pastor. In 1993, about 30-35 people attended the Sagil worship services on Sundays at 7.30pm. The Full membership was 61. About 20-30 people attended the worship service in Tangkak Outreach every Friday at 7.30pm. There were 12 children and 2 teachers in the Church School. The MYF was not active, and efforts were taken to revive it. The church purchased a second hand Datsun C20 van for its ministry. In 1994 the Sunday worship was changed to 9.30 am. About 30 members attended the worship service. The Full Membership was 60.
TMC Sagil becomes TMC Tangkak
In 1995 and 1996, Rev. Abraham P. Selvanayagam was the Pastor. Worship services were conducted every Friday at 7.30pm in Sagil Estate. About 15-20 people attended. Worship services were held in Tangkak on Sundays at 11.30am. About 45-50 people attended the services. The Full Membership was 57. The church was able to manage their expenses with what they received. A Building Committee was formed and a Building Account was opened. Since the ministry was now centred in Tangkak, the church decided to purchase a shop-lot in Tangkak for worship purposes. In 1995, it was recommended that the TMC Sagil be henceforth called as the TMC Tangkak. In 1996 the worship services were held in Tangkak on Sundays at 11.30 am. About 50 people attended. Friday services were at 7.30pm in Sagil Estate and about 10 attended. The Full Membership was 59. The church intended to purchase a shop-lot to be used for worship. TMC Seremban came forward to help purchase a building for TMC Tangkak.
In 1997 Rev. Justin Clarance was the Pastor-in-charge with Rev. Moses Jayaseelan as the Assistant Pastor. Worship services were held in Tangkak every Sunday at 11.30am and about 50 people attended. The Full membership was 56. There were 10 children and 2 teachers in the Church School. There were 10 members in the MYF and 15 members in the MW.
Pagoh Ministry Begins and Tangkak Consolidated
From 1998 to 1999 Rev. Devarakam John was the Pastor-in-charge. In 1998, Rev. Moses Jayaseelan was Assistant Pastor. Sunday worship was at 11am and 35-40 people attended. The Full Membership was 52. Outreach ministry was done in two places: (a) Sagil: there were 5 families and they met on alternate Fridays at 7.30 pm (b) Pagoh: A new area, 20-25 people attended. Pagoh would grow if a worker was placed there. The Building Project was pending because the cost of purchasing was still very high. They continued to raise funds. Tangkak had good young lay leaders who were involved in ministry. With the opening of the Pagoh ministry, there was potential for greater growth. In 1999 the Assistant Pastor was Rev. John Mark. Sunday service was at 11 am, and 70-80 people attended. The Full Membership was 63. Church school had 15 children with 2 teachers. MYF had 20 members and MW 25 members. Both MYF and MW were actively involved in local church ministry. In their Parsonage Project, the church signed a Sales & Purchase Agreement for a single-storey terrace house costing RM85,000. They were grateful to TMC Seremban for the grant of RM40,000 and TAC for the grant of RM10,000 and TMC Melaka for their grant of RM1,000.
Ministry expands to Muar/Pagoh
From 2000 to 2003 Rev. John Mark was the Pastor. The Worship service was on Sundays at 11am. 70 people attended. From 1 October 2000, they moved to rented premises. The Full membership was 67. A new area was identified for Outreach ministry in Gresik. Visitation program was carried out. The pastor and the members were greatly motivated by the purchase of the new parsonage. They rented a shop house for the church services and other activities.
In 2001 the Full Membership was 77. Five were added through the Confession of Faith. In Sagil, 5 families met together on alternate Fridays. 10 people regularly attended. At Pagoh/Muar – Every 3rd week a group of 10 people met for a time of worship and prayer. With the growth of Tangkak town, there was potential for church growth. In 2002 the Full membership was 66. The pastor was busy with ministry in Asahan and Jasin. In 2003 the Full Membership was 43. Though 27 members withdrew from church membership, those who remained were united and supportive of all the ministries.
Membership Drop Affects Church Ministry
From 2004 to 2008 Rev. Anthony Panan was the Pastor-in-charge. In 2004, the Full Membership was 42, which dropped to 19. The membership of this church was affected due to the withdrawal of 10 members and few who could not be located. The income too dropped considerably. Church school had 9 children. In 2005, with the withdrawal of 21 people from the church the previous year, the average attendance in both Tangkak and Sagil was only 5 members. This demoralized the church. The Full Membership of the Church was 18. This greatly affected the ministry and finances of the church. The membership was too small for any Committee or Agency to function well. In 2006 the Worship service in Tangkak was at 11.30am and Sagil 7pm. About 10-15 members attended the Tangkak service and 6 members in Sagil. Only one family that left earlier returned. The Full Membership was 25. This greatly affected the finance of the church and they received a subsidy of RM882 for the pastor’s salary. TMC Tamil Settlement gave RM250 monthly. The church also received a Love Gift of RM1,000 from the Calvary Life Assembly. In 2007 the worship services were held at 5pm in Tangkak and 7.30 pm. at Sagil. The Full Membership was 28 and in 2008 it was 29.
