David MacDonald (1958)
Acts 14: v 27, tells us that, ‘When Paul and Barnabas arrived back in Antioch, they called the church together and told what God had done with them and how he had opened a door of faith for the Gentiles’.
What a joy and a privilege it is to come back for this celebration. After fifty years there is much to tell of how God has ‘opened doors’ for us all. Since leaving Sarawak my ministry has been in preaching, teaching and pastoral care, mostly in the North East of England. Over the years Sarawak has always been in my thoughts and prayers, a reminder that we share in each other’s work for God’s Kingdom throughout the world. – Warmest greetings from Audrey and myself.
Rev Geoffrey R Senior (Jan 1959-July 1962)
To attend your Golden Jubilee Celebration was a highlight in my ministry,
and your loving welcome and caring hospitality gave expression to that
generosity of spirit which is the hallmark of those who live close to Jesus
Christ. We count it a great privilege to have been a part of the history of
Wesley Church, and we wish to thank you for making us feel so much at home
May God continue to richly bless you in His Service.
Geoffrey and Amy Senior.
Rev.James R Hipkins (1966-1967)
“Fifty years certainly passes quickly. I remember the
first 5-10 fellows who joined Neil in the effort to
start a Boy’s Brigade. Their club house was directly
behind ours. I used to wonder if there would ever be
music rather than the noise I heard each day. God has
blessed your fellowship. Miracles have occurred and
people’s lives have been changed. A host of people pass
before my mind as I try to recall those wonderful
moments when lives were touched in a special way.
Rev Chris Tomlinson (1967-68)
Using a paraphrase of St Paul’s greetings in his letters can we say… “To all the saints in Christ Jesus at Wesley Methodist Church, Sibu, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ… Grace and peace to you from God our Father and his Son our Saviour Jesus Christ.”
What an amazing time we had… and what a wonderful homecoming after an absence of 40 years! Where do we start and how can we find the words to thank you all for such an expression of Christian love, faith and hope? Along with all the other returning missionaries, and their spouses, we were overcome by the generosity and warmth of everyone during the Wesley Methodist Church Golden Jubilee Celebrations. Forty years is a long period of time to try and span.
In the Old Testament book of Joel there are some interesting words in Chapter 2, Verse 28… and I am selecting two lines in particular.
- “Your young men will see visions” Forty years ago we were young men and women, enthusiastic, energetic and driven by visions of what might be accomplished with God. We planted seeds, we preached the Gospel, we worked along side you and tried to be faithful to God’s purpose for us and the vision he gave us. When the time came it was hard to leave.
2. “Your old men will dream dreams” Forty years on we are older men and women and none of us could have envisaged ‘in our wildest dreams’ just how mightily God has worked amongst you. I once saw a coach-load of ‘senior citizens’ on a day out and they had a slogan in the back window of the coach that read…’Recycled Youth Club’. It seemed to me a fitting phrase to describe the returning missionaries as we came amongst you once again… we behaved at times like a recycled youth club! You made it possible for us to experience something very wonderful with you; we treasured the fellowship of all believers, the sense of belonging within God’s family on earth and in heaven. There was so much thanksgiving and such a powerful sense of being close to one another and within the embrace of God’s love. It has been uplifting for us to be back in such a lively, spiritual environment for a few days and we thank God for the way He has worked amongst you, and alongside you, in the development of His work. Since Janet and I both worked with the young people, Janet at the Methodist Secondary School and I with the Youth Centre and Boys’ Brigade, it was good to see the large number of boys and girls, young men and women, involved in the life of the Church. It has been ‘the stuff that dreams are made of’… and very, very moving… to the point of tears.
We want to thank you all from the bottom of our hearts for all the hard work and planning that made the 50th Anniversary Celebrations such a success. We enjoyed the various activities, the hospitality and many wonderful meals, our comfortable hotel accommodation, the efficient transport arrangements, the warmth of fellowship and worship that brought us together as God’s family in a very special way.
The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his
face to shine upon you and be gracious unto you; the
Lord lift up the light of his countenance upon you, and
give you peace. Amen
Rev. James M. Brinks (Oct 1969—July 1972)
“It is a great joy to be returning for this wonderful & very significant event in the life of Wesley Church!
