The History & Development of the Tamil Methodist Church, Klang (1908 – 2008)
John Wesley (1703 – 1791) established the Methodist Church in England in the early 18th Century. Methodism spread from England to America in 1768, from America to India in 1856 and from India to Burma and Malaya in the 1880s. William F. Oldham (later Bishop) arrived in Singapore in 1885 and Pioneered Methodist work in Malaya. A Tamil speaking Englishman, Bishop Oldham had a strong yearning to bring the Gospel to Indian immigrants in Malaya. The first Tamil Mehodist Church in Malaya was established in Singapore in 1887.
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 (present day Sri Langka), served as our first pastor from 1914 until his death in 1932. He ministered to Tamil speaking immigrants from India and Ceylon in Klang, Kuala Selangor and Banting. Young pastors from southern India came and lived with him in Klang, among being Rev. Thangamuthu, Rev. K.J. Timothy and Rev. D.K. Gnanantham. Rev. s.w.v. Arumugam served as our pastor for 18 years, serving not only the members in Klang but also reashing out to Tamils in estates or Selangor.
Port Swettenham (present day Port Klang) and Kapar became preaching places as early as 1917 and in 1930, work had been started in Banting and Sepang, The present sanctuary in Jalan Sultan was dedicated in 1925 by the Bishop Titus Lowe. The building cost $5000. This sanctuary was shared by Tamil, Chinese and Wesley Methodist members. In 1938, the Tamil Parsonage was built in Jalan Bukit Jawa at a cost of $4000. The Rev. J.S. Arthur and his family were the first people to occupy this parsonage. In 1953, the Port Klang Outreach was organized. Two years later, the church building was extended with the construction of the Chinese Methodist Education Centre.
The Kapar Outreach was organized in 1959. A Methodist Tamil primary School was established in kapar. In 1974, an outreach Ministry was organized in the Seafield Estate (present day Puchong). The Chinese Methodist Church moved out in 1976 after constructing their own building nearby. During the same year, an outreach ministry was organized in the Highlands Estate (present day Bukit Tinggi). An Outreach ministry was also organized in kampong Jawa. In 1984, The Wesley Methodist Church moved out to a building of their own, leaving the Tamil Methodist Church the sole occupant of the sanctuary.
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. The dedication of this new building in January 2003 by the Bishop Rev. Datuk Dr. Peter Chio was a major milestone in the history of our church and the culmination of a decade long dream. Also in 2002, an outreach Ministry was organized in bukit Cheraka. In 2005, our Puchong Outreach Ministry was elevated to a local church. In 2006, the Kapar outreach Ministry moved out of Kapar Chinese Methodist Church to a building of its own on the grounds of the Methodist Tamil Primary School after the school relocated.
The Tamil Methodist Churches in Port Klang, Banting and Puchong were all former Outreach Ministries of the Tamil Methodist Church in Klang. The Tamil Methodist Church Klang has made a long journey since her humble inception in 1908. It is our duty as members to ensure she continues to shine as a beacon of hope for coming generations as she did for the generations before us.