Coming Together as a Circuit to Pool Resources
In 2009 Rev. P. Sandireaseheran was the Pastor-in-charge with Pastor Jayarajah as the Assistant Pastor. Worship service was at 6pm in Sagil Estate. The Full Membership was 27. It was reported at the 2nd Local Conference that out of the 27 members, 10 members were not worshipping with them. They were either residing or worshipping elsewhere. The church took steps to remove these members. The church gave up the Tangkak shop house and started worshiping in Sagil Estate for two reasons: (a) the church finance was not enough to pay the rental. (b) Most of the members were staying near Sagil Estate. The church with its financial limitations and transport difficulties was only active on Sundays with the worship service. The church received a subsidy from the Annual Conference to pay the pastor’s salary. TMC Tamil Settlement also gave monthly financial support. The church membership was dwindling. There was no sign of growth. Their monthly income averaged at only RM500. After much discussion and deliberation, the LCEC and the 2nd Local Conference decided to form Asahan/Jasin into a circuit church together with Asahan/Jasin.
This was recommended at the District Conference and decided at the Annual Conference. TMC Tangkak was made into a Circuit Church with Jasin/Asahan because of Tangkak’s low finance and dwindling membership – active members only 17.
TMC ASAHAN (1990 to 2009)
On 15 January 1990, the Asahan Outreach of TMC Melaka was formed as a Local Conference and became TMC Asahan. The Full Membership was totally from the Asahan Estate. From 1990 to 1992 Rev. Roberts Pandian was the Pastor. In 1990 the weekly Sunday service was at 5.00 pm and 40 – 50 people attended regularly. An average of 30 adults attended the weekly Bible Study. Home Prayer Meetings were held on Saturdays. The Church School had 35 children and 5 teachers. Both the MYF and WSCS had 13 members. In 1991, they started a ministry at Jasin (under TMC Melaka). They were keen to reach out to other areas as well. Though the Income was above the Expenditure, the finance was low. In 1992, being totally an estate congregation, the chances of reaching out within the estate context was nil. There was communal pressure within the estate. Like TMC Melaka, TMC Asahan too had some members in Jasin. They had about RM 5,000 in their Building Fund.
From 1993 to 1994, Rev. Mark Subramanyam was the Pastor. In 1993, the Full Membership was 60. Cottage Prayer Meetings were held on alternate Thursdays at 7.30 pm. These were held in the homes of church members and about 20 people regularly attended. Weekly worship service was held at Jasin Outreach on Sundays at 9.30 am and about 10 – 15 people attended. Bible Study was conducted on alternate Saturdays at 7.30 pm. They looked for an appropriate place for the worship service. In 1994, about 35 to 40 people attended the worship service on Sundays at 4.30 pm. The Full Membership was 60. About 15 to 20 members attended the weekly Bible Study on Wednesdays. The Jasin Outreach worship service was held on Sundays at 7pm. The Church School was held on Fridays at 6pm. There were 20 children and 4 teachers. Both the MYF and WSCS had 15 members.
From 1995 to 1996, Rev. Abraham Selvanayagam was the Pastor. In 1995, the Full Membership was 52. Six students from STM conducted a Music and Worship Seminar and a seminar on the importance of Education. This was attended by 20 youths. About 80 people attended the Revival Meeting conducted by the STM students. In 1996, the Full Membership was 51. A revival meeting was held at the Jasin Outreach with Brother Titus from India. The newly formed MYAF had 12 members. In 1997, Rev. Justin Clarance was the Pastor-in-charge with Rev. Moses Jayaseelan as the Assistant Pastor. About 45 – 50 people attended the Sunday Worship Service at 4.30pm. There was much joy in their worship. The Full Membership was 50. About 35 people attended the Home Prayer Meetings and Bible Study every Thursday. Jasin Outreach had Prayer Meetings on Wednesdays.
In1998 and 1999, *Rev. Devarakam John was the Pastor. In 1998 Rev. Moses Jayaseelan was the Assistant Pastor. The Full Membership was 55. There were about 5 families in the Jasin Outreach. They met on Saturdays at 8pm. with an average of 15 – 20 members. The church received RM 4,800 from TMC Seremban to settle all the arrears to the TAC Commitment Fund. In 1999, Rev. Devarakam John was the pastor with Assistant Pastor John Mark. About 50 – 60 people attended the Sunday Worship Service at 5pm. The Full Membership was 58. Six families met on Thursdays at 7.30pm. The Building Fund stood at RM 13,000.
