Wesley in the news – The Borneo Post
Be forward-looking, Wesleyans told
By Gaing Kunding
Celebrate golden jubilee this year with faith and compassion: Bishop
SIBU: Bishop of Methodist Churches in Malaysia Reverend Dr Hwa Yung has called on all parishioners of the Wesley Methodist Church Sibu to continue to be forward-looking, faithful and compassionate as they celebrate their golden jubilee this year.
Besides praying and embracing the Word of God in the Bible, he also reminded all Wesleyans to remember the words of John Wesley: “Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all ways you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can and as long as you ever can.”
Rev Hwa made the remark when he spoke at the 50th Anniversary Thanksgiving Dinner of Wesley Methodist Church Sibu held in conjunction with the Golden Jubilee celebration of Wesley Methodist Church (1958 – 2008 ) at the civic centre here last Saturday.
The theme of the celebration was ‘To God be the Glory’.
In her welcoming speech, organising chairperson of the celebration who is also the principal of Methodist Pilley Institute here, Judy Wong said the dinner and celebration was also a homecoming ceremony as many of the church’s former missionaries, former pastors and former Wesleyans had returned from abroad and other places in the country to mark the one-week event from April 30 to May 4.
“Four of them are former missionaries from the UK, and three from the US, who are here together with their spouses. They are such a fun group.
“Their laughter, enthusiasm, humour, their love for life and for God, being so sporting, has lifted our spirit and made many of us feel young again,” Wong said as she introduced each one to the audience.
Also present at the dinner were 15 representatives from four nearby Iban longhouses that Wesley Methodist Church has adopted.
The past pastors from overseas were Rev David MacDonald and wife, Rev Geoffrey Senior and wife, Rev Philip Williams and wife, Rev Chris Tomlinson and wife, Rev Jim Hopkins and wife, Rev Jim Brinks and wife, and Rev Lionel Muthiah and wife.
The president of Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference (SCAC) Rev Dr Su Chii Ann, Bishop Emeritus Datuk Dr Peter Chio, SCAC secretary general Ting Kong Siin, lay leaders Hii Ching Chiong and Chang Jih-Ren, Rev Kong Chong Ling and wife, Pastor-in-charge Rev Dr Tiong Chung Tiing, and past missionaries – John Vas and wife Sandy Davis, Gail Pilley-Harris, Jackie Fries and Sandy Berg were also present at the dinner.
Also present were past local pastors including Rev Wong Kah Nguon and wife, Rev Dr Khoo Ho Peng and wife, Rev Dr Tie King Tai and wife, Rev Dr Lau Hui Ming and wife, Rev Hoo Sing Hang and wife, and Rev Tai Sing Leh.
There were also a CD presentation each on the history of Wesley Methodist Church, and were entertained by individuals as well as by the Boys’ Brigade First Company Sibu band.
The Golden Jubilee Celebrations in The Connection.
Over 20 former missionaries and their spouses came from different parts of the world to attend the Golden Jubilee of Wesley Methodist Church (WMC), Sibu, which was celebrated from 30 April to 4 May 2008. On 2 May, Methodist Theological School (MTS) has the honour to have Rev. Geoffrey Senior (second missionary pastor of WMC and lecturer of MTS from 1959-1962) to speak in their school chapel.
Standing at the same pulpit he preached years ago, Senior said, “Fifty years ago this day (2 May), we set off from England with our 3-month-old daughter to Sibu. I learned the Chinese language with 2 teachers. I used to be able to preach and teach in Chinese but I am afraid I cannot do it now.” The Seniors spent four years in Sibu. They were then posted to Medan, Indonesia and later, Hong Kong. After that, they were back to London to pastor at different churches until their retirement 14 years ago.
“Wherever we are in this world, we always feel at home in the family of God’s people. And we always have a gospel of reconciliation in Jesus Christ to preach. Back then, WMC was a multi-racial and multi-national church, members were from different parts of the world. I particularly enjoyed the time of administering the Holy Communion because we were indeed one in Christ.” Senior reminded us that our Lord can bring down the barrier between people.
At the end of the chapel, Rev. Geoffrey Senior blessed the MTS community on the pulpit in his beautifully spoken Chinese. (Winnie)
An Early History of Wesley Church
Wesley Methodist Church, Sibu, came into being out of a need for Christian worship service conducted in the English Language. It officially began on 5 May 1958 when 19 Methodists and 9 Christians from other denominations under the leadership of a Methodist missionary, Rev. David Macdonald, met in the MTS Chapel to inaugurate a regular English worship service.
