Alexander Grant

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"Memorials of Protestant Missionaries to the Chinese" from 1867:


Rev. Alexander Grant was appointed a missionary to China, by the Foreign Mission Board of the English Presbyterian Church.  He arrived at Amoy on April 17, 1858, and remained there until May 1861, when he made a voyage to Penang for the benefit of his health.  Meeting there with some of the Plymouth Brethren, he was induced to join their communion; when he resigned his connection with the Presbyterian mission, and commenced his missionary labours in the island, in concert with his new associates.

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Presbytery in Singapore


"The Rev. Alexander Grant, M.A., an ex-missionary of the English Presbyterian Mission of Amoy, and Tan See Boo, along with the Rev. W. Jeffrey, who was the third Presby minister of Singapore, formed the "Bethesda", or Baptist Church and Mission in Singapore.


Chinese Gospel Hall in Singapore

See Tan's bio link below for more biographical.

In 1856, Tan See Boo (1833-1884), born in Amoy and disfellowshipping upon becoming a Christian, arrived in Singapore to begin work for the Presbyterian Church, planting "The Glory Presbyterian Church" along with Rev. Benjamin Keasberry. In 1862, Tan left the Presby communion with Rev. Alexander Grant to found the Chinese Mission of the Plymouth Brethren. In 1866, both resigned from the Presbyterian Church.

Tan did so because he differed with the Church on two issues. Firstly, he believed that baptism was only for believers and had to be carried out by immersion. Secondly, he believed that a Christian worker must look only to God for his financial support. On May 8, 1867, eight months after his resignation, Tan was re-baptized by John Chapman. Together with five other Chinese, he was among the first converts in the Straits settlements who were baptized by immersion.

At that time, the fledgling Chinese congregation looked to Tan for leadership. When he resigned from the Presbyterian mission, other Chinese Christians also left and joined the Brethren. Until 1867 when the Chinese Gospel Hall (CGH) was established, the Chinese congregation under Tan held their meetings at the Bethesda Chapel. Tan solicited donations to build a church, and had collected $2,000 by 1865. In 1866, he donated his wife’s jewellery towards the building of the church.

CGH was also known as the Chinese Presbyterian Church,15 and locally as Hok Im Kuan or Hok Im Koan. It was located at the junction of North Bridge Road, along a small lane parallel to Bras Brasah Road. The 5,000-square-foot compound was leased to Tan from the Presbyterian mission for 99 years at $60.16 Tan became CGH’s ruling elder and lived with his family at the back of the church premises.

CGH fell into a dilapidated condition after three decades of use and had to be replaced. The building re-opened on 20 February 1900, with about 150 members present at its dedication.18 In 1941, it was bombed and completely destroyed in World War II. After the war ended in 1945, Tan’s grandson sold the land and used the money to build a larger CGH in Geylang.

Sources

  • Straits Times Annual 1906-1907, Singapore
  • Infopedia bio of Tan by Lee Hwee Hoon.
    • Tay-Chee, G. (2003). Of sighs and smiles. Singapore: Armour Publishing, p. 24. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 TAY-[HIS])
    • Hunt, R., Lee, K. H., & Roxbogh, J. (Eds.). (1992). Christianity in Malaysia: A denominational history. Petaling Jaya: Pelanduk Publishing, p. 79. (Call no.: RSING 275.95 CHR)
    • Song, O. S. (1984). One hundred years’ history of the Chinese in Singapore. Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 93. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 SON-[HIS])
    • Harcus, A. D. (1955). History of the Presbyterian Church in Malaya. England: Presbyterian Historical Society of England, p. 7. (Call no.: RCLOS 285.25951HAR[RFL])
    • Sng, B. E. K. (2003). In His good time: The story of the church in Singapore, 1819–2002. Singapore: Bible Society of Singapore, p. 72. (Call no.: RSING 280.4095957 SNG)
    • Makepeace, W., Brooke, G. E., & Braddell, R. S. J. (Eds.). (1991). One hundred years of Singapore (Vol. 2). Singapore: Oxford University Press, p. 264. (Call no.: RSING 959.57 ONE-[HIS])
    • Funeral of Mrs Tan See Boo. (1936, August 20). The Straits Times, p. 12. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.