Fourth Church in Bangkok was established more than 100 years ago in the middle of a rice paddy close to the Chao Phraya River in Bangkok. There is a faded old photograph of the church that hangs in their Fellowship Hall today. It is simply labeled “American Presbyterian Church.” This is the church where Mom and I worshiped on Sunday, April 10th.
Fourth Church, or Suebpantawong Church as it is called in Thai, no longer looks like the church in the faded old photograph, mostly because the landscape around it has changed. The church is now in the middle of the city of Bangkok, surrounded by skyscrapers and close to a Skytrain station. The church has two services on Sunday morning: a contemporary service at 9:30 AM and a traditional service at 10:45 AM. We attended the traditional service and then joined the congregation in a fellowship meal to celebrate a program offered by the youth of the church the previous Sunday.
The old church building is the same one that appears in the older photograph, but it has been whitewashed and updated with air-conditioning, a public address system, flat-screen closed circuit television for those who are seated in places where they cannot see the pulpit, and a projection system and screen for the contemporary service. There is also an education wing that was built in the mid-1990’s.
During our brief sojourn at the church, a church that Mom and Dad worshiped at regularly whenever they were in Bangkok, we met a delightful woman, Kuhn Pluemjit. (Kuhn is a title of respect among the Thai.) Kuhn Pluemjit told us that her parents raised her in that church – that her father was an elder in the church for 84 years! She remembers the old church in the faded photograph and she is proud of her family’s long relationship with the church. What a blessing it is to see the legacy of those who have gone before and to know that the work of those early missionaries is bearing so much fruit today!