The Anglican Church of the True Light had its beginnings in 1911 when Guok Koh Muo, a part-time school master and journalist for a Chinese newspaper, responded to the call by Miss Apple, a British missionary, to start a mission for the Heng Hua and Hock Chew Chinese from Fujian province living in Singapore. He started organising gospel meetings with a handful of believers in a friend’s barber shop at Bencoolen Street before moving to Pei Chin School at Queen Street.
During the 1920s, the Heng Hua Mission had to relocate a number of times and once occupied the premises of an abandoned Buddhist nunnery at Victoria Street. Throughout this period, congregation members attended Sunday services at St Peter’s Church at Stamford Road.
It was not until the mission found a home at Jalan Besar that the name “Church of the True Light” was first used. The present site of the church was acquired in 1940 but World War II prevented Reverend Guok from raising the necessary funds to build the church. Furthermore, most of the congregation then were poor trishaw riders who could barely afford basic necessities.
The current church, a conserved building, was built in 1952, and included a free clinic and a kindergarten. Reverend Guok, an ordained priest by this time, added biblical principles to the church’s walls and pillars, which were written in elaborate Chinese script. Today, besides its English and Mandarin services, the church also holds services in Tamil, Malayalam, Sinhalese and Hindi.