Karen Baptist Church, Singapore (KBCS) was registered as an organization on 25 January 2006. It was formerly known as Singapore Karen Baptist Christian Fellowship (SKBCF). We have gone through many changes and have grown not only in numbers but have grown spiritually as well.
Singapore Karen Baptist Christian Fellowship, as our church was known then, began in 1997. At that time, the Karen community was still small but growing. Rev. Dr Doh Say, Principal of the Karen Baptist Seminary in Burma saw a need for a Karen Christian Fellowship when he came for a visit to Singapore . He was one of the many other visiting Karen Ministers who saw such a need in Singapore .
Pati Saw Michael Thaw Tha, who had been living in Singapore since 1992 received a letter from Rev. Dr Doh Say, requesting the former to start a Karen Christian Fellowship in Singapore so that our people could worship in our own mother tongue. Pati Michael, as he is fondly known, gave serious thought over the matter. He approached other Karens in Singapore for advice, including Karen pastors, Thara Tin Oo and Thara Augustus. The Karens in Singapore then came to a conclusion that we would start a worship fellowship in our own mother tongue. This was how Singapore Karen Baptist Christian Fellowship came about.
The very first service was held on November 1997 at Pati Michael’s residence at Pasir Panjang Road . The Motto was established as “wIr:<G:wIo;ckupDO”. Due to the rather small populace of the Karen people in Singapore at that time the average attendance was only 27 people. SKBCF worked closely with the Karen Baptist Convention in Myanmar .
On 25 January 1998, the Executive Committee members were officially appointed. The persons elected as the EC members of SKBCF were:
Chairman: - Saw Michael Thaw Tha
Asst. Chairman: -Saw Than Tun
Secretary: -Saw Tiberius
Asst. Secretary: - Daw Lwin Lwin Maung
Treasurer: -Naw Susan
Auditor: -Saw Samuel
Pulpit committee members were
When Naw Susan went back to Burma on July 1998, Saw Paul was appointed as the Treasurer and he served the organization from there onwards.
In that same year, Rev. Klar Kaw who was in Singapore from July 1995 to May 1999, Thara Augustus, Thara Tin Oo, Tharamu Khin Moo Ra served as spiritual leaders. Tharamu Peh Paleh came to Singapore to attain the Bachelor of Church Music (Piano) at Singapore Bible College served from July 1998 until May 2002 when she finished her studies. She took over the worship program after Tharamu Khin Moo Ra went back to Myanmar .
The number of the Karen people grew and thus the people who came to worship also grew. Our Karen elders heard news that there were many more Karens in Singapore then we had first thought. The house was also getting cramped during worship service. We then started our search for a place where we could have all the Karens in Singapore worship together.
With the help of Tharamu Peh Paleh(), Pearl ), SKBCF got into contact with YMCA, Singapore . With the help of our Christian brothers from YMCA of Singapore, namely Mr. Lawrence Koh, Mr. Alan Tay (Manager, Christian Emphasis, YMCA of Singapore) and Ms. Jenny, we had a place of worship at a dance studio on the fourth floor of YMCA, beginning 1 November 1998.
The worship venue was later moved to a bigger dance studio on the ninth floor of YMCA to better accommodate the steadfastly growing congregation. From a mere congregation of 27, SKBCF had grown to 104 with God’s blessings. Worship service commenced at after the Bible Study that Tharamu Lwai Wah conducted at . Every first week, Rev. Saw Augustus led us in communion. The elders in church were Elder Saw Fuad Poka, Elder Dr Saw Than Tun Aung, Elder Naw Gertrude & Elder Naw Burmay. We were encouraged by their presence.
Our Karen also did missionary work for the Karens back in our homeland. Part of our offerings was used as donations for the following missions:
In 2001, Tharamu Pearl Paleh, Tharamu Lwai Wah & Tharamu Sharon Taw jointly served as program (pulpit) committee. The Karen Education Foundation was also founded to provide a fund for the Karen youths who need financial assistance for their studies not only in Singapore but also other countries. The working Karens in Singapore generously donated the money for this fund.
