A History of the
Lutheran Church in Malaysia
Our Milestones (1952-1958)
• The First Southeast Asia Lutheran Consultative Conference in Penang explores possibilities of starting Lutheran mission work among the Chinese in the New Villages of Malaya and extends requests to overseas mission boards. The Board of Foreign Missions (BFM) of the United Lutheran Church in America (ULCA) pledges support of the proposed mission work with funds and personnel.
• Arrival of the first American missionaries in Malaya: Dr. Paul Anspach, Rev. Douglas Erikson, and Ms. Clara Sullivan.
• Lutheran mission work begins in the New Villages in Selangor : Semenyih, Broga, Balakong, Cheras 9th and 11th Mile.
• Arrival of the first Chinese evangelists from Hong Kong: Stephen Han, Yang Tao Tung, and Rev. Daniel Chu.
• Lutheran work expands to the New Villages in Perak, around Ipoh (Menglembu, Tronoh, Bukit Merah) and in the Grik Valley (Ayer Kala, Grik).
• Beginning of the “medical ministry” by take-over of medical clinics in Ipoh, Northern Perak and Selangor.
• Start of the first Christian mission work in the urban area of Petaling Jaya (Good Shepherd Congregation).
• Arrival of American missionaries (Rev. Helmut Matzat, Rev. John and Betty Lou Nelson) and former China missionaries from Germany (Rev. Hermann Hofmeister, Rev. Wilhelm Weickum, Rev. Friedrich Schmitt).
• Formation of Grace Lutheran Church in Menglembu.
• Pastoral training in special “preparatory classes” begins for the first group of 9 local students.
• 31 August: Independence of Malaya from British Colonial Government. (Merdeka! Merdeka! Merdeka!)
• Approval of the “Administrative Council” as leading organ by the Board of Foreign Missions of ULCA.
• Official opening of the “Lutheran Bible Training Institute” (LBTI) in Petaling Jaya as local training facility for pastoral staff.
60s : Formation
Our Milestones (1960-1969)
• Expansion of Lutheran work to Chinese in Singapore: establishment of the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer. Death of the American missionary Ms. Clara Sullivan on her way back to USA. Implementation of the stewardship principle: critical evaluation and reorganisation of mission programmes and institutions, “holding action” for consolidation of expenses.
• Graduation of the first group of local students of theology from LBTI. Failure of negotiations with the Tamil speaking Evangelical Lutheran Church on the formation of one united national Lutheran Church in Malaya. 12 August: Constitution of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Malaya (ELCM) for Tamil speaking Lutherans. LCMS becomes a member of Trinity Theological College in Singapore. Closure of medical work in Selangor.
• Formation of the Federation of Malaysia with inclusion of Sabah, Sarawak and Singapore. 3 August: The Lutheran Church in Malaya is officially constituted with Rev. Paul Alberti as the first President (1963-1964).
• Election of Rev. Ray Nyce as 2nd President of LCM (1964-1969). Opening of the Trinity Theological College in Singapore. Graduation of the second batch of theological students and closure of LBTI. First ordination of Chinese pastors (from Hong Kong) in LCM: Rev. Yang Tao Tung, Rev. Chin Tao Sum, and Rev. Chang Kok Sang.
• Separation of Singapore from the Federation of Malaysia.
• Change of the name in “Lutheran Church in Malaysia and Singapore” (LCMS).
• First consultation meeting between LCMS and BWM-LCA.
• Election of Rev. Carl Fisher as President of LCMS (1969-1973).
70s : Foundation
Our Milestones (1970-1979)
• Promotion of the ten-year plan for achieving self-reliance.
• LCMS joins the Lutheran World Federation (LWF) as a member. Closure of Civic Centre activities at Jurong Christian Church in Singapore. Tentative end of medical ministry: closing of last clinic in Menglembu.
• Position of LCMS treasurer and business manager put in local hands. LCMS takes over existing ministry to the Sengois and starts work among other groups of Orang Asli in the Cameron Highlands.
• Renaming of LCMS President as “Bishop”. Rev. Carl Fisher is re-elected for second term (1974-1977) and is the first Bishop of LCMS.
• Registration of “Glad Sounds Sendirian Berhad”, the commercial media branch of LCMS.
• Election of Peter Foong as the first local Malaysian Bishop of LCMS (1977-1985).
1978 / 79
• Set up of new congregations in Johor Bahru, Singapore and Ipoh (First Garden)
80s : Consolidation
Our Milestones (1980-1989)
• LCMS achieves self-reliance under Bishop Peter Foong.
• Election of Rev. Daniel Chong as Bishop of LCMS (1985-1993).
• Ordination of the first Singaporean pastor, Rev. Edmund Lim.
• LCMS becomes one of four partners of the Lutheran Mission in Thailand.
• Return of the last American missionary (DGM) – formal end of foreign missionary presence in the LCMS.
• Launch of the “Thai Good News Centre” in Singapore to provide pastoral care, counselling and English classes for Thai workers.
• First Consultation to discuss restructuring of LCMS: Gradual transition of the LCMS Singapore District into an autonomous Lutheran Church in Singapore.
• Women Symposium debates the ordination of female pastors.
• Election of Rev. Gideon Chang as bishop (1993-2005).
• Convention accepts proposal of the Restructuring Committee to form two church bodies in Malaysia and Singapore within four years. Convention decides the ordination of female co-workers in LCMS.
• Take-over of the Xin-Yi-Dai ministry in Ipoh to reach out Chinese by “mission through culture”
• First ordination of female pastors in LCMS: Rev. Low Wui Li, Rev. Mah Choy Yin, Rev. Lui Bee Leng.
