Our History

In the Beginning…

Early Christian migrants from Foochow, China faced significant economic challenges, with many of them working as rickshaw pullers to make ends meet. Despite their impoverished circumstances, their devotion to Christianity remained unwavering. They yearned for a pastor who could communicate and preach to them in their native Foochow language, and their prayers were answered when God provided a solution.

In mid-December 1897, the Foochow Methodist Church (FMC) was established, marking a significant milestone in the Chinese Annual Conference of the Methodist Church in Singapore. The church appointed Rev. Ling Chin Mee as its first pastor, setting the foundation for a long and vibrant history.

Initially, the congregation consisted of approximately a dozen worshippers who gathered at a modest church building called the Middle Road Church. This building was situated at the intersection of Middle Road and Waterloo Street, now known as “Sculpture Square.” Similar to the Israelites in biblical times, the congregation experienced a nomadic phase over the next four decades, moving between various borrowed premises. These included the ACS building at Coleman Street and the Tamil Methodist Church at Short Street.

This period was characterized by numerous hardships. However, through unwavering faith, patience, and obedience to the Lord, the church managed to withstand these challenges. In fact, the congregation steadily grew in size, reaching over 100 worshippers.

Foochow Methodist Church’s (FMC) journey exemplifies the resilience and dedication of the early Christian migrants from Foochow, China. Despite their economic struggles, their fervent Christian zeal propelled them forward, and with the guidance of Rev. Ling Chin Mee, they laid the groundwork for what would become one of the oldest churches in the Chinese Annual Conference of the Methodist Church in Singapore.
A Church Building for the Next Century

In 1936, under the leadership of the 15th resident pastor, Rev. Andrew Chen K. T., Foochow Methodist Church purchased its current location at 90 Race Course Road. The residential property was converted into a permanent place of worship.

During the mid-1930s, the church began to grow, and records suggest that the first Sunday school was established around this time. However, World War II brought significant damage to the north-western wing of the church building due to bombings. Despite the difficulties, Rev. Chen remained steadfast and continued conducting worship services and church activities.

After the war ended in 1945, extensive restoration and renovation efforts began in 1947. The front portion of the building was completely rebuilt, and a sanctuary was constructed on the second level, with a church hall on the ground level. Subsequent renovations were carried out over the years, but the church’s façade has remained unchanged.

In 1987, the church acquired a three-story apartment block adjacent to the main building, converting it into a Christian Education Center. In December 1993, the main church building underwent expansion, including the construction of a three-story link building connecting it to the Christian Education Center. The renovation was completed in early 1995.

In 2001, due to damages caused by MRT excavation work near the church, the Christian Education Center underwent demolition and reconstruction. The new four-story center was completed in November 2002. Minor renovations took place in August 2009, including the addition of a library in the social hall and a dance studio/creche on the third level of the main church building.

Today, the church building is recognized by the Singapore Tourism Board as a significant historical site, symbolizing God’s faithfulness in providing a permanent home for the congregation.

Video credit CAC Singapore

A Period of Church Growth

In 1948, Foochow Methodist Church opened its doors to non-Foochow speakers, conducting worship services in Foochow with Mandarin interpretation to spread the Gospel wider. As membership grew to about 250, a separate Mandarin service began on March 5, 1961.

In the early 1960s, an English-speaking congregation was formed, initially holding its first service at 5.45pm, which was later changed to 7.45am in 1965. These expansions into Mandarin and English services marked significant milestones as the church sought to reach a younger and better-educated generation.

Sunday school likely started in the mid-1930s, with Mrs. Mary Hoover being one of the first Sunday school teachers. In 1960, FMC initiated the Kim Keat Sunday school as an outreach program to housing estates in Singapore, including Sennet Estate and Queenstown Estate.

The FMC Kindergarten was established in 1964, providing academic and Christian education to young children. The kindergarten continues to operate at its current location.

On August 12, 1984, the English evening worship service was introduced at FMC to accommodate those unable to attend the 7.45am service. In 1985, the church’s sanctuary became fully air-conditioned, providing a comfortable environment for worship on Christmas Sunday.

To accommodate the growing English congregation, an additional service at 9:45am was started in 1995. That same year, FMC pioneered a Tamil fellowship to reach out to Indian foreign workers congregating nearby. This Tamil service continues to this day on Sunday evenings. Foochow Methodist Church membership now stands at more than 1000.
Spreading the Gospel to the Ends of the Earth

Foochow Methodist Church has demonstrated a commitment to church-planting and outreach initiatives.

For example, in 1971, FMC took the lead in constructing a new Methodist church in Toa Payoh. Church leaders worked alongside supporting churches to raise funds and build the church, which was eventually handed over to the people of Toa Payoh. Today, Toa Payoh Methodist Church stands strong with English and Mandarin services. In the mid-1990s, FMC also volunteered its resources to help start a Mandarin service at the Methodist Church of the Incarnation in Teck Whye.

FMC commissioned its first full-time missionaries in the late 1970s, initiating partnerships with mission agencies and sending missionaries in obedience to the Great Commission. Since 2000, FMC has actively multiplied its mission fields through long-term assignments and short-term evangelistic and medical trips to countries such as India, China, East Asia, and Central Asia.

FMC has also been involved in social responsibility initiatives. In 1979, the church helped start the House of Peace, a drug rehabilitation ministry and has been supporting Breakthrough Mission, a drug rehabilitation center.

As part of its community outreach efforts, FMC started a free Neighbour Tuition Program in 1989, providing free tuition services to school students in the neighborhood. The program continues to benefit hundreds of families. The Pentecost Fellowship, established in 1998, reaches out to elderly and dialect-speaking individuals through worship, devotion, testimonies, and practical services like medical assistance. FMC also opened the Caring Community Clinic in 2003 to serve older people in the Pentecost Fellowship, the local community, and foreign workers.

Currently, FMC remains actively involved in outreach activities, collaborating with the RC’s and Community Centers. The church also participates in “Celebrate Christmas in Singapore” events, doing its utmost in spreading the Word of God to the ends of the earth!
From Now Till the end of the Age

Today the Foochow Methodist Church offers a wide range of ministries in Foochow, Mandarin, English and Tamil including six worship services, Sunday School in English and Mandarin, youth, ladies and senior citizen programs among others.

For more information of our services and ministries.
Our Pastors-In-Charge & Supply Pastors