Brief History of The Presbyterian Church In Singapore (Synod)
In 1842, the Manchurian Government signed the Nanjing Treaty and China was forced to open up her 5 ports for trading. Many missionaries sent by London Missionary Society to Singapore and Malaysia were told to go to China. However, Rev Keaseberry insisted on staying in Singapore in 1843, he set up Malay Chapel in Prinsep Street which is today's Prinsep Street Presbyterian Church.
In 1862, with the assistance of Mr Tan See Boo, Rev Keaseberry initiated the work at the 'Church at the End of The Road'. In 1881, it formally established as Glory Church.
In 1881, following the sending of Rev John Cook to Singapore by the Presbyterian Church, it formally began the history of setting up of churches by the Synod. Rev Cook first went to Swatow to learn Teochew and upon his return to Singapore, he started to work in the 'Church at the End of The Road' with the assistance of the Scotland Presbyterian Church i.e. today's Orchard Road Presbyterian Church.
In 1897, the first Chinese pastor, Rev Tay Sek Tin (transliteration) was engaged to pastor the Hokkien dialect speaking congregation, as a result, Tanjong Pagar Church, today's Jubilee Church was established. The Synod subsequently set up preaching stations in Tekka, Serangoon, Johor and Muar. The Malay Chapel established by Rev Keaseberry also joined the Synod.
In 1901, Rev Cook convened the first meeting and the Synod was named the Presbyterian Church in Shi-le-po (what Singapore was known as in the past). The following year, her name was changed to the Presbyterian Church in Singapore-Johor in view of the fact that churches were established in various parts of Johor.
In 1931, Educationist Rev Anderson joined the Synod. Not only did he establish churches, he also started kindergartens and primary schools, laying foundation for today's Presbyterian schools.
In 1948, the Synod joined the Chinese Christian National Council which originated from China and in 1949, the Synod was renamed the Chinese Christian Church in Singapore-Malaysia.
In 1966, The Synod joined the World Alliance of Reformed Churches as her 101st member and was renamed the Presbyterian Church in Singapore-Malaysia.
The constitution was introduced in the same year.
In 1971, Orchard Road Presbyterian Church English Congregation, began serving the local Scotland community also joined the Synod thereby strengthening her membership.
In 1975, following the separation of Singapore and Malaysia and in view of political geographical and church administrative factors, the Synod was formally separated into the Presbyterian Church in Malaysia and the Presbyterian Church in Singapore. The first AGM was convened that year and the first Moderator was Rev Stephen Tan (transliteration).
The Church continued to grow from thereon and in 1993, with the increased of English churches, the Chinese Presbytery and English Presbytery were formed.
The Church grew rapidly and 2001, a combined worship service was held to celebrate her 120th anniversary in the setting up of churches. At the 2003 AGM, the setting up of the Singapore Presbyterian Foundation was approved so that we can continue to be united in love and service.
In 2006, the Synod had held her 125th Anniversary combined worship in Indoor Stadium. The 5 years plan has been proposed to members and response of donation and support from members and churches in return. Hence, resources have been employed and 5 years plan has been developed in following five areas:
1. Church Leadership Formation & Renewal
The purpose of this 5 years plan is to grow together, serve the community together and nurture the unity among the Presbyterian churches in Singapore.
In 2007, the Synod has re-structured the Presbyterian Education Council (PEC) to develop the school ministries and has formed the Synod Youth Council to complement and unite the local churches. In 2009, the Synod would like to promote the Community Care and Service to churches to participate and care for the community that Jesus cares about.
Church Planting Chart
A video on the history and visions of the Presbyterian Church in Singapore
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