In 1901 the first batch of Foochows arrived in Sibu under the guidance of Wong Nai Siong and accompanied by Bishop Warne. Most of the pioneers were from the Ming Ching area of Fuzhou and they were mainly settled in Sg. Merah. When the second batch of pioneers arrived it was decided that the Kutiens should be given the Ensurai area. Later these Kutien pioneers parcelled out the land and called the villages Siong Poh (Upper Area) and Ah Poh (Lower Area) and a remarkable place was called Or Dieh(or within the river. Some people would recognise it in terms of Hanoi as I did before). Thus was born the area in Sibu famous for people with money and style. Indeed a kind of Rich and Famous area.
But more importantly the people were God fearing and orderly. Led by Ting Hing Chung the area prospered and built a church and two school . Sg. Sadit or Or Dieh became well known as a prosperous settlement with hardworking Kutiens. Ting Ing Mieng and Senator Ting Ming Hoi (to name two) were all born here.
Recently their Ching Ang Church (circa 1924) was partially damaged by fire. Within months the community leaders and congregation began reconstruction and renovation. Soon it will be completed and become a community based local museum.
This is the facade of the wooden church. There are three doors and three bell towers following the original design (Rev. Hoover). The highest bell tower has three small towers. the best tropical wood has been used .
One of the pastors reading the special 1926 Bible (published in China)
This is an orginal photo of Rev and Mrs. James Hoover saved from the fire.
Iban construction workers have taken over Foochow labourers - a remarkable change James Hoover would be happy about.
Yong Chong Chung - former Methodist School student now a leading community elder
Belian wood tiles and wooden windows in blue (original colour)
Meng Lei sharing with the others.
One of the three Church doors.
This church will be a museum and a gathering place for future church activities.
A brief history of Ching Ang Tong (Church of True Peace)
Struggles at the beginning
From 1903 to 1905 the small Methodist congregation at Sg. Sadit worshipped in the homes of members. At the end of 1906 Ting Sieng Ong and his friends Ting Tieng Soon and Tang nguong Chie proposed to build an attap roofed church . However the following year Rev Wong King Huo and the other settlement leaders with about 10 families agreed to build a church called Hock Ang Tong.
Like all other pioneering settlements the beginnings were often a little chaotic due to economic upheaval and furthermore faced with downward spiraling of rubber prices the small congregation of Sg. Sadit worshipped in the Kwong Hwa Assembly Hall. It was in 1941 that the actual wooden church called Ching Ang Tong was constructed. But then the Japanese Occupation stopped all Christian worship until the end of the Japanese Period in 1946.
Interesting and remarkable artifacts
1. 1934 - Three wooden tablets carved on belian and then mounted on a second piece of belian. No termite could eat away these carved words. These three tablets are hanged at the front of the new church. The artist was from Sg. Merah and it did not take him long to carve the words of the Lord’s Prayer; the Apostle’s Creed and the Ten Commandments. This could be the only ones found in the world.
2. 1946 – Special candle stand with seven candlesticks (“…and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches...” Revelations ) presented to the church by Rev. Ling
3. 1950’s – the specially carved wooden altar was presented by the church elder Madam Ting Tiing Sing and the specially carved pastor’s church was present by Yong Su Tuong.
4. 1947 Ting Hing Choon commissioned local artist Lau Mang to paint Jesus in Gathesame on the reverse on glass. This huge glass painting still hangs above the door of the church.
5. 1960 – Two special rice jars made in Sibu were bought by Rev Ling Ung Lik for parsonage use.
The opening ceremony will be on 28th Feb 2010.