J. V. Ayaduray was born on March 13, 1902 in the coastal town of Karainagar on Karaitivu Island, off the Jaffna peninsula in northern Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka). As an infant, he almost died from a life-threatening illness. But he recovered and later went on to serve the Methodist Church in Malaya in various capacities with great distinction.
Ayaduray attended Jaffna College, an American mission school in Ceylon, until his fourth form. He then moved to Malaya in 1921 with his brother, J. V. Chinniah, and continued his education at the Malacca High School in Malacca. Ayaduray spoke Tamil and English. Later on, he learned Malay as well.
In December 1921, during a service at the All-Malaya Epworth League Institute in Penang, he responded to God’s call to serve and enter full-time Christian ministry. After completing his Senior Cambridge in 1924, he furthered his studies at the Jean Hamilton Training School in Singapore and graduated in 1926. He was ordained as a deacon on January 5, 1930. Four years later, on January 7, 1934, he was ordained as an elder.
Ayaduray went on to lecture at the Jean Hamilton Theological School. He strongly supported the training of local men for ministry as well as the work of the Trinity Theological College in Singapore.
Between 1926 until his transfer to Singapore in 1938, Reverend Ayaduray served the Tamil congregation in three places: Seremban in Negeri Sembilan (1926-1931, and 1934-1935); Kuala Lumpur (1932-1933) and Klang (1935-1937).
In 1931, he served together with Reverend M. R. Doraisamy at the Seremban Tamil Church and the congregation grew exponentially. His passion and love for educating and nurturing the young showed in the attention and care he put into ministering to the Sunday School children, and training and discipling the young adults of the Epworth League.
While serving in Kuala Lumpur, he met Rose Jacob, a teacher at the Kuala Lumpur Methodist Girls’ School. They were married on April 16, 1932. He was transferred back to Seremban in 1934 and remained there till 1935.
After his transfer to Singapore in 1938, he was appointed pastor of the Tamil Methodist Church on Short Street, where he served till 1947.
As was the common practice with ministers in those days, Reverend Ayaduray took on a dual role of educator and preacher. He taught at the Anglo Chinese Primary School on Coleman Street in 1946 after the Japanese Occupation with two others — C. B. Paul and T. R. Doraisamy. The latter went on to pastor the Tamil Methodist Church on Short Street between 1951 and 1954.
Under Ayaduray’s pastoral care and leadership, the Tamil Methodist Church flourished and grew to a membership of 230. The Sunday School had 98 children while the Christian Youth Association had 60 members. He and his family lived in the parsonage which became a regular gathering place for the church congregation.
When the Pasir Panjang Tamil Methodist Church later came under the pastoral care of the Tamil Methodist Church pastors, Ayaduray conducted regular services there.
The pioneer work at the Seletar Naval Base and in Sembawang among the numerous Tamil believers from India also came under his supervision.
In 1940, through the efforts of Reverend Ayaduray and Reverend S. M. Thevathasan, a school building was erected at 150, Jalan Sembawang Kechil and became a place for congregational worship.
Ayaduray was transferred back to Seremban in 1947 to serve the Tamil Methodist Church and was made district superintendent of the Central Tamil Malaya District. In 1949, he was transferred to Kuala Lumpur to be the superintendent of the Central Malaya District.
He returned to Singapore in 1955 and served the Tamil Methodist Church until he retired in 1964. He was the first chairman of the Tamil Work Committee, which was formed in 1958 to address the state of dependence of the Tamil churches in Malaya and Singapore. He also served as district superintendent in Singapore and was on various boards and committees. His training of young men for church ministry which he was passionate about was possibly his most notable contribution.
His wife Rose was his partner in ministry — she was active in women’s work with the Women’s Society of Christian Service (WSCS), and was elected its first Asian president at the Malayan Annual Conference in 1953.
Reverend Ayaduray passed away at the age of 66 on June 20, 1968 in Singapore. Besides his achievements as an educator, pastor, and teacher of theology, he was also well-known for his wisdom, fatherly advice, sympathetic and appreciative nature and sense of humour. He was described as a man with a “great soul”.
- ^ Veronica Poore, “Rev. Joseph V. Ayaduray” in A Great Cloud of Witnesses: A Historical Record of Key Pastors in the Indian Churches in Malaysia and Singapore (Selangor, Council of Churches Malaysia, 2011), 89.
Poore, Veronica. “Rev. Joseph V. Ayaduray”. In A Great Cloud of Witnesses: A Historical Record of Key Pastors in the Indian Churches in Malaysia and Singapore. Selangor: Council of Churches Malaysia, 2011.
Doraisamy, T. R., ed. Heralds of the Lord: Personalities in Methodism in Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore: The Methodist Book Room, 1988.