• Biennial Convention approves of the proposed Constitution of the Lutheran Church in Singapore (LCS).
• Support of the theological training in Fujian Province / China by visiting LCMS lecturers begins.
• First annual Mission Consultation with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria (ELCB).
• First training course for Chinese lay leaders in Ho Chi Minh City / Vietnam by visiting LCMS lecturers.
• Biennial Convention works on the formation of two national Lutheran churches in Malaysia and Singapore.
• 30 October: Official constitution of the Lutheran Church in Singapore.
• Support of the newly established Vietnam Lutheran Church (VLC) by funds and visiting pastors commences.
2002-2010s : Growth
Our Milestones (2002-2010)
• Launch of the Social Concerns Ministry with the “Mission Statement”.
• The Lutheran Church in Australia (LCA) is invited to the Mission Consultation as third partner in mission.
• Planted the first congregation in Sibu, Sarawak.
• Election of Rev. Philip Lok as Bishop.
• Presentation of the “Luther Plan” as guideline and development plan of LCMS and the ministries.
• Ms Timah Bah Dek graduates from Sabah Theological College and becomes first native Orang Asli pastor to serve in the Cameron Highlands.
• Approval of the building plans of the new Headquarters and extension of the lease of the land in Jalan Utara / Petaling Jaya by municipal authorities.
• Commissioning of Pastor Edna and Daniel Wong for mission work in Kyrgyzstan.
• Launch of “Touching Hearts”, a scholarship programme for Orang Asli students.
• Opening of Subang Lutheran Garden (Phase 1 of the Christian Memorial Park).
• Establishment of a new Chinese Speaking Congregation -- Bandar Mahkota Cheras LC by 11th Mile Cheras LC.
• Establishment of a new Chinese speaking congregation in Kuala Lumpur City Centre for reaching out business people.
• First National Lutheran Conference assembles over 1000 LCMS members in Port Dickson
• August: Dedication of “Luther Centre”, the new Headquarters of LCMS in Jalan Utara.
• Ordination of 11 pastors in the 30th Biennial Convention.
• Representatives of the Lutheran Church in Singapore join the Mission Forum.
• Luther Centre hosts interreligious discussions responding to the attacks on churches.
• Opening of the Centre for Theological Education by Extension of the Seminari Theoloji Malaysia (STM) at Luther Centre.
• Commissioning of Pastor Edna and Daniel Wong for mission work in the International Congregation and among Chinese workers in Madang / Papua New Guinea.
• First National Pastors and Lay Leaders Forum in Port Dickson.
2012 & Beyond : Giving Back
• April: Changed Lutheran Church in Malaysia and Singapore (LCMS) to Lutheran Church in Malaysia (LCM)
• June: Signing the First District Partnership Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Selangor and Gunzenhausen, ELCB.
• LCM celebrating her 60th Anniversary with the theme “Blessed to be a Blessing.”
• September: Bishop Aaron Yap elected as the 6th Bishop of the Lutheran Church in Malaysia in the 32nd Biennial General Assembly.
• September: The First Joint LCS-LCM Retreat at Melaka.
• Emphasizing the importance of Sustainability for the Orang Asli (OA) Ministry, with the aim of Full OA District in 2017, and local leadership development.
• Approval of the Building Plan for the New Building Project in Mont Kiara LC.
• Jan: Established the First Pudu Myanmar Migrant Workers Congregation in Kuala Lumpur, with Ps. Richard Aimang as the first worker in charge.
• May: Ground breaking for Mont Kiara LC, name “Luther L.E.A.D Centre” (Lutheran; Education; All Round Ministries; Diakonia/Social Concern) for the new facility.
• June: Consolidation of the LCM Social Concern Ministry with the appointment of Rev. Kuan Poy Onn as the First Coordinator.
• The First Lutheran World Federation (LWF) Asia Regional Women Conference in Kuala Lumpur with the theme, “Women on the Move – From Wittenberg to Windhoek.” in commemoration of the 500 Years of Reformation.
• August: Presentation of the “B.A.S.I.C” Vision/Mission by Bishop Aaron Yap as guideline and development plan of LCM and the ministries in the 33rd Biennial General Assembly.
• October: Official launching of the 500 Years of Reformation (2015-2018) with the launching of the First Chinese Luther Works Volume 4.
• November: The Second Joint LCS-LCM Retreat at Kampar.
• February: Established the First Nepalese Migrant Workers Congregation (Chhahari – Refuge) in Subang 2 with the cooperation of Kota, Luther House Chapel, Petros, Semenyih and Sunway congregations.
• April: Signing of the Joint Declaration of the Doctrine of Justification by Faith by the LCM, ELCM, BCC, PCS, the Methodist Church in Malaysia and the Roman Catholic Church in Malaysia.
• April: Thanksgiving and Dedication of the Phase 3 of Subang Lutheran Garden.
• May: Signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the LCM and the South-Eastern Synod of the ELCA.
• Commemoration of the 500 Years of Reformation (2015-2018) – Tree Planting at each congregation, Luther Movie screening, Joint District Reformation Service, Global Virtual Church Conference, setting up of the Martin Luther Gallery, LCM Gallery, 3rd National Lutheran Conference (NLC) in Ipoh.
• June: Official launching of the First Martin Luther Gallery in Luther Centre.
• June: Sending LCM’s First Youth Exchange Ms. Evelyn Khaw for one year to Germany, ELCB.