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48 Years of Blessing

by Mr. Chang Kim Swee (founding elder) in 1984

In the beginning

The thought of assembly witness in Petaling Jaya arose probably in the late 1950s when the overseeing brethren of Venning Road Chapel in Kuala Lumpur saw that the tiny new village, marked P4, set up during the time of the Emergency was fast growing and becoming a satellite town of K.L. Their foresight was well rewarded when they applied for and subsequently obtained a half-acre site at Jalan Gasing. The land was ideal and well suited for a church building. The authorities granted and earmarked it as a place of worship.

There was at this time a nucleus of believers at Venning Road Chapel who were already residing in P.J, Their early assembly witness was in the form of gatherings for prayer in the home of Dr. Low Nan Wan at No. 1C, Jalan 3; the first such meeting was held on Feb. 16, 1957. Present at the meeting were Mrs. Del Siew Kee, Mrs. Hazel Low, Mrs. I. Wilson. Mrs. Annie Chew, Miss Yea Lie Lag, Miss Ong Lim Neo, Miss Chew Paid Lin, Dr. Low Nan Wan, Mr. W. Wilson, Dr. W.M. Jonas, Mr. Kei Tet Maow, Mr. M. Carton and Mr. Chang Kim Swee,  At a later stage prayer meetings were conducted on each Wednesday, with bi-weekly gospel meetings on Sunday evenings at the newly-established Bukit Bintang Boys Primary School in Section 8. These meetings continued while the Gospel Hall at Jalan Gasing was being erected under the supervision of Mr. Wilson and Mr. David Rew, an architect with the P.W.D. and a fellow believer at Venning Road Chapel.

By early March 1959, the P.J. Gospel Hall was completed. Venning Road assembly then commended four brethren to constitute the first oversight for PJ. namely A.E. Perera, W. Wilson, Dr. Low Nan Wan and Chang Kim Swee. These four held their first oversight meeting on March 9, 1959 at the house of Mr. Perera in Jalan Penchala. At this meeting, Mr. Perera was appointed correspondent or secretary and Chang Kim Swee as treasurer. At a later date, Mr. A.L. McGregor was invited to serve as the filth elder. He joined the oversight on April 6, 1959.  It was on Saturday March 21, 1959 at 4:30 p.m. that the Petaling Jaya Gospel Hall assembly held its inaugural service. Progress reports were made by three brothers: Mr. W. Wilson, Mr. David Rew and Mr. D.A. Angus. At the second session in the evening, Mr. W.P.W. McVey ministered the Word on the occasion of dedicating the new hall and commending the new assembly to serve and witness for the Lord’s glory.

Through the unceasing work of the believers during the next few years the number of Christians in fellowship began increasing gradually. At the same time there were added to the church a growing number of believers posted to work and live in the locality, of whom a good proportion were mature Christians well able to teach and lead. Soon the need was felt for outreach extension work across the Federal Highway. It was in 1969, after careful consideration, that the decision was made for extension of the church to the newly developed areas in Section 14 and 17. Simultaneously, four brethren, namely Dr. Lawrence Chan, Mr. Henry Phillips, Mr. Chew Chye Thuan and Mr. Billy Tan Ghim Hoe, were appointed as deacons to commence and lead the outreach work first in Section 14. They later rented the upper floor of shop house at No. 606 in Section 17 using it as their place of worship and naming it The Life Chapel. As from July 1, 1967, Life Chapel became autonomous and the four deacons were appointed elders to take charge of the oversight of this new assembly.

Meanwhile, back at Jalan Gasing, the need for more space to provide classrooms for the Sunday School had been felt for a long time (the seating capacity of the hall was limited to about 200). Moreover the intake of students to the Bible School was also increasing. It was then decided that the Hall be extended by building an annex beside it. The annex was completed in 1972, which also provided a small space for a library.  Not many years afterwards, the overseeing brethren were burdened with the matter of further extending the work of the gospel to the SEA Park area where a large, growing township was fast coming up. It was agreed immediately to look for a shop house, and ultimately house No. 22, Jalan SS2/103 was acquired and paid for in 1980. It now houses the SS Gospel Centre. On March 30, 1980 an inaugural thanksgiving service was held in the presence of a large congregation. Regular services are being held for Worship and Breaking of Bread, for Gospel Meeting, for Adult Fellowship, Sunday School and Bible School as well.

In the meantime, at Jalan Gasing, there were several changes in the Oversight members. In 1963, Mr. Wilson left for Penang to serve at Burmah Road Gospel Hall. This departure was a heavy loss to the assembly, even more so since no full-time worker had come to take his place. Another loss was the departure of Dr. Low Nan Wan for Hong Kong where after an illness he was called home to the Lord on May 24, 1970. Yet another home call occurred when Mr. Perera went to be with the Lord on January 1, 1973.  However, replacements were provided for us in the persons of Mr. Ang Chui Pek in 1965 and Mr. David Boler in 1966. Mr. Lim Peng San joined the oversight in 1968 but left for Australia some years later. Mr. McGregor also returned to Scotland when his term of service at the University of Malaya ended.

