[ACNS, by Rachel Farmer] An indigenous bishop from Sabah in Malaysia has been elected as the next Archbishop of South East Asia.
Bishop Melter J. Tais, the Bishop of Sabah, will take up his new role in February 2020, following on from Archbishop Ng Moon Hing.
Delegates from the four dioceses of Kuching, Sabah, Singapore and West Malaysia gathered for an Extraordinary Synod this week (23-25 September) to elect the next Archbishop and to discuss the establishment of new dioceses in West Malaysia.
The Archbishop elect will lead the Province of the Anglican Church of South East Asia for the next four years.
A spokesperson for the Diocese of Sabah said: “The role and responsibilities of the Archbishop of the Province are extremely heavy and challenging. Do remember and uphold Bishop Melter in prayer, that God will pour upon him grace, wisdom and courage as he helms our Province through challenging waters ahead both internally and externally.”
Bishop Melter Jiki Tais became the 6th Bishop of Sabah in 2015 and was the first native of Sabah to be installed to the highest office in the church in Sabah.
A father of four children, Melter Jiki Tais was ordained into the Anglican priesthood in 1993 and had served in various capacities in many parts of Sabah, including Priest-in-Charge of St Margaret's Church in Keningau and St Peter's Church in Tenom, Rector of St. Mark's Church in Lahad Datu and St Luke's Mission District in Telupid.
The Archbishop elect is a member of the Lambeth Design Group, planning the programme for Lambeth 2020.
The province of South East Asia contains four dioceses. In addition to West Malaysia, which covers peninsula Malaya, there are two additional Malaysian dioceses: Kuching and Sabah in northern Borneo; and also the Diocese of Singapore. The Province also extends into Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Indonesia and Nepal: all of which are country-wide missionary deaneries. Legally, these missionary deaneries are part of the Diocese of Singapore; but for all practical purposes they are deaneries of the province and the whole province is engaged in missionary activity with them.