Estate Fragmentation Affects Church Membership and Ministry
From 2000 to 2003 Rev. John Mark was the Pastor. Due to the Estate fragmentation, the Full Membership dropped to 35. The Expenditure of RM 12,409 exceeded that of the Income of RM 10,683. In 2001, Rev. John Mark was the pastor. The Sunday Worship was at 8.30 a.m. and about 30 – 35 people participated. The Full Membership was 66 and six members were added through Confession of Faith. They managed to have an Income that exceeded the Expenditure. At the Jasin Outreach, a building was rented for worship. The rental was paid by TMC Seremban. It was dedicated on 22 September 2001. A large number of families had moved from Jasin to Asahan. From 2002, the church was known as Asahan/Jasin. The Full Membership was 81. They received help from a Singapore Church for their Van Project. TMC Seremban continued to pay the rent for the Jasin building. TMC Kluang donated a van for the Jasin ministry. In 2003, the Full Membership was 90. The pastor started a “Jasin School of Evangelism” with the aim to train leaders for the task of evangelism. About 12 leaders were trained in this School. The church also had a 24 hour Chain Prayer with intercessory prayers. There was growth both in membership as well as in finance.
Another Crisis Causes Another Setback
From 2004 to 2008, Rev. Anthony Panan was the Pastor. In 2004, the church faced a major setback. There were 11 membership withdrawals, 12 were removed by Local Conference Action and 7 were transferred out. Their Full Membership dropped to 63. Their Income just managed to meet their expenses. In 2005, the Sunday worship service was held in Asahan at 8.30am. and at 4.30pm in Jasin. The Full Membership was 74. Fasting and Prayer was held on Tuesdays at 8pm in Asahan and on Thursdays at 8pm in Jasin. In 2006, Jasin moved to a shop-lot for its worship service. The Full Membership was 83. The church received a monthly subsidy of RM 500 for their pastor’s salary. TMC Tamil Settlement, Ipoh gave RM 250 monthly for the rental of the shop-lot. In 2007, the Sunday worship service in Asahan was at 8.30am and in Jasin it was 10.30am. The Full Membership was 78. They received RM 250 from TMC Ipoh Tamil Settlement for the rental of the Jasin building and also monthly subsidy of RM 500 for their pastor’s salary.
In 2008, the Full Membership was 81. Another year the church received financial help from TMC Tamil Settlement, Ipoh and the Annual Conference. A One Day Intense Bible Study was conducted by Rev. David Rasahpandy. In 2009, Rev. Joseph Komar was the Pastor with Pastor Jayarajah (Rajan) as the Assistant Pastor. The Full Membership was 80. Sunday worship service in Asahan was at 8am and in Jasin at 10.30am.
From 2010, the church became TMC Asahan/Jasin/Tangkak Circuit. The DS reported that the Circuit was formed for better ministry possibilities. Each place had its coordinating committee. The ministry in Sagil did not show much improvement but there was growth in Jasin.
In 2010 Rev. Joseph Komar was the Pastor-in-charge with Part-time Supply Pastor Vijaya Varma and Mr. Nelson Nadarajan as the Ministerial Candidate. Sunday worship in Asahan was at 8am, Jasin at 10.30am and Sagil at 6pm. After Jasin/Asahan and Tangkak/Sagil became a circuit, the LCEC met once in two months. The meeting was held on a rotational basis in all three places – Asahan, Jasin and Sagil respectively. A group of East Malaysians were attending the worship service at the Asahan Preaching Point. They were from the nearby Training Camp.
The Purchase of the New Building
In 2011 Rev. John Simson was the Pastor-in-charge with Pastor Richard Lawrence as the Assistant Pastor. The Full Membership was 92. A Sales and Purchase Agreement was signed to buy a double-storey shop house for worship. The building was purchased under individual names – Mr. Daniel, Mr. Thankaraju, Mr. Nyanamuthu, Mr. Robert and Mrs. Anne Selvaraj. The new building was located at Bandar Jasin Bestari, Lot No PT 8633 Jasin Melaka. The church bought the building at the cost of RM319,000. They applied for a bank loan of RM 250,000. The Circuit was made up of 3 congregations functioning as 3 different churches and located in two different states, Melaka and Johore. This made it difficult for them to organize common joint programs.
In 2012 and 2013 Rev. Richard Lawrence was the Pastor. In 2012, the Full Membership was 113. Members who left the church some years ago because of misunderstanding returned. The church started a migrant ministry among Sri Lankans in Muar and Serkam. The church began to service the bank loan for the two-storey shop house at Bandar Jasin Bestari. This affected the church financially. In 2013 the Full Membership was 120. The Church Theme: “Let’s Enlarge Our Tent” Isaiah 54: 2-3. About 150 -200 people gathered for a Revival Meeting and many were healed and delivered. Pastor Sugumaran was the speaker for this meeting.
