From Madras Lane to Jalan Masjid Negeri
Penang Trinity's brief history, as narrated by the late Mr. Goh Kim Leong, and edited by Mr. Khoo Cheok Sin - September 1991 issue of TRINITY BEACON.
The history of our church is invariably linked with the history of the Chinese Methodist Church, our Mother Church. The late Rev Khoo Cheng Hoe described the arrival of Dr. West and Mr. Lau Seng Chong on May 5, 1895 to start work among the Hokkien speaking Chinese of Penang as the "Gospel Light (which began) to shine upon this particular group of people who afterwards called themselves Methodists".These pioneers rented and old shop house at 29 Galdestone Road. Records show that they did not confine themselves to the preaching of the Gospel alone; they branched out into dispensary work, Sunday school work and even started a Chinese school - all within an incredibly short period of 3 months.
The faithful and energetic efforts of these pioneers and their successors contributed to the growth of the Church both numerically and spiritually during the next forty years. The period saw the birth of the Epworth League and the Ladies Aid Society. Both groups together with the Sunday School and other Church programmes resulted in increased membership and attendance. The pressure of space necessitated the Church to move twice each time to a larger building before the congregation finally moved into the present building in Madras Lane in 1937.
The new building was indeed the fruit of the vision, faithfulness and dedication of the pastors, church workers and members before 1937.
BIRTH OF TRINITY METHODIST CHURCH
In 1939, the English Speaking section of the Chinese Methodist Church was inaugurated. The idea of starting the English speaking section was to cater to the needs of the increasing number of children of the Chinese congregation, who attended English schools and found it difficult to understand the sermons in Hokkien. This section started with about 30 adult and youth members. When the Pacific War broke out in 1941, the membership had increased to 80.
After the war, the English Speaking section, despite some minor setbacks, experienced a steady but slow growth. By 1950, the Sunday School and the Youth programmes of the section were activated with the help of the family of the late Rev. Khoo Cheng Hoe and others. The formation of the Boys' Brigade and Girls' Life Brigade alone greatly contributed to the upsurge of youth activities and Sunday School work and attracted an aggregate of over 200 youths. The pressure on space was similar to that experienced by the Mother Church in the pre-1937 period. Under these circumstances, the youth activities on many occasions had to be held at the premises of Union Institution in Burmah Road.
All this while, the English Speaking Section was without a regular pastor. The late Mr. Goh Kim Leong, being the most regular member of the congregation was appointed the Supply Pastor. Although Mr. Goh in his own words described himself as "not gifted to preach sermons", he had executed his duties as Supply Pastor faithfully and fruitfully. Through the God inspired vision and dedicated service of his leadership and faithfulness of the senior members of the congregation, the English Speaking Section was admitted to the Malayan Annual Conference, marking the birth of the Trinity Methodist Church in 1957. The late Rev. Khoo Oon Eng was appointed our first regular pastor by the Malayan Annual Conference.
A NEW BEGINNING
Since this congregation was organized as a Local Church in 1957, God has richly showered His Grace upon us. The Local Church began with a membership of 80 in December 1957 with a full range of varied activities i.e. WSCS, MYF, MIF, BB, GLB and Sunday School among others. The crying need for a building of its own was immediately realized. Despite its weak financial position, the leadership of the new Church acted entirely on faith in proceeding to purchase the site in Green Lane. With God's blessings on the various fund-raising activities, the Trinity Methodist Church had a building of its own within three years. The present parsonage adjoining the Church building was also acquired at about the same time.
THE CONSOLIDATION YEARS
Over the next twenty years, our Church was blessed with pastors, church leaders and youth workers who continued to labour faithfully in strengthening the Church. Apart from establishing young adult ministry, meetings and visitation teams, our Church kindergarten was launched as an outreach ministry to the community. Our Church kindergarten was well received by the community and the enrolment increased steadily.
During the same period, our Church Sunday School and youth programmes continued to grow and further strengthened. Indeed, several present leaders of our Church are the products of those consolidation years. By 1979, our Church had a multipurpose hall for worship and Church activities, an education block of two floors with five classrooms and a kitchen. The additional facilities had served our Church's various organisations well even up to this day.
THE DEVELOPMENT DECADE
The decade of the 1980's saw a tremendous physical expansion of our Church. With God's help, the Church tower and two-storey office block were completed and fully financed through the sacrificial giving of our congregation. The two-storey office block houses our Church office, fellowship room with a large kitchen and additional classroom. In addition, the detached house at 11 Jalan Kennedy which is located next to our Church was also acquired by our Church
By 1989, our Church membership had increased to 367. We thank God for moving His people to give their time, effort and financial support to the Church. More importantly, we want to give our Lord Jesus Christ the glory and praise for guiding us through some of the hurts resulting from the over-emphasis of physical expansion during this period.
At the close of the decade, many of our Church leaders and members experienced inner healing through the power of the Holy Spirit. The winds of spiritual renewal had blown into our Church. We are called to humble ourselves and confess before Him our sins, and to pray earnestly and wait upon Him for empowerment to execute His will for our Church.
TOWARDS YEAR 2000
Following the Revival Meetings held in conjunction with our Church's 33rd Anniversary Celebrations last year, we experienced the power of the Holy Spirit operating in the life of our Church. At the church planning retreat held on 17th October 1990, there was a record turnout of Church Leaders and members. Sensing the reality and urgency of our Lord's Great Commission: "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all the I have commanded you, and lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age" (Matt.28:19-20). Our Church's five-year plan was mooted.
At the First Local Conference this year, our Church's Five-year Plan was adopted unanimously. The theme: "In the power of the spirit" is indeed appropriate. For the next five years we envision our Church functioning as God's people through the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.
Indeed, 1990's will be exciting and challenging to all of us at Penang Trinity. We must expect hard work and be willing to give our best to our Lord Jesus Christ. We are His people and we will move by His empowerment. We must expect great and mighty things He has in store for us. Let us be obedient and submissive to Him so that He can use us and make all things beautiful in His time.
PASTORS WHO HAVE SERVED OR CURRENTLY SERVING IN PENANG TRINITY
Bishop Ho Chee Sin
Rev Ng Ee Lin
Rev Dr Yu Chee Huat
Rev Roland Chan
Rev Yew Nieng Song
Rev T. Jeyakumar
Rev Woo Kit Sang
Rev Yong Wai Yin