Through the years we have read & heard enthusiastic reports of Wesley Church’s continuing progress in proclaiming the Good News of our Lord, and how His love for all continues to transform many lives in Sarawak. What a holy pleasure that has given us!
In addition, we’ve heard that several young people from Wesley have followed God’s leadership and are proclaiming the Gospel in many places around the world. What an outstanding testimony that is about the power of God working through the influence of your faithful ministry.
I’ve always thought that the Boys Brigade & Girls Brigade were critically important parts of Wesley’s ministry. It thrilled me to see them as a marching band parading through Sibu’s streets, this being one more way to advertise Wesley’s ministry. And the opportunity I had to lead their Bible Study was something I will never forget!
Who knows what the NEXT 50 years will have in store for Wesley Church’s ministry? What we DO know is that God is planning great things for you!
May God continue to bless you with His power & love!”
Rev.Lionel PA Muthiah (1973-1976)
When we arrived in 1972 as United Methodist missionaries assigned to Wesley Church, Sibu, we were very impressed with the youthfulness of the congregation with a sprinkling of older folk. Many were in the Boys Brigade, Girls Brigade and the MYF. The Boys Brigade was well known in the community because of the Band!
Soon I also found out that I was the Chaplain for both! This was an honor that I did not expect. Many of the youngsters in BB and GB, as they were commonly known, became Christians. God surely was present and guiding these young lives. The Officers were also committed Christians who must have also influenced these young people.
Marion conducted the Choir and they sang weekly. It is humbling to know that Lenita Tiong felt her call to be a Christian who later became a missionary to Cambodia during our time with Wesley.
“A church exists by Mission, even as fire exists by burning” said a theologian. Wesley has been in mission for many years and continues to be in mission as it reaches out not only to those who are part of the worshipping community but also to the Ibans as well.
May you continue to be a faithful witness even as you sense God’s call to be in mission locally and globally.
“As an ecumenist I decided that it was important to have a Sibu Christian Council. I invited lay representation from the various denominations to a meeting. The consensus was that it was a good idea to have a Sibu Christian Council but that the clergy should get together first. I then said that perhaps both the clergy and lay should come together. This was what we did at the next meeting—clergy and lay. We felt that the purpose of the
Council would be to have combined activities and celebrations during the year so that we would make a common witness to non-Christians. Since we were meeting close to Christmas, I suggested that we have a Christmas parade and invite all churches to participate with floats, bands, lanterns and candles. We sang carols as we walked down the street. This was well received and we had our first Christmas parade in 1974 (or was it 75?). We started from what was then the new Masland Church. I am glad to know that this is still going on after 34 years! I was also told that other towns in Sarawak are holding similar parades at Christmas time.
Another organization that I had a part in developing is the YMCA. I had been a student member of the YMCA and later a Director. A few young men including Simon Tiong, came and asked if I would be an Advisor to them. I agreed and we met several times before electing Officers. That was about 1975. Today there is not only an active YMCA in town but also a “Resort” with facilities for retreats, conferences and lodging. All this is due to the efforts of those who have served as Directors over the years. I was privileged to have been an Advisor in its formative stages.
Marion was involved with the Family Planning Association and worked with Mrs. (Dr) Jane Wong.”
Rev Dr Tie King Tai
Former Pastor-in-Charge 1989-1993
Former Attached Pastor 2005-2007
Past, Present, Future…Meanwhile…
In the Past, Wesley served the missionaries who had come from overseas.
In the Present, Wesley is serving the locals—Chinese, Ibans, Indians, special people, cancer patients, maids, national service youths, etc.
In the Future, Wesley will serve the missions fields locally and globally.
Meanwhile, “make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.” (Ephesians 4:3)
Rev Dr Lau Hui Ming (1997 – 2003)
“Those days at Wesley Methodist Church will remain as some of the most memorable and precious times in my life and for my family.
I may not be very sure of how my time at Wesley Methodist Church had blessed the Wesleyan Community, but I am certain that it has been a blessing to both my life and family.
In my limitations, God taught me to be dependent on His grace. I learnt how to let go, surrender to His sovereignty, and become His instrument. To this day, my time at Wesley Methodist Church continues to remind me to be appreciative of God’s leading.”