Indonesia Chinese Seventh-day Adventist Churches

Arlaine Djim

Basic Demographic Information

Official Name: Anjasmoro Chinese Seventh-day Adventist Church

Church Administrative Unit: ???

Date Officially Formed: ???

Founding Minister: ???

Church Website: ???

Current Address: Anjasmoro Chinese Church, Surabaya, Indonesia

Date on which Current Sanctuary was Established: ???

Current Membership: ???

Seventh-day Adventist Church messages in East Java, Indonesia started in early 1900s. In 1903 the Malay Archipelago, which included British Malaya (now Singapore and Malaysia) and Netherlands East Indies (Indonesia), was made a mission field of the Australasian Union Conference. One of the first missionaries, George Albert Wood of Australia arrived in Surabaya in 1909. The first Adventist works in East Java area was concentrated in Surabaya (泗水), the capital city of East Java Province, Indonesia. Until Even now, Surabaya is the second largest city in Indonesia, after Jakarta (雅加達). [Editor’s note: G. A. Wood, 1867-1944, was born in England, but migrated to Australia. After working in Surabaya, from 1919 to 1926 he worked at Padang (巴東), southern Sumatra; and later in northern Sumatra. His wife, Miss Anna Amedia Nordstrom, a Swedia Swede , was also a missionary from Australia to Surabaya in 1907. She died in 1942 shortly after WWII began. He died in internment camp in Medan (棉蘭), Sumatra, in 1944. (Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, Commentary Reference Series, Vol. 11, p. 914).]

The first Surabaya SDA church was organized in 1913. The members met in a common house building owned by a Chinese member. It was located in Sulung area (now called Sulung Kali Street). Later on, when the house was not large enough to accommodate increasing number of members, the church bought a two-storage building in the middle of Chinatown. The church was then was known as Tanjung Anom Church. The new church building was officially used opened in 1921.

The church grew very fast, and consisted of church members from the Dutch, Chinese and Indonesian communities. In short time, again the church was so full and had with not enough space to accommodate all the members. Facing the situation, the Tanjung Anom Seventh-day Adventist Church leaders decided to conduct two Sabbath services in one day: morning service for Indonesian and Chinese members, and the afternoon service for Dutch members. The decision was a short-time solution to for the church in at that time.

After some times, some of the Chinese leaders began to consider building a new church building so that they could focus on outreach to the Chinese community. The main leader was Tan Swie Gwan. He, with the other church leaders such as Han Kiet Bing, Han Poo Hien, Kan To Lam, John Lee, Liem Soen Hoo and Tjan Hwa Pien, agreed to build a Chinese church with a mission to reach the Chinese businessmen living around the church. The plan was to conduct Sabbath School service and Sabbath service in Indonesian and Mandarin language, since other Christian denominations in Surabaya already conducted Mandarin service for their Chinese members. For example, the Chinese Christian churches in Bakmi Street (now Samudera Street), Arjuna Street and Panggung Street, used not only Mandarin language, but also other Chinese dialects such as Hokkian, Hakka, etc. In that time, the largest Christian church in the city was a Protestant church called Tiong Hwa Kie Tok Kuw Hwee (中華基督教會). It is now known as Gereja Kristen Indonesia/GKI—Indonesia Christian Church. It proved that ethnical-approach was an effective way to reach to the Chinese community, since they speak the same language and dialects, share the same culture and have the same perspective way of thinking.

So, the Chinese Adventist leaders were praying for a new building. It was not an easy work, because they faced many problems. After praying and praying, finally, they were able to lease a place at the back of a building called Loge Gebouw at 80 Tunjungan Street (塔龍特街). After they collected enough furniture and equipment to conduct Sabbath service, about 90 Chinese church members moved from Tanjung Anom to the new location in Surabaya. This historical event was in 1954, but the exact date is unknown to this day. Anyhow the year 1954 was remembered as the year of birth of the Anjasmoro church.

At that time the church elders was Liem Soen Hoo and Tan Swie Gwan. Han Poo Hien served as church clerk, and Tjan Hwa Pien, as treasurer. The church pastor was Pastor Auw Tian Siong. He was concurrently secretary and treasurer of the East Java Mission.

Because of the political issues and situations in Indonesia around 1959, the name of the Chinese church was changed to Tunjungan church. According to Tan Swie Gwan, the idea to organize other Chinese churches in big cities in Indonesia, in order to reach the Chinese community, was presented to the West Indonesia Union Mission in Bandung, Indonesia for consideration, but the union officers did not give any positive responds respond positively.

After leasing Loge Gebouw for some time, the Tunjungan church leaders and members tried to find a permanent building to worship. So they began to gather funds to build their own church building. In 3 years they collected Indonesia Rupiah (IDR印尼盾) 11.000. With that small fund, God bless their efforts and they found a building at 12 Anjasmoro Street. The price was only IDR 15.000. The church elder, Liem Soen Hoo, bought the house and donated it to the church. Again, they collected funds for the building renovation. God opened many ways for them. In 1959-1961, one of the pioneers, John Lee was chosen to be the church elder and he was also appointed to be a member of the executive committee of the East Java mission. This appointment was very helpful for the church to collect more funds for the church renovation. [Editor’s note: In 1960 the exchange rate of Indonesia Rupiah to USD was as follows: Rp 10,000 IDR = $0.69396 USD; or Rp 50,000 IDR = $ 3.4698 USD.]

On September 10, 1961, finally the building was officially used as a church. The name of the church was changed again from Tunjungan Church to Anjasmoro Church, since the church is located in Anjasmoro Street, Surabaya. The first church pastor is Pastor F. Kilapong.

After 48 years, 90% of Anjasmoro church members were Chinese. They helped to organize two new congregations and several branch Sabbath schools around Surabaya. They all worked hard to bring their relatives and friends to join the church. We pray that Holy Spirit for helping them to expand God’s kingdom in Surabaya, especially to reach more Chinese to accept Jesus Christ to be their Savior! [Arlaine Djim is Global Chinese Evangelism Coordinator at Chinese Ministry Center in Jakarta]


1. Seventh-day Adventist Encyclopedia, Commentary Reference Series, Vol. 11, p. 914