Wesley Methodist Church, Singapore

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Wesley Methodist Church
Wesley Methodist Church, from an old sepia-toned postcard
Wesley Methodist Church is located in Singapore
Wesley Methodist Church
Wesley Methodist Church
Coordinates: 1°17′53″N 103°50′51″E / 1.297949°N 103.847623°E / 1.297949; 103.847623
Country Singapore
Denomination Methodist
Website Official website Edit this at Wikidata
Founded 6 February 1885
Founder(s) Rev. Dr. and Mrs. James Mills Thoburn; Rev. William Fitzjames Oldham; Mrs. Marie Oldham; Miss Julia Battie
Division Trinity Annual Conference
Senior pastor(s) Rev. Stanley Chua (Pastor in Charge)
Pastor(s) Rev. Philip Lim, Rev. Michael Tan, Rev. Dr Kow Shih Ming, Rev. Lillian Ang, Rev. Benjamin Lee, Rev. Gladwin Lee, Ps. Benjamin Fong (as at 1 March 2017)

Wesley Methodist Church is the oldest Methodist church with an English-speaking congregation in Singapore. The second Methodist Church to be built in Singapore, it is located at 5 Fort Canning Road, Singapore 179493.


Early in 1885, Rev. William Fitzjames Oldham was appointed to head the work of the Methodist Church in Singapore. He arrived with Dr. James Mills Thoburn, and together they conducted a series of evangelistic rallies in the Town Hall (later the Victoria Memorial Hall). It was here that the first Methodist Church in Singapore was established. The Church met weekly in the Town Hall until December 1886 when it moved to a building in Coleman Street (later to become the Anglo-Chinese Primary School's hall). The Church was then known as The English Church.[1]

In early 1907, Sir John Anderson, the Governor of the Straits Settlements, granted a piece of land at Fort Canning (today's site) for a church to be erected. This was in recognition of the church's contributions in the fields of missions and education. Under the leadership of Rev. A. J. Amery, the new building at Fort Canning was completed and named the Wesley Methodist Church.[1]

Wesley's growth was interrupted during the Japanese occupation of Singapore in World War II. Her building was stripped and used as an ammunition depot. The only items belonging to the church which survived the war was a badly damaged Hammond organ, the lectern, the marble baptismal font and the stained glass windows. The church was rededicated on Easter Day in 1948.[1]

In 1977, major renovations were carried out to meet Wesley's expanding ministry and growth. Another extension project was embarked upon in 1988 to keep pace with the rapid increase in membership and ministry.[1] The church completed another extension and renovation project in 2013, and recently embarked on another project to refurbish the sanctuary.[2]


The interior of the sanctuary of the Church. The much plainer extension is to the left through the archways.

The building is in a toned-down Gothic Revival style, built of red brick with tracery and mullion details in white stone or stucco. It was designed by David McLeod Craik of Swan and Maclaren.[3] The interior originally consisted of a nave and two transepts, with a wooden hammerbeam roof. The church was extensively remodelled and extended in 1977 and 1988, doubling the length of the nave. Aisles were also provided by turning the original windows into arched openings and extending the roof. Additional rooms were created in extensions to the transepts, and a new building containing a multi-purpose hall and more rooms constructed beside it. This building was decorated in the same colour scheme as the original church, but with few other similarities. While the capacity of the church was greatly increased, the building lost most of its original façades, as well as much (if not most) of its original exterior appearance. Seemingly oddly-placed gothic finials emerging from the tiled roof indicate where the original façades once were. Although the new construction used the same combination of brick and plaster as the original structure, it is quite utilitarian and lacks the details and grace of the original, both on the exterior and interior. For instance, the new portion of the nave has a plain pitched roof without the carved wooden hammerbeams in the older portion, and the placement of windows and other openings bears no relation to the original structure.

Further reading[edit]


  • Doraisamy, Theodore R. (Royapan) (comp. & ed.) (1985), Forever Beginning : One Hundred Years of Methodism in Singapore, Singapore: Methodist Church in Singapore; distributed by Methodist Book Room.
  • Doraisamy, Theodore R. (Royapan) (comp. & ed.) (1986), Forever Beginning II : One Hundred Years of Methodism in Singapore, Singapore: Methodist Church in Singapore.
  • Stanley, Christina [et al.] (eds.) (1988), Wesley 103: A Testimony to the Glory of God, Singapore: Wesley Methodist Church.
  • Wesley Archives & Heritage Ministry; Wesley Communications Ministry (2005), Our Stories, His Glory: A Wesley 120th Anniversary Publication, Singapore: Wesley Methodist Church.
  • Wong, Lana (1985), By My Spirit: A History of Wesley Church, Singapore: Wesley Methodist Church.


  • The Wesley Tidings: The Official Organ of Wesley Methodist Church, Singapore: Wesley Methodist Church, 1983.


  1. ^ a b c d History, Wesley Methodist Church, archived from the original on 18 July 2014, retrieved 18 July 2014.
  2. ^ Wesley Sanctuary Upgrading Project (WSUP), Wesley Methodist Church, Singapore, October 2015, archived from the original on 8 November 2015.
  3. ^ Jane Beamish; Jane Ferguson (1985), A History of Singapore Architecture: The Making of a City, Singapore: Graham Brash, ISBN 978-997-194797-2.

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