Source: Daily Express, Sabah, Malaysia
Churches’ role appreciated
26 April, 2006
The State Government appreciates the contributions by Christians and other religious organisations towards maintaining peace and harmony. Chief Minister Datuk Seri Musa Hj Aman said this effort is important, especially in a society that is as ethnically diverse as Malaysia’s and Sabah’s, in particular.
“I have every confidence that Bishop Albert Vun will be able to fulfil his obligations and bear the responsibility of building a spiritual, moral and caring society.
“On behalf of the Sabah Government, I extend my heartfelt congratulations to him and his family,” he said at the Celebration Dinner to mark the consecration and installation of Bishop Vun as the Fifth Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Sabah.
He noted that churches have a role to play in complementing the Government’s efforts “in creating a moral and caring society and curbing social ills such as drug abuse and other criminal activities.”
Musa commended mission schools and churches for playing a crucial part in establishing the educational and spiritual foundation, especially among our youths.
“I hope the Church will continue to play its part in moulding our young minds to be morally upright and responsible adults who will some day make meaningful contributions to the State and Nation,” he said.
The text of his speech was read by Assistant Minister to the Chief Minister, Datuk Edward Khoo. Some 1,200 people attended the function held at the Putera Theatre Ballroom.
Also present were Archbishop of the Province of the Anglican Church in Southeast Asia, The Most Rev. Dr John Chew Hiang Chea, Retired Archbishop & Bishop of Singapore, Bishop Moses Tay, Retired Archbishop & Bishop of Sabah, Bishop Datuk Yong Ping Chung, Chairman of the Borneo Mission Association, Rev F.R. Cooke from the UK.
Musa said the Government policies in place reflect the many freedoms prevailing in this country, one of which is religious freedom.
“These are freedoms that must be closely guarded to ensure continued peace and harmony in our state and nation.”
These are also policies that demonstrate the government’s effort to ensure that no community as well as religious organisation is marginalized.”
He reminded Christians not to forget spiritual and moral development in our quest for economic development and material gain. This aspect, he said, creates a strong foundation for other pursuits in life.
For this very reason, Musa said the State Government provides yearly assistance to religious organisations whenever possible.
“The provision of assistance clearly reflects the State Government’s commitment to uphold religious freedom and to encourage religious and spiritual development of the people, irrespective of their race and beliefs.”
Earlier, more than 1,000 parishioners, friends and well-wishers from all over Sabah braved the rain to converge on the All Saints’ Cathedral to witness the historical consecration and installation of The Reverend Canon Albert Vun Cheong Fui, 50. The nearby Parish Hall and Glory Hall were also packed to capacity.
Members of other Christian denominations also attended the service in a show of solidarity. Archbishop of the Province of the Anglican Church in Southeast Asia, The Most Reverend Dr John Chew Hiang Chea from Singapore conducted the ceremony, steeped in religious tradition.
He was assisted by The Right Rev. Datuk Made Katib (Bishop of Kuching), The Right Rev. Dr Tan Sri Lim Cheng Ean (Bishop of West Malaysia), The Right Rev. Moses Ponniah (Asst Bishop of West Malaysia), The Right Rev. Yong Chen Fah (Asst Bishop of Sabah), The Right Rev. Bolly Lapok (Asst Bishop of Kuching), The Right Reverend Rennis Ponniah (Assistant Bishop of Singapore), The Right Reverend Dr Moses Tay (Retired Bishop of Singapore) and The Right Rev Datuk Yong Ping Chung (Retired Bishop of Sabah).
Among those who attended were Minister of Resource Development & Information Technology, Datuk Dr Yee Moh Chai, Head of the Catholic Diocese of Kota Kinabalu, Bishop Datuk John Lee, Chairman of the Sabah Council of Churches,
Bishop Datuk Voo Thien Fui, President of the Sabah Theological Seminary, Rev Dr Thu En Yu, Assistant Minister of Resource Development & Information Technology, Melanie Chia and former Tawau MP, Datuk Chua Soon Bui.
Also present were the new Bishop’s 76-year-old mother, wife and children.
The three-hour service began at 3pm. As the church bell chimed, the traditional procession of about 50 visiting bishops and archbishops, overseas and local clergies, canons, archdeacons and deans to the cathedral from Wisma Anglican had to be done by moving in vans and a tourist coach because of the rain.
The cathedral reverberated with the sounds of music, hymns and prayers, proclaiming the news of happiness.
The service was made up of the presentation of the Bishop-designate to Archbishop Dr Chew by Bishop Tan Sri Dr Lim Cheng Ean (Bishop of West Malaysia) and Bishop Datuk Made Katib (Bishop of Kuching) for the Archbishop’s Mandate.
In the consecration, the Archbishop presented the Bible and the Episcopal Ring as the symbol of Faith to the new Bishop before placing the Mitre on the latter’s head. “We declare that Albert Vun Cheong Fui is a bishop in the Church of God.”
For the installation, the newly-consecrated Bishop left the church and re-entered through the main door after knocking three times on the door with his pastoral staff.
Another Anglican tradition was the ringing of the church bell 39 times at 5.12pm to signify the 39 Articles of Religion of the Anglican Church. The Archbishop then seated the Bishop in his Episcopal Seat and blessed the latter while presenting the Diocesan Pastoral Staff to him.
In his 30-minute sermon, Bishop Vun said based on solid foundation, the new challenge of the Church is to build the present and future.
Relating his stint as a counsellor in Singapore some years ago, Bishop Vun recalled the words of speaker Billy Graham who said the three secrets of success are “Pray, Pray and Pray”.
Meanwhile, Archbishop Dr Chew said the consecration and installation of Bishop Vun marks the beginning of a new generation of Bishops.
“As the Province of the Anglican Church in Southeast Asia is already 10 years old, many of the first generation of bishops have retired,” he said.