About our history

The Archives and History Library (also known as The Methodist Church Archives, Singapore) preserves the history of The Methodist Church in Singapore (MCS).

1949 – 1981

Evolution from Society to Board to Council on Archives & History

Starting as a collection of documents, past copies of the Malaysia Message (later changed to Methodist Message) and the Conference Journals of the pre-war Malaya Annual Conference, the archives of the Methodist Mission were kept by the Mission Treasurer in his offices at the Fort Canning premises of Wesley Church.

The first recognition of the importance of historical records was made in December 1949 when the Malaya Annual Conference passed a resolution to form a Malaya Annual Conference – Historical Society and appointed Rev Ho Seng Ong as chairman. He held this position until 1964 and was followed by Loo Choo Kheam (1965) and Rev V.A. Chelliah (1966-67). In 1968, the Society became known as the Singapore-Malaya Annual Conference’s Board of Archives and History with Mrs Lorinne Reinoehl, as Chairman (1968-69), followed by Rev Robert Foster (1970-73) and Rev Ong Chaik Ghee (1974-1980).

The formation of the Council on Archives and History took place in 1976 with the separation of the two Methodist Churches in Malaysia and Singapore.

Methodist Headquarters at 23B Coleman Street

Rev Ong Chaik Ghee was appointed the first Chairman of the Council while also serving as Chairman of the Trinity Annual Conference (TRAC) Board of Archives and History.

Rev Ong’s report published in the Journal of the General Conference of 1980 gave a list of the holdings, thus establishing a definitive collection. With the election of Rev Isaac Lim as Chairman of the Council on Archives and History, and the appointment of Bishop T.R. Doraisamy as Archivist of The Methodist Church in Singapore in 1980, the archives of the Methodist Church were formally established and housed at the Methodist Headquarters at 23B Coleman Street.

1982 – Jul 2000

Archives Resource Centre

In 1982, the archives moved to the newly built Methodist Centre at Mount Sophia. In 1983, extensive research for the preparation of a historical account for the centenary celebrations two years later was undertaken by Bishop Emeritus T.R. Doraisamy. This led to the opening of a resource centre in a basement room of the Methodist Centre which was officially dedicated on 16 February 1984.

Methodist Centre at Mount Sophia (left), The Archivist (seated) at work at the resource centre (right)
Dec 1982 — Archivist to Help Historians (left), Nov 1981 — Search is on for Archival Materials (right)

Aug 2000 – Dec 2002

Archives Resource Centre

In anticipation of the redevelopment work that was to take place at Mount Sophia, the resource centre moved together with the rest of Methodist HQ offices to a temporary location at the OMF building at Cluny Road in August 2000. It remained there until the end of 2002.

MCS at Cluny Road

Jan 2003 – present

Archives and History Library

In January 2003, the resource centre moved to its present premises in the newly constructed Methodist Centre at Barker Road and became known as the “Archives & History Library” of The Methodist Church in Singapore. The Library is synonymously known as “The Methodist Church Archives, Singapore” and operates under the purview of the Council of Archives and History. The facilities include a repository of about 40 sq m, an office space, a small meeting room and a library and research area.

Methodist Centre at Barker Road

Council on Archives and History

2021 – Present


Rev Malcolm Tan

Chinese Annual Conference:

Rev Dr Andrew Peh

Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference:

Rev Philip Abraham and Ms Shanti Jeremiah

Trinity Annual Conference:

Rev Malcom Tan, Dr Jack Lee Tsen-Ta and Mr David Tay

2017 – 2020


Rev Dr Andrew Peh

Chinese Annual Conference:

Rev Andrew Peh

Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference:

Rev Isaac Raju and Ms Shanti Jeremiah

Trinity Annual Conference:

Rev Malcom Tan, Dr Jack Lee Tsen-Ta and Mr David Tay

2013 – 2016


Rev Malcolm Tan

Chinese Annual Conference:

Rev Lisa Yu Li Hsin and Mr Lim Soo Chin

Emmanuel Tamil Annual Conference:

Rev Anil Kumar and Ms Shanti Jeremiah

Trinity Annual Conference:

Rev Fred Tan and Dr Jack Lee Tsen-Ta

Our Holdings

Through past effort on the part of missionaries, bishops and others, the Library has materials that date back to the early years when Methodism was introduced to Singapore in 1885.

Over the years, more materials were added through acquisition, duplication and donation, although at the same time, many records were lost during the Japanese occupation and also through neglect and ignorance in the past.

We have today, a modest but rich source of information about our past, as well as a fairly comprehensive library of Wesleyan theology.

Our holdings are classified as follows:-


This is a small collection of books, records, etc., that once belonged to the then Methodist Episcopal Church, Singapore and past missionaries. It also includes items donated by some members and local leaders. Of special interest is a Church Record book that dates back to 1895 and consists of church/historical records of probationers, marriages, baptisms, etc.


This category comprises audio tapes, video-tapes, CD-ROMs, DVDs and VCDs classified into various series i.e. Annual Reports, Conference, Documents, Journals/Minutes, Lectures/Talks, Music/Songs, Oral History, Photos, Plays/Dramas and Others.

Biographical Files

These relate to write-ups on some individuals done in the past which together with recent additional research on others form a data bank of Methodist personalities.

Books & Publications

There are about 6,200 volumes on the shelves classified into Methodist History, Church History, Library and language lines (Chinese, Malay and Tamil):-

  • Methodist History – John and Charles Wesley’s primary works and secondary works on them, books on Methodist History in South East Asia, Methodist doctrine and theology, Methodist biographies, Proceedings of Wesley Historical Society, Methodist History, Conference Journals, Disciplines of the Methodist/Episcopal Church (1796-2000);
  • Church History – Nicene & Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church – First and Second Series, Patrology (Vols. I to IV), The Creed of Christendom;
  • Library – Malaysia/Methodist Message from 1891 to present, Methodist Schools’ Annual Magazines, Church publications, and books on various Christian topics;
  • Chinese Section – Southern Bell from 1934 to 1986, Church publications, CAC publications, biographies and other books on various Christian topics;
  • Malay Section – Various titles including some of William Shellabear’s work;
  • Tamil Section – The smallest section with books on Public worship and Christian education.

Documents and Records of MCS

These relate to documents and records of MCS in original (where available and lodged with the Library) comprising early committee minutes, etc.


This is a collection of 150 microfilms. Of these, 64 reels relate to our materials, 26 relate to Missionary Files and Correspondence (1885-1948) purchased from the General Commission of Archives & History (GCAH), U.S.A., 53 are on Mission Biographical Reference Files (1880s-1969) and 7 are of The Gospel In All Lands, a Missions/Evangelical Periodical authored by the Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church (1880-1903).


These total over 3,200 and are of personalities, institutions and events with some going back to the late 1890s.

Special Collection

These are materials donated by former missionaries and their families and consist of print materials, photographs and others. Cataloging of these is still in progress.

We welcome donations of materials!

At our archives, we welcome donations of materials that are of significant Methodist archival, historical and research value. However, we reserve the right to refuse donations that are inappropriate for the library collections or do not meet our collection policies.

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