A scroll down memory lane

The 1950's

A year after Foreign Mission Board (FMB) missionary Jessie Green arrived in Kuala Lumpur in 1951, she opened the Pasar Road Baptist Gospel Centre (PRBGC) along with an English Training Union. Though many of the initial ministries were conducted in the Cantonese dialect, she realised there was an evident need for English services to be run in conjunction with the mainly Chinese service. Only in April of 1955, did this need materialise with the coming of two more FMB missionaries, namely Harold and Ann Clark, who set up English worship and preaching services at PRBGC.

It was from the Cantonese ministries that an English baptist congregation was born first in KL. This initial meeting was followed by two other meetings, as the group looked at reasons to form an English-language church, and made plans for it to happen. In early June they voted to organise, elected officers and called FMB missionary Glen Martin as pastor.

This English language church would be called the First Baptist Church of Petaling Jaya, organised with 24 charter members in June of 1957. Mr. Glen Martin, a FMB missionary at the time, was elected as its first pastor.

Due to the overarching need for a permanent church home early on, the building fund was made a priority for the first church budget. FBC secured a lot in 1957, thanks to generous gifts of the Lottie Moon Christmas fund from the Foreign Mission Board (FMB) and with the sacrificial giving of its membership, began constructing the physical building on 21 September 1958.

Worship Service
First Baptist Church

Year 2000

Worshipping God

over the years
as a family

Worship Service
Main Auditorium


Sunday School
Story time
Church Committee
Working for the Lord
Main Auditorium
An Exterior Shot

The 1960's

After the dedication of FBC on April 5, 1959, the Morrises left for their next assignment in Singapore. Charles Morris served on nine other Mission Committees besides being Pastor of the Calvary Baptist Church in Singapore. His wife, Erica H. Morris, worked in the Sunday School in the Sembawang, Thompson Road and Calvary Baptist churches and was the coordinator of the Women’s Missionary Union and Youth Training Union at Calvary Baptist Church.

FBC was led by an Australian Baptist layman called Kingsley Calderbank who became interim pastor from 5 April 1959 to 1 February 1960.

In January 1960, Clarence Younger Thurman accepted the call to be the Pastor of FBC. The Thurmans – Clarence and Eddie Lee and their children, Cheryl (11), Douglas (9) and Marsha (4) moved to Petaling Jaya in April 1960.

The Thurmans calling to serve in Malaya (1960-1963), (1965-1968) was realised with this mission statement and profession by Pastor Clarence Thurman – ‘We are willing to go anywhere and do anything in order to be in the centre of His Will.’ The Thurmans returned to the USA for furlough (sabbatical leave) between 1963-1965. During that period, Pastor Charles Morris returned to FBC as our Pastor again. When Pastor Thurman came back to FBC, the Morrises went to Sabah to plant churches for Christ. It was during Pr. Thurman’s office as a missionary pastor that FBC attendance surged to over 300 worshippers. Church attendance aside, the average attendance for Sunday School rose to 162 children. The highest record of attendance was on May 26 when there were a total of 187 children present, trumping the previous record of 175. In June 1968, the Kindergarten was renamed ‘Jack and Jill Kindergarten and Nursery School’ and later in the year, the ‘Board of Managers was also renamed ‘Board of Governors.’

In September 1968, the Jack and Jill Kindergarten began with 24 children enrolled. It has grown to include a nursery programme as well.

First Baptist Church
Main Auditorium

The 1970's

The 1970s saw the appointment of Lloyd de Run to the church as its pastor in 1971 and marked the end of assistance by various missionary pastors, the last of which was Pastor Glen Herrington, who left FBC for another assignment in March 1971. Glen Herrington had done First Baptist Church a great deed by triggering a sense of urgency in the lay leadership of First Baptist to elect national pastors so that, as a church, FBC would be more independent and autonomous, rather than depending on the Southern Baptists to help them. And so a diaconate comprising Lloyd de Run, Charles Aw, Fred Van Dort, Thomas Heng, Ang Chooi Tuan, and Sonny Wong, was formed and disbanded when Lloyd de Run was appointed Pastor of FBC in April 1971.

In 1972, Pastor Lloyd de Run was elected Chairman of the Malaysia Baptist Convention. In fact, it was during this era that FBC’s church-planting fervour continued. Together with the Cantonese speaking leadership of Emmanuel Baptist Church, outreaches that began as Baptist chapels were set up in Klang, Damansara Heights, and Subang Jaya (At that time was called, Subang Jaya Baptist Church) .

The 1980's

Pastors David Watson and Don Miller from SBC (1988-1990) then led the church until Pastor Tan Soo Inn joined the pastoral team.

In the mid-1980s, it was proposed that the church polity be restructured with a Council as the highest authority in the church. FBC was cautioned about moving away from the congregational form of government. Amid this move, the charismatic movement split the church in 1987. More than half of the members left FBC, while those who remained sought to rebuild a more Baptist form of government and practice, which was a trying time for FBC. The wave of charismatic leanings in the 80s affected more than merely her population, but also took away many gifted and devoted servants of God; in particular, much of the Sunday School teaching team, to other churches! The ministries in FBC were hit hardest because they were short-handed with the departure of many faithful servants but what broke FBC’s heart and perplexed her the most was why people who loved the Lord could not worship Him together in the same sanctuary. Fortunately, those differences did not mark the close of the 1980s for FBC as God saw them through this challenging period and provided for them opportunities to grow numerically and in other ways as well.

Pantai Baptist Church
Main Auditorium

The 1990's

By the late 1990s, FBC had grown to the extent that restructuring was a real issue to be faced. Desiring to maintain the congregational type of government, while decreasing the number of meetings and day-to-day decisions by the whole body, a plan was presented to the church in 1998, and adopted in 1999. It incorporated a Council, while still keeping the church business meeting over the entire structure. Though the church now meets less often, they must be consulted on major issues such as the direction and vision of the church, alterations of the church structure, calling of the Senior Pastor, and election of the Council, adoption of budget, and addition or secession of any congregation. In 1998, FBC became one large church with several centres, one comprising the original Pantai Centre and the other comprising the Subang Centre from mid-1991. Subang Centre became FBC when the original Subang Jaya Baptist Church was deregistered as a society in December 1990, almost losing the property that was in FBC’s name.

For the next two decades until June 2010, FBC grew strongly with increasing ministries in both centres. The Lord called faithful ministers to the FBC pastoral team – Pastor Tan Soo Inn, Pastor Isaac Yim, Pastor Mark Chen, Youth Pastor Chen Khin Wee, Pastor Joseph Seah, Pastor Tan Eng Lee, Pastor Phillips Koh, Pastor Ang Chooi Tuan, Pastor Thomas Ooi, Pastor Chua Soon Kent, Pastor Princeton Tay, Pastor Edward Ha, Pastor Ooi Aun Leong, Pastor Leong Swee Huat, and Youth Pastor Timothy Yap. Pastor James Indran and Pastor K Chandran served in the Ampang Tamil Baptist Church which was an outreach of FBC.

Pantai Baptist Church (PBC) shares a rich Baptist heritage with First Baptist Church (FBC) in Subang Jaya. PBC and FBC are two independent Baptist churches today that grew out of a common root, the seed of which was planted in the 1950s by missionaries from the Foreign Mission Board (now known as the International Mission Board) of the Southern Baptist Convention, USA (SBC). The missionaries, Jessie Green, Elizabeth Gray, Elizabeth Hale, Harold and Ann Clark set up a gospel centre and Baptist clinic in Jalan Dispensary, PJ Old Town. From this gospel outreach, FBC was established on 16 June 1957 as the first English speaking Baptist churches.