By the Revd John Kafwanka
Our Saviour's Church in Salak, a rural part of the Diocese of West Malaysia, celebrated 50 years of ministry and service on Sunday.
The then UK-based mission agency Church Mission Society (CMS) began its ministry there in 1952 with the setting up of a clinic. Our Saviour's Church is one of the five churches subsequently planted by CMS. Over the past half century, the Diocese of West Malaysia has grown to nearly 200 churches.
Bp Moon Hing Making His Speech
Officiating at a special anniversary celebration dinner the Bishop of the Diocese of West Malaysia, the Right Revd Datuk Ng Moon Hing, paid tribute to the early missionaries for their dedication and service, pointing out that "Now everyone is happy with the growth of the church, but it was due to sacrificial ministry of the early missionaries who came from their comfort zones to foreign places and could not speak local languages but because of their love of God they did what they did."
Bishop Moon Hing said that those who planted the Church "would be disappointed if we do not keep the same spirit of building and growing the church".
He encouraged the people to learn to "start small as they did" saying God would grow such efforts. He added that the church needs a lot of training in order to grow God's ministry and to be able to stand firm against the pressures of the world. He thanked God for the faithfulness of all the members, lay and ordained in the last 50 years, and for the growth of the church where the emphasis is 'Everyone is minister' and 'Everyone can serve'.
The colourful and joyful evening celebration was characterised by much food, and singing and performances by all age groups - even some as young as three.
Speaking at the same event the parish vicar, the Revd Dr Bau Chian Hui, called upon all church members to work harder than before
Dr Bau who has served Our Saviour's Church for the last fifteen years highlighted key achievements he had seen during his time. These included producing 2 ordained clergy, 3 deaconesses, 4 full time pastors and 1 honorary pastor and growing many committed members able to serve God in every sphere of their lives. He said this was mainly due to a lot of effort put into teaching and training using the Sarang (Korean Presbyterian) Church resources for discipleship and leadership training.
the Revd Dr Bau Chian Hui
Dr Bau hailed the Sarang model as systematic and effective, adding that the growth of the church will be much more visible in the next few years. Currently Our Saviour's Church has four services every Sunday - two for children and young people and two for adults, with an average attendance of 150 members. The church is growing in membership and in its service to the community.
Earlier in the day the Bishop confirmed 14 members at the church, with ages ranging from 14 to 70.