SANDAKAN – A delegation of 11 people from Sabah paid a return visit to Heilbronn Germany under the banner of Sabah Heilbronn Ecumenical Partnership (SHEP) on 23 Sept – 14 Oct 2016.
The delegation from Sabah was represented by six Catholics from the three dioceses, three from the Basel C ouncil of Churches Malaysia (BCCM) and two from the Protestant Church of Sabah (PCM). The Sabah SHEP delegates was headed by Fr Thomas Yip.
The exchange visit from both sides have been done since 1990.
Staying with host families helped the delegates to observe and broaden their perspective living in a different cultural and spiritual setting. They visited the different deaneries, Mission 21 in Basel Switzerland, had a discussion on living out ecumenism at Lowenstein and listened to a talk on ecumenism and its challenges in Germany.
The delegates were given the privilege to access the Mission 21 headquarters’ archive where documents are kept dated way back to the 1600s. In their collection, the delegates were shown the oldest Malay written Bible dated in 1821 where it clearly referred God as “Allah”,.
SHEP Germany organised a celebration called “Sabah Day” to commemorate the long standing relationship between these countries. After the service, all adjourned to the church parish hall for fellowship with all of their hosts and guests, where the Sabah SHEP delegates performed the Sumazau and invited the hosts and other guests to join them.
The visit concluded with an eveluation session with the delegates to review their effectiveness in hosting the SHEP 2016. From the information gathered, they will forward their findings and recommendations to the next hosting committee of Sabah SHEP. – Dalius Lobinjang, DOSPO