Holy Light Presbyterian Church, Johor Bahru

#6 of 6 in Historic Sites in Johor Bahru
The Holy Light Church was founded in the year 1886 by a missionary of the Presbyterian Church of England, Rev John Angus Bethune Cook. He was 32 years old then when he came to Johor Bahru. He retired and returned to England in December 1924. He died on Tuesday 13 July 1926, aged 72.

During his period of service in Johor Bahru, Cook was much assisted by a Scotsman, the late Dato’ James Meldrum who was the son-in-law of Rev Keasberry, a tutor to Sultan Abu Bakar. With his help, the Church obtained the present church land at Jalan Gertak Merah from the late Sultan. During this time, the Sunday services comprised Chinese and English sessions.

The old church building (currently used as the Youth Hall) was built from timber supplied from the sawmill operated by the Meldrums, a great blessing indeed for a small town of 15,000 inhabitants. Dato’ James Meldrum passed away on Monday, 11 April 1904 and his wife, Datin Meldrum on Monday, 10 August 1908, and they, and subsequently their daughter and son-in-law were all buried on Bukit Meldrum. In 1971, the relics of 13 members of the Meldrum family were transferred to the Holy Light Church’s cemetery at Kebun Teh when Bukit Meldrum made way for the new Customs Building.

With the demise of Dato’ James Meldrum and for almost five decades, the Sunday Services were conducted entirely in Chinese as Cook was also looking after other congregations and his visits were certainly not on a weekly basis, nor was there anyone else appointed to conduct English speaking services.

The preachers who followed Cook namely, Chou Sin Lee, Lim Wee Lin, Khoo Siaw Hwa, Tan Peng Chiang, Lim Quee Choon and Lee Huai Kwang came mainly from China and the services conducted by them were frequently in the local dialect Teochew. When Lee Huai Kwang left at the end of 1949 to become the preacher of Bethel Presbyterian Church in Singapore, the Church was without a preacher for more than two years.

Then in February 1952 Rev George Hood of the English Presbyterian Mission was appointed as the resident moderator of the Church. On 3 August 1952, a meeting for worship in English took place marking the reviving of the Holy Light Church English Service. Hence, 3 August 1952 has been accepted over the years as the date of inception of the Holy Light Church English Service.

On 2 August 2009, the English speaking congregation relocated to their current premises at Hillville, Ponderosa. On 21 October 2012, we held our inaugural service at the newly completed sanctuary, called the Faith Hall. It was officially opened a week later on 28 October 2012 – a day which we also celebrated our 60th anniversary. On 9.1.2013, Rev George Hood was promoted to glory.

To God Be The Glory.
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Holy Light Presbyterian Church Reviews
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5 reviews
  • Nothing wrong with this place but the photos are of the church just across the road ie the Church of the Immaculate Conception.  more »
  • This ancient building shows us that Christianity had long root in Malay. It's just next to the Landmark Tower where Double Tree by Hilton occupies one of the tower.  more »
  • This church has both chinese and english version but theres in different place.
  • A quiet refuge in a noisy city.
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