Methodist Church in Malaysia

The Methodist Church comprises six Annual Conferences and one Mission conference established within some of the main ethnic groups in the country. Geographically it covers most of Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak. It has a growing membership of more than 172,000 adults and children and is one of the three largest Protestant churches in Malaysia. The head of the Methodist Church currently is Bishop Dr Hwa Yung.

The Methodist Church is also involved in public and private education. It runs 75 public primary and secondary schools, and five private schools. Besides that, it runs two private colleges, Methodist College Kuala Lumpur and Methodist Pilley Institute in Sibu. It is also involved in theological training through the Methodist Theological School, Sibu and Seminari Theologi Malaysia in Seremban. And it provides many needed social services through the local churches and Annual Conference organizations.

Overseas missions work is largely focused on South and South-East Asia, working in partnership with local churches in Thailand, Cambodia, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Nepal. Besides these countries there are also missionaries working in other parts of Asia and in Africa. Long-term and short-term missionaries are involved in church planting, education, social services and development work. Methodist churches also support local pastors and missionaries and their ministries in their home countries.

The Methodist Church manages several retreat centres – the Methodist Centennial Chefoo Centre in Cameron Highlands, the Methodist Bungalow in Fraser’s Hill, the Nest in Maxwell Hill, and the Centennial Park in Sibu. We are in the process of rebuilding the Methodist Centre in Port Dickson as a Conference centre to serve the whole church in the country.

The Methodist Church and Annual Conferences publish their own regular news magazines – the Pelita Methodist, Berita TAC, Berita TRAC, Southern Bell (CAC), The Chinese Methodist Message and Connection (SCAC).

The Methodist Church in Malaysia reflects in large part the multi-ethnicity and cultures of the country. Although the first Methodist church was set up in Singapore, there are now churches all over Peninsular Malaysia, Sabah and Sarawak. Through the years the outreach of the Methodist Church has involved evangelism, education and social ministry. Often the work was conducted along separate linguistic lines because of the diversity of the population.

1885 : William F. Oldham and James M. Thoburn (later Bishop) from the South Indian Conference, arrive in Singapore. The first Methodist church is set up, Oldham as the pastor.

1887 : Tamil and Chinese work begins in Singapore.

1891 : The work is extended to the Malayan Peninsular, beginning in Penang through the Anglo-Chinese School.

1893 : The work becomes a Mission Conference under the General Conference of the Episcopal Methodist Church, USA.

1894 : Vernacular work is started in the Peninsular. The first Tamil congregation is established in Penang.

1895 : The first Hokkien-speaking congregation is established in Penang. Work begins in Perak.

1899 : Bishop Thoburn visits Manila, the Philippines, and a Methodist mission is started under the Malaysia Mission Conference.

1900 : The mission becomes the Philippines District of the Conference, which eventually is separated to become the Philippine Islands Mission Conference in 1905.

1901 : Foochow Methodists arrive from China to settle in Sibu, Sarawak under the leadership of Wong Nai Siong.

1902 : The Mission Conference becomes the Malaysia Annual Conference (MAC), covering Peninsular Malaya and Singapore.

1905 : Methodist missions expand across to Sumatra and Java, establishing congregations among the Chinese, Tamils, Babas and Javanese in a number of towns on these two islands.

1908 : This becomes the Netherlands Indies District of the Malaysia Annual Conference, which eventually is separated from MAC to form its own Mission Conference in 1919. In 1927 it was reorganized into the Sumatra Mission Conference.

1924 : Following the attainment of Conference status of the Philippines Missions and the Netherlands Indies Mission, the General Conference changed the name of Malaysia Annual Conference to Malaya Annual Conference.

1932 : Work to the indigenous Sengois in Peninsular Malaya begins.

1936 : The Malaysia Chinese Mission Conference is formed, in 1942 it becomes the Chinese Annual Conference (CAC) and is formally recognized by the General Conference USA in 1948.

1939 : Work begins among the indigenous Ibans in Sarawak.

1947 : The Sarawak Mission Conference (SMC) is formed.

1948 : The Conferences in Malaysia and Singapore are the MAC, CAC and SMC.

1962 : The Sarawak Iban Provisional Annual Conference is organized and the Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference (SCAC) is established.

1968 : The Methodist Church in Malaysia and Singapore becomes autonomous although still affiliated to the Untied Methodist Church, USA. The Tamil Provisional Annual Conference is formed.

1976 : The Methodist Church in Malaysia and the Methodist Church in Singapore become separate entities. The Methodist Church in Malaysia comprises the Chinese Annual Conference (CAC), Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference (SCAC), Sarawak Iban Annual Conference (SIAC), Tamil Annual Conference (TAC) and Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC).

1983 : SCAC extends work to Sabah.

1990 : The Sengoi Mission Conference (SCC) is formed under TRAC.

2004 : The Sabah Provisional Annual Conference (SPAC) is formed.

2010 : The 125th Anniversary of the arrival of Methodism in Malaysia.