Saturday, March 19, 2016

Wesley Methodist Church Seremban (1915)

Wesley Seremban was founded in 1915 through the combined works of the local Chinese community and the English missionary workers and lay people.

In the late 19th century, migrants from China came to Negeri Sembilan to prospect for tin and settled down in the Seremban and Lukut areas. These migrants who were of the Christian faith gathered to worship in a small building near the then Convent School field along Jalan Birch (now renamed as Jalan Dato' Bandar Tunggal). A preacher from China had come to work among these migrants.

While the works among the Chinese was being carried out by a Chinese-speaking worker, an English layman, Mr. Bailey who was then the Chief Police Inspector in Seremban, became active in the church and helped start an English-speaking congregation. The District Superintendent of the area then, Rev. W.G. Shellabear, reported in the Conference Journal of 1916 that "English speaking congregation grew and an evening service was held. The messages at both the morning and evening services were translated into Chinese." This was the beginning of the English Congregation and that year was 1915, considered the birth year of the Wesley Methodist Church in Seremban.

In 1957 the church started a Bible class for the British soldiers in Seremban. Financially, the church was well off. It paid $2,700 for pastoral support in that year and average attendance at the worship service was 100.

In 1959 membership increased to 206 (membership today is close to 400). In 1960, the church building was extended with a wing and basement to cope with increased membership and activities.

In 1961, the 1st Seremban Boys' Brigade Company was started with 20 boys from both the ACS and the Methodist Afternoon School, Seremban. That same year, the first local pastor cum principal of the ACS, Seremban, Rev. S.T. Peter Lim, was appointed.

In 1965, both the church and the school celebrated their 50th anniversary. And in 1983, Bishop Denis C. Dutton broke ground for the planting of an outreach point at Taman Ujong, Seremban. This outreach point would become a full local conference, i.e. a local church, on 14th January 1991.

In 1993, the parsonage-cum-office opposite the church building on Jalan Lintang, Seremban, together with the ACS school field, was acquired by the state government for commercial development (Terminal 1 Shopping Complex). The parsonage moved to the building next to the Taman Ujong church that was purchased in 1985. The office moved to a rented premise in a shop-lot on Jalan Dato Lee Fong Yee in the heart of Seremban town. It was relocated to another building nearby before it finally moved into its own building at the present address in Taman Bukit Chedang. The ground floor is being used for the PBS ministry.