Through the years
Founded on 11 November 1935, BKC stands as a testament of God’s faithfulness to us over eight decades — and counting. Over the years, He has led us to plant daughter churches, start new ministries and hold out His light in our hinterlands, the Haig Road and Joo Chiat vicinities.
On looking back, 1 Samuel 7:12 is more than evident: “Till now the Lord has helped us.” As preacher Charles Spurgeon once expounded on the verse, it is to “look down the long aisles of your years, look at the green boughs of mercy overhead, and the strong pillars of loving kindness and faithfulness which bear your joys”. But the Christian faith is not just about looking back. It is also about straining forward. Philippians 3:14, “I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” May each and everyone of us in BKC be found faithful till He comes again.
– Pastor Leong Che Yeong
Mrs Wee Thiam Seng lays the foundation stone at 17 Pennefather Road on 11 November 1935. The land that BKC sits on was donated by her husband, Mr Wee Thiam Seng, who is the grandfather of Kwa Geok Choo, the wife of Singapore’s founding pioneer Lee Kuan Yew.
Mr Wee Thiam Seng opens the doors to BKC at 17 and 19 Pennefather Road on 29 February. Our main hall has a capacity for 200 worshippers. The next day, on 1 March, the first Peranakan service is held.
BKC is incorporated under the Companies Ordinance 1940.
The first batch of Sunday school teachers give Bible lessons to children in the neighbourhood.
Two adjoining houses, at 21 and 23 Pennefather Roads, are acquired. The house at 23 Pennefather Road becomes the place of Sunday school for many years.
BKC is established as a private limited company in October.
BKC pioneers the kindergarten at Jalan Pipit in 1953, with Tan Suan Lui as the first superintendent.
Jim Chew is commended as a missionary in October, with his wife Selene commended as a missionary in 1965.
Our daughter church in Frankel is built.
Mrs TC Koh, wife of elder Koh Tiong Choo (better known as newsreader TC Koh), spearheads our Ladies’ Group ministry. Over the years, many other faithful women carry on the work.
Bethesda Book Centre, our first bookshop, opens in bustling Toa Payoh in September.
Annexe extension is constructed.
Bethesda Book Centre branches out with a unit in Marine Parade.
Our Mandarin congregation is started.
Our second daughter church is built, this time in Bedok-Tampines.
Mrs Ang Woon Chuan is appointed Ladies’ Group chairman in April.
Ms R. Lee becomes a missionary to a South-east Asian country, working among the orphans in her village.
Ladies Group partners with the Esther Network, FES, in December, to conduct Bible study with Indonesian foreign domestic workers.
BKC partners with St Luke’s Hospital in January to provide annual health screening to Haig Road residents.
The Lord leads a member to acquire an adjoining two-storey house on 160 Carpmael Road for church use. The unit becomes the place of vibrant Sunday school ministries.
Ms Yong becomes a missionary in East Asia, working among missionary families with children.
Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) gazettes BKC as a conserved building and site.
John Lau spearheads the Bethesda Tuition Ministry (BTM) to provide free tuition to students.
BKC partners with Chung Cheng High School to share the brethren history and Christian faith as part of its Secondary One students History syllabus on ‘Religions and Philosophies’.
Elder Paul Chan spearheads the formation of the Men’s Ministry. The brothers meet for Bible study on the first Sunday after the worship service.
BKC marks 80 years of God’s goodness with an anniversary dinner on 12 November and a special 80th Anniversary edition of Bethesda Bells.
The two-storey Annexe is demolished and rebuilding begins on 23 February.
BKC holds our first three-congregation thanksgiving service on 7 February to ask for God’s guidance in the rebuilding works of the Annexe and the Main Hall.
Mandarin Congregation appoints three new elders — Lee Chee Kwang, Dr Loo Choo Woon and Yew Kok Chee — on 1 January.
The structural frame of the Annexe building reaches the attic rooftop in mid-Dec 2016. To mark this milestone, members of the Building Steering Committee and subcommittees inspects the Annexe on 21 Jan 2017. They get a better feel of space and lighting, among other things.
Phase 1 of church rebuilding works is completed, with the Temporary Occupation Permit granted on 28 July. Services move into the revamped three-storey Annexe building. Renovation works to the Main Hall follows.
English congregation appoints Loh Kah Weng as elder and Tone Goh as deacon in January.
BKC jointly hosts ChristianX 2019: The Church in a Digital World conference on 18–19 October with the Biblical Graduate School Of Theology, Centre for Digital Theology and Indigitous.
All three congregations hold their first baptism service, on 30 June, in the renovated Main Hall. Thirteen baptism candidates are the first to test the heated water in our baptismal pool.
BKC holds a combined, three-congregation dedication service for the newly renovated Main Hall on 23 June.
BK Seniors celebrate their 21st anniversary on 18 July 2019.
After two-plus years, the Main Hall is finally complete on 17 June under Phase 2 of our church rebuilding works.
Following the Ministry of Health’s advisory of 24 March, only private worship for groups 10 or fewer are allowed. It was God’s hand that led the Council to start testing Zoom services with a pilot group from early March. BKC suspends services from 29 March. But the pre-recorded sermon by Dr Peng Chung Mien is made available online on that Sunday.
Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic, Singapore rolls out circuit breaker measures, preventing all congregational meetings. But we worship all the same — over Zoom. English congregation holds our first live Zoom service, on 12 April, following a pre-recorded Good Friday sermon by Bishop Dr Robert Solomon, streamed on 5 April.
Mandarin congregation elder, Dr Loo Choo Woon, spearheads BKC’s stayers’ project. The house at 160 Carpmael Road, furnished with six mattresses for six homeless stayers, opens its doors on 11 May.
The one-church effort involves volunteers from the English and Mandarin congregations, with the Peranakan congregation providing four meals daily for the duration of the project.