January 26, 2010

Renovated Ching Ang Church as Local Museum

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.

Japanese Occupation
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.


Ann said...

What about the church next to out Primary School?

Was quite frightening to me, we had chapel there, what was more frightening was the old man ring the bell and there were always funerals.

I was then worshiping with my parents at the White Roman Catholic Church, and the Methodist church at Island road was old dark and creepy to me.

What about the ladies guild who had a fun fare once a year. They had "fishing" and wonderful homemade ( I think) icecream. CY, you brought up these memories that had been hidden in the abyss of my mind.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

the church next to our Primary School is now a huge and modern church. You can surf for it...Methodist Masland Church Sibu.

Definitely no longer dark and creepy...

Yes Food Fair is still a very important part of the Methodist Women's Fellowship (guild)...I remember always looking forward to the pah loh duck eggs and the baos.....I am now wondering who made the ice cream!!

I made satay once for the Wesley Church together with Mrs. Rev Jerry Rabbu and earned quite a bit for the building funds.

How nice to raise funds in this way.

God bless.

Ann said...

when I was in Pri school, next door was this big Methodist house, lived an Ang Mo man with a snmall Asian woman. They adopted two girls, the older is Evelyn and she acted in the My Fair lady with Tow Sing in 1972 or 1973.

When I went to that house in Primary school, Wa!!!!! the first time in my life I saw full length drapes. I was thinking, even missionaries lived in a mansion.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Dear Ann

Evelyn Baughman is now in Florida. Were you in the same class?

Teh Lee Gek met up with her recently and I would soon be having some photos....

The Baughmans were wonderful people.

The Hoover House was a mansion...my dream house actually with a piano and a nice dining table. I had a dream......wow!!

Ann said...

Hi CY,

I am a year ahead of your youngest sis . Evelyn was a year Chang Yin's junior.

Can't connect the name Teh Lee Gek.

What were the Baughmans doing in Sibu?

Is that Hoover house still there?

In Pri school, there was this quite tall unmarried American woman ( Forgot her name, Constance??????) She was supervisor of school. Once I had a deep cut to my thumb, I was sent to her office, and she poured iodine, and OH!!!!! so painful.

Sarawakiana@2 said...

Lee Gek is Dr. Teh 's(the dentist)eldest daughter. She went to St. Elisabeth actually.

The Baughmans were missionaries first in Kapit and then later in Sibu.

The Hoover House has been remodelled and reconstructed.

Miss Annette Constantine passed away a few years ago. I still have a photo of hers. She was very pleasant and she corresponded with me for a few years when I was at the University and later we just lost contact. She probably moved away and then she stopped writing because she was really really old. But through the grapevine I heard news of people visiting her. I never made a trip to the US .


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