JB Wesley Methodist Golden Anniversary

Wesley Methodist Church Johor Baru recently celebrated its Golden Anniversary with a banquet hosted for 700 guests. 

The event kicked-off with praise and worship
It was an evening not only for celebration but also of reminiscing on the history of the church in JB.  Fifty years ago, the English-speaking congregation used to meet in the premises of the Tamil Methodist Church until Reverend W. S. Reinoehl saw the need to start a separate meeting in 1965.  In 1966, the number of people who met regularly was just 27 and 50 years on, the congregation has grown about 12 times the original number.
When he started the English meeting in JB, Rev Reinoehl, then the superintendent of the Methodist Centre in Port Dickson, would travel some 320km each month and stayed a few days to help with the work here.  In 1966, Rev Gunnar Teilman, who was then based in Singapore and working with the Samaritans of Singapore, was appointed part-time pastor of the church.  A year later, the church would meet in a classroom that was rented from the Johor Tutorial College located at Jalan Yahya Awal.

The church choir presented several songs
At that time, the congregation was made up mainly of nurses from the JB General Hospital, trainees from the Malaysian Teachers Training College and some students.  In 1969, the church moved into their own building at Jalan Encik Besar Zubaidah and started the Youth Fellowship and Sunday School for children.  As the congregation increased, a building fund was launched in 1976 with the aim to buy a property and land in Taman Pelangi.

At the end of 1978, the church moved into their new premises at Jalan Ungu Tujuh, Taman Pelangi where a kindergarten was started in 1984.  The church thanked then Johor Menteri Besar, Datuk Ghani Othman and then Stulang Member of Parliament, Datuk Freddie Long, for the government’s permission to covert the land for church use.  

Pastor Joshua Hong [2nd from Left] joined the choir in
singing the anniversary theme song
In 2007, after the title for three plots of land in Jalan Ungu Tujuh were amalgamated and converted for religious and education use, a new building was constructed and completed in 2008. 

“The church needs to look beyond its walls and be externally focused,” said Pastor Rev Joshua Hong who encouraged the members to be channels of blessing, particularly to the poor in the community.  “We are not to be contented with where we are and neither can we be complacent,” he added.

The JB Wesley Methodist Church choir performed their anniversary theme song, “Envision, Engage, Extend,” with the lyrics written by Hong and music by Susanna Hong and Evangeline Chirayil.  For more info, visit website: www.jbwesley.com

A version of this was published in The Malaysian Insider on 22 July 2015

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