Brass bands are important in a parade. They provide the sounds and glamour and inspire the bystanders. Several brass bands have been formed in Miri and they provide good music. If only they have a chance to play more often for the public. The Methodist Church of Miri provided the Boys' and Girls' Brigade Brass Band for the procession.
Before the procession started the various groups of Christians gathered at the City Fan to prepare themselves and to join together for a very spirited thanksgiving service. It was a wonderful sight to see the whole amphitheatre filling up with colourfully dressed people and young people wearing santa claus inspired costumes. The most obvious was the Santa Claus cap on the heads of thousands. But it was the brilliant smiles on the faces which lit up the arena.
Here two great members of the GMC : Lay Pek and Francis helping to add the final touches...High tech is necessary.
Dr. Lau Mee (KTS) carrying a Torch for the procession!
Iban children from the Tudan Preaching Centre getting ready for the evening service and then later the City Parade.
Below is Pastor Chan the youthful Shepherd of the Tudan Preaching Centre
The Riam Methodist Church group with their Pastor.
The great smiles of Christian youths (on right Simon Su) who have joy in their heart.
"Joy to the World the Lord has come....."
My cousin Lau Kiing Meu originally from Ah Nang Chong (Sg. Maaw)
"Oh Come All Ye Faithful...joyful and triumphant...."
Bible and Cross lantern to be carried later in the parade.
This is the Sign Language Team - Mr. and Mrs. Victor Hii and their children. This sign of Love is for You .
There is a sign language ministry in the Grace Methodist Church . Happy Birthday to the oldest boy too. It was his birthday and they celebrated it by taking part in the parade!!
The Grace Methodist Church led by the District Lay Leader Ting Kong Yu and Pastor Law Hui Seng took to the roads of Miri to spread the joy of the Birth of the New King. They joined more than 5000 Mirians who are Christians in the Christmas parade. The young and the old and especially the teenagers came out in full force . The procession around the town ended at about 8.30 with impressive children making a great impact on the by standers.
Pastor Law waiting for the service to start. Methodist pastors wear a "red" uniform when they take part in public functions. They sometimes wear this red uniform with a black robe when they preach also. (Photo : Courtesy of James Wong)
The evening started at 5.30 p.m. with a public service with Praise and Worship and a message for Christmas. Presentations were also made by the Methodist Children's Home and Hope Centre. The Combined Choir made a deep impression on those who were gathered for the public service. Dressed in flowing white dresses with a red sash the ladies were remarkable to look at. But their strong and well trained voices were even better. Christmas carols had not rang out clearer.
The Mayor of Miri and VIPS and the opening ceremony of the function.
At 6.30 the VIPs arrived with the city Mayor Lawrence Lai who officiated the parade. The national flag was raised by the Methodist Boys' Brigade followed a speech from the combined parade's organising chairperson from the Anglican Church. At the end of the official opening the Mayor announced the MMC's donation of RM5000 to the Kidney Dialysis Centre and his own equivalent donation to the KDC. The offering collected from the whole congregation that evening amounted to RM11000 which was donated to the PDK and Methodist Children's Home of Miri. God's spirit was really moving the people !
At 7.00 p.m. the St. Columba Brass Band led out the parade from City Fan. The parade marched through Jalan Sylvia, Jalan Brooke, Jalan Kingsway, Jalan Cina, Jalan Bendahara, Jalan North Yu Seng , Jalan South Yu Seng , Jalan Merpati and finally back to City Fan again.Marching bands from the various schools and churches helped to make the parade very exciting. Like welcoming the heroes back from war the marching bands helped to lift up the spirits of the public to welcome the birth of the Prince of Peace and Son of God. Hallelujah sang the angelic participants. The trumpets and the drums sounded the great news!Children jumped and danced and some of the youngest were in their baby trolleys pushed by their happy parents who wished to bring the Great News to the city.
Most churches distributed handouts to the by- standers. Some even took a delight in shaking hands with them.
One most touching scene was two little girls came out of the procession to give a Traffic Policeman a little pamphlet. The procession was well controlled with the help of Traffic Policemen. Furthermore the Miri Red Crescent Ambulance was on hand to help in case of any emergency. Miri City has good and kind government personnel who ensure the safety and security of its city folks whenever there is a celebration like this. How wonderful it is to see them being so helpful and caring.
And it was a good Saturday night turn out with so many people lining up the streets and waiting for them to pass by. Each group had their own technology to help with the singing of carols and proclaiming the love of God and promising Peace and Eternal Life.
Malaysia is a beautiful country with such a harmonious combination of religions and cultures. The parade was colourful with many Christians turning out in their costumes and great looking headgears which their ancestors have won for generations! Truly a display of lMalaysia (attributed to Prime Minister Najib)
The Christmas parade ended with a performance from the Operafest Children's choir from Kuala Lumpur and several dances depicting the culture of Miri in particular and Sarawak in general.
A tourist said "I have never seen anything like this before - so many different races and so many lovely and small children looking happy and excited! This city is wonderful!"
It was an evening worth coming out for! I went home with the lyrics of the carols ringing in my ears...
"Peace on Earth"
"Goodwill to mankind."
This is the Nativity Scene brought to us in a carriage by the Melanau Prayer Group of Miri. Two cute boys posed for me and wished me Selamat Hari Krismas!
"And God so loved the world that he gave his only Begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will have eternal life."
"The Virgin will give birth to a son ....They will call him Immanuel which means, 'God with us'." (Matthew 1:22)