Brief History of Moulmein Church
|Mar 1955||The first Church of Christ congregation in Singapore was started by American missionary Ira Young Rice Jr. He was sponsored by Hampton Place Church of Christ in Dallas, Texas.
The young church met and worshipped at a rented shophouse along East Coast Road, moving every few months before settling at 8 Tay Lian Teck Road (also in the Eastern part of the island) in May 1956.
|1957-1958||In a stroke of divine providence, Ira spotted an old residential property for sale on Moulmein Road, a 10,274 sq-ft plot of freehold land in the central part of the island. He raised US$25,000 from Christians in America to buy the land, and retrofitted the house into a church building. However, he kept the title deed under his own name rather than the church.|
|2 Aug 1959||The opening service began in this new building at Moulmein with 340 in attendance. While we owe much to Ira for beginning the work here, his narrow theology, combative spirit and controlling nature soon created much trouble in Singapore and Malaysia.|
|1963||Lye Hong Meng and a few members from Moulmein planted the Geylang Church of Christ.|
|1964||Ong Aun Nam from Moulmein, together with American missionaries A. L. & Fannie Harbin, and Pence & Janis Dacus, began the work of Queenstown Church of Christ. It was later renamed as Pasir Panjang Church of Christ.|
|1965||Tan Keng Koon, then a minister at Moulmein, planted the Upper Serangoon Church of Christ. Moulmein helped them to purchase the property with a substantial amount of money. It was later renamed Lim Ah Pin Church of Christ.|
|1965 – 1968||Samuel Miao, one the key leaders at Moulmein, returned to Singapore after having received theological training in Harding Graduate School of Religion in Memphis, Tennessee, USA.
As Samuel held different views from Ira, he was excommunicated and began Boscombe Road Church of Christ in June 1968. Most of the Moulmein congregation left to join Samuel. Only four members stayed with Ira, prompting him to return to the USA in embarrassment. Before his departure, he invited the Hogan family to minister to the church instead.
A New Season of Growth
|15 Aug 1968||Gordon and Jane Hogan, together with their children Dave and Julie, arrived in Singapore after eight years of missionary work in Lahore, Pakistan. Their work was phenomenal and membership grew from the initial eight to about 300 by the late 1970s.|
|1974||Eddie Ee, then a minister at Moulmein, planted the Jurong Church of Christ with a group of members from Moulmein. Moulmein acquired the property for them and also supported Eddie Ee financially before it became financially self-sufficient.|
|1979||Kon Pak Fook and Andrew Ng planted the Siglap Church of Christ. Moulmein supported Andrew financially and also helped to bid and take a loan for the land on which the Church now sits. It was renamed the Bedok Church of Christ.|
|1984||Moulmein financially supported American missionary Ken Sinclair who planted the Bukit Panjang Church of Christ. It is now known as the Woodlands Church of Christ.|
|1993||Gordon retired and went back to the USA while his son, Dave, took over the helm as minister after having completed his theological training in the USA. Ira continued to lose control over the congregations in Singapore as a number of congregations had been planted by leaders and members from Moulmein since 1963.|
A Season of Trials
|1997 – 2000||The leadership at Moulmein sought to rebuild the 40-year-old building. Knowing that Ira had transferred the title deed to Four Seas College which was still under his control, the leaders decided to lodge a caveat on the property (which meant that Ira could not sell the property without our consent). Ira reacted by suing the Moulmein congregation for half of the market value of the property (S$1.8 million)! He also tried to exert his control over Moulmein by offering to give the title deed to Moulmein if we were to “go back into the fold”. Ira’s move was totally against what the Scriptures taught. In obedience to the Scriptures, the Moulmein congregation decided not to fight evil with evil. We tried to raise as much funds as we could to settle the lawsuit out of court instead of fighting him in court even though our lawyers advised us that we had a very high chance of winning. In the end, about S$250,000 was raised and offered to Ira. He initially scoffed at the offer, but later accepted it on the advice of his lawyer. With this resolution, the title deed was finally returned to the rightful owner, the Moulmein Church. However, in giving away this money, the rebuilding project could not take place.This very unfortunate event took a toll on the membership. Some left because they were swayed by Ira’s offer of property for control, while others left in discouragement. Just slightly over 100 members remained. Fortunately, a number came back after things were stabilized. After serving as co-minister and a great stabilizing force at Moulmein during this trying period, David Lee went back to USA.|
Another New Season of Growth
|2000 – 2002||As Moulmein enjoyed a time of peace and was strengthened, dreams of bringing good news to the community took shape and were shared by the Ang Mo Kio congregation. The Centre for Fathering, a community service, was set up by leaders from Ang Mo Kio and Moulmein in 2000 with a seed fund from Moulmein. It is now a self-sufficient. Friends of the Disabled Society, a compassionate outreach to the disabled, was formed by some members from the former Ang Mo Kio in 2001. Moulmein supported it financially until it became self-sufficient.|
|Jan 2003||As infrastructure grew in Singapore, it became much easier for people to travel from one part of the island to another. It no longer made sense to have many small congregations in different parts of the island. After a three-year period of praying and consulting, Ang Mo Kio merged back into Moulmein. Edwin Choy and Dave Hogan were both ministers at this new merger. This was the beginning of a new season of growth, both spiritually and numerically.|
|2003 – 2013||Question about what we should do to be good stewards of the Moulmein property came up. This time, the motivation went beyond satisfying our own needs. The reconstruction of the church building has to be based on how the facilities could be used to bless the community as well. We began a decade of praying, seeking and planning.|
|2013 – 2017||With the design of the new construction finalized, the project began in June 2015 and was completed in Mar 2017. We pray that with the new facility, God’s Name will be glorified as we seek to do His will.|