In 2002, upon Pati Michael’s suggestion to Tharamu Peh Paleh to have choir practices, choir practice was held every Saturday afternoon at Elder Saw Paul’s house at Clementi West, starting from January 2002.
In 2003, new EC members were appointed. The persons appointed were:
Also, Saw Eh Htoo Nyo felt that we needed a verse from the bible as our fellowship’s theme. He proposed Psalm 118:8 “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in men.” And it became our theme bible verse.
Our Church is active in missionary works back in Myanmar . For example, some of the proceeds of the weekly offerings go towards sponsoring two individuals from the Karen Baptist Convention to attend the Haggai Seminar held in Singapore , on a yearly basis. This is an ongoing mission work. Our other works include giving scholarships to 13 students recommended by KBC, raising Building Fund for the construction of various buildings by KBC.
The Care committee was set up on June 2003 and was led by the women in the congregation to care for domestic workers. The objective was to provide relief and comfort for many girls with financial problems with regards to the payment for passport extension, income tax, hospitalization and death of relatives. Tharamu Spi Paw, Naw Peh Say and Tharamu Ka Taw Htoo packed cooked food and sold them as a form of fund raising.
In 2004, Rev. Poka and Rev. Augustus jointly become our spiritual leaders. Rev. Augustus announced as Thanksgiving Day and set a target to collect S$10,000 at the Worship Through Music( a special program) for the 6 storey building of KBC staff’s housing. We collected a total of S$16,400 which exceeded our target. Praise be to God!
In 2005, we moved to the Boy’s Brigade, Zion Road . A resolution was passed during the April 2005 meeting that we would register our rapidly burgeoning congregation as ). Karen Baptist Church (Singapore). The Church Constitution was drawn up and submitted to the authorities in August 2005. The Elected EC members were:
Pastor: Rev. Fuad Poka
Asst. Pastor: Thara Eh Htoo Nyo
Chairman: Saw Micky Ba Maung
Secretary: Naw Htoo Htoo
Treasurer: Saw Thu Thu@Saw Paul
It was in 2005 that we started Women Fellowship, Violin Classes, Sunday School and
12.04.2005 Women Fellowship: 9 am
17.04.2005 Sunday school:
05.06.2005 Youth Fellowship:
03.07.2005 Violin Classes: (Instructors : Saw Liston, Thara Solomon, Naw Eh Mu Thaw, Saw Daniel Nay Myo Ag)
Main Service choir practice is held every Saturday from to 8pm followed by Youth service choir practice which is from 8 to10pm. The people serving the sub-committee for 2005-2007 are
Chairman - Naw Lu May
Secretary - Naw Mooree
Treasurer - Naw Susie
Chairman - Saw Chan Nyein Aung
Secretary - Naw Eh Mu Thaw
Treasurer - Saw William Blessing Paul/ Naw Winsome Paul
Principal - Naw Mu Lar Wah
Treasurer - Naw Theresa Paul
Chairman - Saw Daniel Nay Myo Ag
Choir Leader - Saw Michael Thaw Tha
Asst. Choir Leader- Saw Steven Doo
On 25 January 2006, by the grace of God our Church registration was approved by the authorities. We are now recognised by the Singapore government. New EC members were elected and officially registered for a term of 2 years. The official 10 EC members as of 2006-2008 are
Chairman - Saw Micky
Asst. Chairman - Saw Chit Aung
Secretary - Naw Htoo Htoo
Vice Secretary - Daniel Ba Myaing
Treasurer - Naw Paw Wah
Asst. Treasurer - Saw Peter
Members - Saw Than Tun
- Saw James Eddie
- Saw Caesar Tun
- U Mahn Kelvyn
- Saw Hsar Law La (added on 2007 AGM)
Eight committees were formed to assist the EC in fulfilling the church’s objectives. They are as follows:
2) Christian Education
3) Women Fellowship
4) Youth Fellowship
7) Care and counselling
8) Evangelism and mission
On 9 September 2006, our Church logo was approved by the relevant authorities.
At the 2007 Annual General Meeting, the registered members as at 2007 was a total of 136. Non-official members of the Church number many more.
The very first baptism of Karen Baptist Church was held at East Coast Park . From then on, our Pastor has baptized many more. God Bless the new members of our Church!