Methodism in Singapore
Comments on article: InfopediaTalk
Methodism, Protestant Christian Religion. The first Methodist Church in Malaya formed with the arrival of Thoburn, James Mills (Dr), Bishop, (b. 1836, USA - d. 1922), and Oldham, William Fitzjones, Reverend (b. 15 December 1845, Bangalore India - d. 27 March 1937, Los Angeles, Ca. USA), in Singapore, on 7 February 1885. Prayer services held the next day at 8:00 pm, at the 'Town Hall' (then known as the Victoria Memorial Hall), and thereafter daily up to 22 February 1885, established Methodism in Singapore. Present church activities are held at the Wesley Methodist Church.
Methodism in Malaya began when missionaries, Bishop Thoburn and the Rev Oldham, together with Dr Anne Thoburn and Julia Battie, arrived on 7 Feb 1885, and conducted the first service, at short notice, the next day of their arrival in Singapore. Regular prayer meetings were held at the Town Hall (now Victoria Memorial Hall) and at the Christian Institute at Middle Road/Waterloo Street. The Rev Oldham, appointed pastor on 22 February 1885, remained in Singapore as the first resident Methodist missionary. The first Methodist Episcopal Church at Coleman Street, dedicated on 15 December 1886, once stood where the National Archives of Singapore is today. The Mission with evangelistic and educational activities, later added medical services. In 1907 the government granted a 3,530 sq m site at Fort Canning to build a new church "for the expanding, English-speaking Methodist congregation". Today that building exists as the Wesley Methodist Church, also known as the "mother church" of Methodism in the region.
Protestant Christian religion started by John Wesley (1703 - 1791) in England, spread via India to Singapore, and later to Malaya.
Growth of Methodism
Other Methodist churches were also set up to serve other linguistic and ethnic racial communities here on the island. With Singapore as the stepping stone, the religion spread rapidly around the region too. As part of their outreach, the mission started a printing press which was the beginnings of The Methodist Publishing House, later MPH! The Methodist Book Room established in 1893 was for many years at their Coleman Street building (today's Singapore Philatelic Museum)
1991 World Methodist Conference
Singapore was the chosen venue for "The 16th World Methodist Conference" which was held from 24 - 31 July 1991. The combined Methodist churches in Singapore hosted the event which attracted more than 4,000 delegates from all over the world.
7 Feb 1885 : Methodism started with the arrival of Bishop James Thoburn and Rev W. F. Oldham.
22 Feb 1885 : Official appointment of Rev Oldham as pastor.
23 Feb 1885 : First Methodist Quarterly Conference held .
1 Mar 1886 : First Methodist-run, Anglo Chinese School at 70 Amoy Street opened.
15 Dec 1886 : First 'English Church' at Coleman Street dedicated.
Dec 1890 : Methodist Mission Press started by William G. Shellabear, Reverend, (Dr).
Oct 1891 : First monthly journal The Malaysia Message (now renamed Methodist Message) published.
1893 : The Anglo Chinese School building erected on church adjoining land at Canning Rise.
1904 : W. F. Oldham elected Bishop .
1935 : 50 years Jubilee celebrations were held with W. F. Oldham and Maria Oldham as guests.
1960 : 75th anniversary of Methodism in Singapore.
1968 : Yap Kim Hao, Reverend, elected first Asian Bishop.
23 Feb 1985 : Centennial celebrations of Methodism in Singapore. Grand events at the auditorium of Anglo Chinese Junior College, and the World Trade Centre.
24 - 31 Jul 1991 : World Methodist Conference held in Singapore.
1995 : 110th anniversary celebration at Wesley Methodist Church.
Doraisamy, T. R. (1979). Oldham called of God: Profile of a pioneer: Bishop William Fitzjames Oldham (pp. 10, 27-29, 31, 36). Singapore: Methodist Book Room.
(Call no.: RCLOS 287.15900994 OLD.D)
Doraisamy, T. R. (1982). The march of Methodism in Singapore and Malaysia, 1885-1980 (pp. 1-2, 6-9, 12, 14, 15-17, 23-24). Singapore: Methodist Book Room.
(Call no.: RCLOS 287.095957 DOR)
Doraisamy, T. R. (Ed.). (1986). Forever beginning II: One hundred years of Methodism in Singapore (pp. 1-5, 7-11, 15-16, 18, 27-29, 52-54). Singapore: Methodist Church in Singapore.
(Call no.: RCLOS q287.095957 FOR)
Feeding the 4,000: World Methodist Conference Banquet (p. 4). Singapore: Tradelinks for Methodist Church in Singapore.
(Call no.: RCLOS 287.095957 FEE)
Sng, B. E. K. (1993). In His good time (pp. 90-91, 99-100, 110-114, 116-118). Singapore: Graduates'Christian Fellowship.
(Call no.:(RSING 275.957 SNG)
The Methodist Church in Singapore. (n.d.). The Methodist Church in Singapore. Retrieved October 17, 2003, from www.methodist.org.sg/
Wesley Methodist Church. (2003). Wesley Methodist Church. Retrieved October 17, 2003, from www.wesleymc.org
The information in this article is valid as at 2001 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.