Renovation works were done in the Jasin Building bought the previous year. The church decided to use the ground floor for church purpose and rent out the first floor. Though a small congregation, they paid the Pastor’s salary and managed the church ministries without receiving a subsidy from the Conference.
In 2014 Rev. Devarakam John was the Pastor with Mr. Roland David, a Missionary Candidate. The Full Membership was 121. The Church Theme was “ARISE & SHINE”. The Tangkak ministry grew as a Prayer Cell was started in the parsonage. The Tangkak Friday worship service was held at the Tangkak Chinese Methodist Church. It was attended by about 40 people. The Selandar &Tebong Ministry started as a Prayer Cell and the ministry grew. Some families in Muar and Nyalas were visited. Two Evangelistic & Healing Meetings were held with Rev. David Rasahpandy and Pastor Sugumaran as Speakers. About 150 people attended this evangelistic meeting. Many were healed and delivered. They started a Social Concern Fund to support needy families and educate the congregation in the area of social concerns issues. The relationship between Jasin and the other two congregations was not good. Some of the Jasin members wanted to come out of the Circuit. In Asahan the parsonage was repainted. Jasin spent RM 47,717 for renovation. They looked for a tenant for the 1st Floor. An appeal letter was given to Sagil Estate Management for land. The Church van was very old and they looked for 3 vans for these three places.
In 2015 and 2016 Rev. Mark Subramanyam was the Pastor. In 2015, Mr. Ezekiel Raj was assigned here for his One Year Practical Break from January – June. Mr. Victor Gunaseelan (Full Time Evangelist) was appointed here by the DS. The Full Membership in 2014 was 140. From January to October 2015 there were 24 received by Confession of Faith and 6 through Confirmation. The members of Asahan/ Sagil / Jasin were actively involved in Tebung ministry with Evangelist Victor. Tangkak and Tebung looked for a new place of worship. Jasin church planned to renovate the 1st floor of the church building. They planned to build a Pastor’s office, guest room and also meeting rooms. The Budget was RM50,000. 21 members from Tebung Outreach took water baptism on 31 August 2015 at Sagil’s waterfall. It was noted that it is difficult for one pastor to handle four congregations. There was a need for another worker to help the current Pastor to develop and strengthen the church ministries. Rev. Mark Subramaniam served effectively. In 2015 it was proposed and accepted and in 2016 the church came to be known as TMC Asahan / Tangkak /Sagil /Jasin Circuit
TMC ASAHAN/JASIN/SAGIL/TANGKAK CIRCUIT
In 2016 Rev. Mark Subramanyam was the Pastor. The Full Membership was 139. In 2017 Rev. Paul Mani Sabrail was the Pastor. Prayer was emphasised in the church. There was Friday prayer at Asahan, Thursday Prayer at Jasin and Wednesday Prayer at Tangkak. Personal Evangelism was done faithfully. Evangelistic meetings were carried out. There were Cell Group and Church
School ministries.In 2018 Rev. Joseph Yesupatham was the Pastor with new graduate Pastor Nelson Nadarajan assisting.
In 2019, Rev. Nelson Nadarajan became the Pastor. The Lay Leader is Mr. Tangaraju and the LCEC Chairperson is Mr. Barnabas. The Full Membership is 150. There are Area Fellowships as follows: Taman Gunung Asahan & Estate (1), Jasin area (1), Tangkak area (1) & Sagil area (1). The membership in the Agencies is as follows: MYF (33), MYAF (25), MSF (11) and MW (32). There are 51 children and 5 teachers in the Church School. These are the co-ordinators for the different places: Asahan: Mrs. Sujatha Kumar, Jasin: Mr. Tangaraju, Sagil: Mr. Barnabas, and Tangkak: Mr. Jeganathan
Conclusion: This Circuit has a long and eventful history. Rev. Nelson, the present pastor, reports that the people fondly remember that “the participation of young people in the early ‘80s was very warm and welcoming. Most of them gave their best to the Lord in total church ministries. The church grew because of their dedication, prayers and service.”Also, the drama “Siluvai Kaatchi” was played in 2013 in Asahan Estate on Good Friday. The whole estate was gathered to witness the suffering of Christ. This Circuit has gone through several challenging situations and has come through by the grace of God. The Circuit is spread over two States – Melaka and Johore. This is challenging for the church. The pastor and local leaders, together with the DS, are addressing the challenges. With the Lord’s guidance, there is no doubt that this Circuit Church, will rise to greater heights for the glory of God.
1. TAC Journals
2. Rev. Nelson Nadarajan– telephone Interview