KOTA KINABALU – The Sabah Council of Churches (SCC) organised its inaugural meeting with the District Councils of Churches at the Sacred Heart Parish Centre here on 13 Sept 2016.
Around 70 pastors and lay leaders representing Christian churches in Pitas, Kudat, Matunggong, Paitan, Kota Marudu, Kota Belud, Manggatal, Papar, Ranau, Membakut, Tambunan, Nabawan, Keningau, Kuala Penyu, Beaufort, Tenom, Telupid, Sandakan, Lahad Datu, Kunak and Labuan turned up for this historic meeting. Neil Mah represented Archbishop John Wong at the meeting.
It was historic in the sense that since SCC was established 24 years ago, this was the first time representatives from all the District Councils of Churches were able to meet together through the efforts of Maklin Masiau, Special Task Officer of SCC Secretariat.
In his welcoming message, SIB Pastor Jerry Dusing, president of SCC, explained the purpose of the meeting. The SCC Secretariat Office was established in 2015 to assist SCC in the area of administration, field visit, supporting programmes on the challenges facing the Christian community, especially the dakwah (Islamic missionary) movement that is gathering pace in Sabah, as well as to network with organisations at all levels in order to strengthen the faith of Christian students and teachers.
Dusing also said that SCC is working together with Commission of Sabah Affairs (COSA = for Independent churches), Perpaduan Anak Negeri (PAN=Indigenous Movement), Persatuan Guru-guru Kristian Sabah (PGKS=Sabah Christian Teachers Fellowship), Pastors Fellowship Kota Kinabalu (PFKK-BM unit) and Scripture Union to unite the churches in Sabah and to strengthen the social economy of members.
He touched on the challenges confronting the Christian Church today such as the Hudud issue, tactics by certain quarters trying to Islamise young students in colleges and universities, and the ongoing debate concerning the Malaysia Agreement 1963 (MA63).
The president also informed the participants of the launching of Alkitab Versi Borneo (AVB) on 19 Apr 2016 at Good News Church. He said that the AVB is not meant to compete or to undermine the efforts invested by other organisations, but rather to consolidate the many existing translations so that for future publications, all the churches/organisations can work together to contribute to the spiritual revival of the faithful.
He admitted that the concept of One in Christ or Christian unity is easy to say but hard to do because “we are inclined to focus on the affairs of our own church.” However, he continued, with the dakwah movement and challenges coming from all corners, the churches “have no choice but to really unite because only then, the power of God can work miraculously.”
Dusing ended his speech by thanking Abp Wong for the use of the venue.
Representatives from COSA (Pastor Chin), PAN (Pastor Esther Golingi), and PGKS (William Pan) took turns to inform the participants of what their ministries are about and their concerns.
During the open forum, Neil Mah proposed that the SCC establish a panel of Christian lawyers to help out in the legal problems faced by the churches. This was accepted by Dusing who said he would take it up in the SCC meeting.
The meeting concluded with a fellowship meal at the canteen.
Members of the SCC are: Anglican Diocese of Sabah, Basel Christian Church of Malaysia, Calvary Charismatic Centre, Grace Chapel Luyang, Sabah Baptist Association, Catholic Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu, Protestant Church in Sabah, Sabah Evangelical Mission, Sidang Injil Borneo, and Sabah Provincial Annual Conference.