Most of the worshippers were missionaries (and their families) who served in the local churches which used various local languages and dialects. They felt the need for fellowship and worship in their own language, and a Sunday school for their children.
The Church grew steadily in importance and number under the capable and dedicated leadership of Rev. David Macdonald (1958-1959); Rev. Geoffrey Senior (1959-1962); Rev. Roy Aylott (1963); Rev. Philip Williams (1962-1965); Rev. James Hipkins (1965-1967); Rev. Chris Tomlinson (1967-1969); Rev David Chiew (1969).
All those years, the serving pastors served only on a part-time basis and it was not until 1970 that Rev. Jim Brinks was appointed the first full-time missionary pastor. More and more local residents joined as full members and regular worshippers as greater outreach was made. This period also saw the further reduction of foreign missionaries to Sarawak.
In December 1976, the Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference appointed Rev. Peter Chuo to succeed Rev. Muthiah, and so the first Sunday in Jan 1977 saw the first full-time local pastor step unto Wesley’s pulpit. By that time, Mr. and Mrs. Ed Shields were the last missionary members of Wesley Church. After they left in October 1978, Wesley Church completed its transition from an English worship service catering for missionary families to providing services for local residents. (Excerpt from “Wesley Methodist Church, Sibu: A Historical Perspective” by Judy Wong)
This is an account of the Wesley Jubilee Celebrations reported in The Chinese Methodist Message dated 18th May 2008
赞美之夜于5月2日假诗巫卫斯理堂举行。Rev. David MacDonald在台上分享他如何在祷告中，上帝给了他一首歌，做为庆典的主题曲。MacDonald是卫斯理堂首位牧师。在他之前，卫斯理堂只是一个黄昏祷告小组，参与者主要是当时外籍宣教士、政府人员与家眷。
Rev. Jim Brinks上台分享时说到，他于1969年踏足诗巫。当他与家人踏上这片土地时，他们有踏上天家的感觉。他形容在诗巫的短短几年，是他人生的高峰期。他很高兴看到卫斯理堂有不同的服事和事工。
5月3日（星期六）晚上，卫斯理堂在民众会堂筵开110席，庆祝上帝过去五十年来的带领。感恩宴之前，举行了一个隆重的男少年军检阅仪式，由华勇会督和诗巫第一位男少年军军官（BB Captain）Rev. Chris Tomlinson检阅。Rev. Tomlinson回忆他以前在诗巫牧会时，祷告寻求该如何帮功这里很多的男孩。因他在英国曾是男少年军的队员，他想也许可以让这里的男孩子参加男少年军。于是在1967年开始了男少年军事工。第一次的聚会共有36位男少年军参加。现在诗巫男少年军第一团共有差不多600位的少年人，是全马来西亚最大的少年团。
当晚有八位男少年军的队员和两位军官从Rev. Chris Tom-linson手中接过勋章和礼物。对这些男孩来说，是人生中只有一次的机会。
在缅怀过去中，每一位宣教士都分享了一部份他们在诗巫的经历，既温馨又带欢笑。他们分别是Rev. David MacDonald、Rev. Geoffry Senior、 Re. Philip Williams、Rev. Jim Hipkins、Rev. Chris Tomlinson、Rev. Jim Brinks、Rev. Lionel Muthiah，荣誉会督朱新进博士也在其中分享。他是在“宣教士牧养时代”结束后的第一位本地牧者。朱博士说到当年宣教士逐渐离开，聚会人数下降。他有两个选择，一是关闭，一是继续奋兴教会。感谢神，当年的朱博士没有选第一条路，不然也不会有今天的卫斯理堂了。
会督用他的一个经历带出一个属灵功课。之前，他在沙巴与林厚武会长去深海钓鱼，这是他第一次的钓鱼经历。他们一整天才钓到几条一公斤多的鱼。对善于深海钓鱼的人来说，这些是小鱼（ikan bilis）。后来，会督先行睡觉，林会长却继续奋斗，但一夜未有所获。会督醒来，看见如斯情况，便提出祷告。他向神求大鱼，以验证神的恩典与临在。不出 20分钟，他的鱼竿被扯弯成90度。旁边的人立刻上前帮忙，挣扎了一阵子，一条重达30磅的石斑鱼上钩了。对一个“初哥”来说，这是“神迹”。