Over the years, through unceasing preaching and teaching of the gospel and the continuing ministry of the Word of God by faithful brethren, and in spite of distracting problems, many disciples were added to the church. It was evident that those who became disciples had not been left to wander as sheep without a shepherd but were taught the Word of God; some even requested for more teachings on weightier subjects.  The need to expand further came in early 1985 and the leaders decided to start an outreach work in the growing township of Subang Jaya. It began with a Care & Share Group in 1985 and was followed by prayer meetings. A shop lot was rented in October and the first worship service was held on 3 December 1989. The centre was called Subang Jaya Gospel Centre (SJGC). In 1995, SJGC moved to their own premises at No. 16, Jalan SS19/5B, Subang Jaya.

The next outreach centre planned was in Bandar Sunway, another rapidly growing area. A group of Christians began meeting for prayer and bible study. In September 1991 a terrace house at No. 46, Jalan PJS 7/4 was rented and was called Bandar Sunway Gospel Centre (BSGC). After two years, the centre moved to another rented building. In 1995 a corner link house at No. 24, Jalan PJS 9/16 was purchased and BSGC moved into it at the beginning of 1996.

In 1993 the leaders decided to start yet another outreach centre in the fast growing Puchong area. Prayer meetings and bible studies were started. In April 1996 a terrace house at No.2, Jalan Bangau 4 was rented and was called Bandar Puchong Gospel Centre (BPGC); An inaugural worship service was held on 2 July 1995. Two years later, a four-storey shoplot at No. 41, Jalan Enambelas, Pusat Bandar Puchong was purchased and BPGC moved into it on 14 May 1997.

During the outreach period, Petaling Jaya Gospel Hall became a church comprising of five centres, namely, Jalan Gasing Gospel Centre (JGGC), SS Gospel Centre (SSGC), Subang Jaya Gospel Centre (SJGC), Bandar Sunway Gospel Centre (BSGC) and Bandar Puchong Gospel Centre (BPGC). However, when the Oversight of PJGH had confirmed that the outreach centres were able to “stand on their own feet”, and able to grow faster, a decision was made to grant them autonomy. Therefore, in January 2000, SSGC, SJGC and BSGC became autonomous. However, for BPGC, it was agreed it will come under the Oversight of SSGC until they are able to be autonomous at a later date.

With the granting of autonomy to the various centres, JGGC then assumed its former name, Petaling Jaya Gospel Hall (PJGH).  PJGH continued to grow.  A decision was made to demolish the existing hall and in its place, rebuild a much bigger hall.  On 27 July 2003 the church held its last worship service in the old hall before the site was handed over to the contractor to commence building the new hall.

The new hall, able to accommodate 650 people was completed in September 2005, but it took quite some time before the relevant authority issued the Certificate of Fitness.  The Certificate of Fitness was issued on 20 November 2006, and following that, renovation works for the new hall took place.  The new hall was completed on 18 August 2007.

We acknowledge that God has been faithful in many ways during these 59 years. We shall continue “to hold fast to the truth of God and united we step forward in complete obedience to His great commission...” for HE MUST REIGN (1 Cor. 15:25).

Thought for the Week:

  • Mercy Compared to Forgiveness, Love, and Grace

    Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

    Matthew 5:7

     

    To understand the significance of mercy, let’s compare it to three amazing attributes of God. First, mercy has much in common with forgiveness, although it is distinct from it. God’s forgiveness of our sins flow from His mercy. But mercy is greater than forgiveness, because God is merciful to us even when we do not sin, just as we can be merciful to those who have never done anything against us. God’s mercy does not just forgive our transgressions but reaches to all weaknesses and needs.

    Just as forgiveness flows out of mercy, mercy flows out of love. “But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (Eph.2:4-5). Love is greater than mercy – it can manifest itself even when there is no wrong to forgive or need to meet.

    Finally, mercy is also related to grace, which flows out of love. Grace and mercy have the closest possible relationship, yet they are different. Mercy deals with the consequences of sin, while grace deals with sin itself. Mercy offers relief from punishment, grace offers pardon for the crime.

    Just look at what the Good Samaritian did. When he found a Jewish traveler who had been robbed and beaten, he held no animosity toward him. Love motivated him to show the man mercy when he bound up his wounds. And when he took him to an inn and cared for him, he showed grace. Such is the expression of mercy working with forgiveness, love and grace.

    Ask yourself: Is there someone to whom you need to show God’s mercy, expressed through your love, your grace, our forgiveness? Think of how you can turn your merciful intentions into practical action

    Taken from Grace for Today