He was the first Bishop of Kuching, after the Diocese of Borneo had been divided to cater for the East Malaysian states of Sarawak and Sabah…”
Nicholas Allenby was trained at the Sacred Mission Theological College at Kelham, and became a monk of the Society in 1933. After a career in pastoral and teaching work, he was sent to Adelaide in 1957 as a Provincial. In 1962, the Rt. Rev. Nicholas Allenby was called to Kuching, where he was enthroned on the 13th January 1963. He was the first Bishop of Kuching, after the Diocese of Borneo had been divided to cater for the East Malaysian States of Sarawak and Sabah (North Borneo). It was a period of political development, not without danger; the first three years of Allenby’s episcopate were marked by threat of military aggression from a neighbouring country. The Rt. Rev. Allenby first mooted the possibility of a Province of South East Asia in 1963. He was energetic in promoting the setting of a Ministry Fund to make the Church entirely self-supporting. Among the achievements of his episcopate were the establishment of the first church at Bunuk, the appointment of the Rev. Michael Lim as the first Sarawakian Dean of St. Thomas Cathedral, and of the Rev. (later Bishop) Basil Temenggong as Archdeacon. In 1967 the new parish of St. Faith’s was set up to serve the urban spread of Kuching. In 1968 the then redundant Boarding House of St. Mary’s was converted into a Diocesan Centre and Guest House. After his retirement from Sarawak in 1968, Allenby served as Bishop of Worcester for 16 years. He spent his old age in the hospice in Willen, Milton Keynes, under the care of his Kelham brothers.
BASIL TEMENGGONG (1968 – 1984)
“Basil Temenggong was the first Sarawakian and the first Iban to be made Bishop in the Anglican Church.”
Born on 11 October 1918 at Pasa, an Iban longhouse about a mile down river from Betong, Basil Temenggong was fortunate to be able to obtain an early education in the mission school of St. Augustine’s in Betong. He excelled in his academic performance and gained most of the prizes, including the coveted Scripture prize. Even at his young age, he already showed a liking for the things of God – busying himself attending to the chores of the Church. His classmates dubbed him as the ‘small priest’.
After completing standard 6, the highest available education in Betong in those days, Basil continued his education at St. Thomas’ School in Kuching. He completed the Junior Cambridge, the highest academic qualification available in the town. He returned to teach in Betong, and shortly after this he came to realise his true vocation. He responded favourably to God’s call and offered himself for the Sacred Ministry.
Thus in 1939, Basil was sent to Calcutta for his theological training at Bishop’s College, a college where a number of expatriate priests had been trained before. On 16 November 1941, he was ordained deacon by Bishop Tarafdar in Calcutta and was licensed to serve as Assistant Chaplain in St. Thomas’ Cathedral, Calcutta. On 11 April 1943, he was ordained to the priesthood by the Bishop of Calcutta. He was then posted to Asansol, and because of the wartime condition, very often he found himself ministering to allied soldiers massing at the border, waiting for a final push against the Japanese.
On his return from India in 1946, Basil was posted to Betong to look after the parish. He later became headmaster of his former school. St. Augustine’s while at the same time continuing to assist in the pastoral ministry of the Church. Basil was transferred to Kuching in 1954.
In 1954, Basil was sent to England where he did post-Ordination course at St. Augustine’s college, Canterbury. He also spent time with the Community of the Resurrection at Mirfield, and also at the Parish of all Saints in London. On his return from England, Basil was posted to Saratok to look after that large rural parish. Being a tireless traveller, he visited all corners of the parish and even opened areas like Plassu in the Nyabor. He was made Canon in 1960, and Archdeacon in 1962. He was priest in charge of St. Luke’s from 1965 to 1968.
When Nicholas Allenby resigned on 31 October 1968, Basil Temenggong was the unanimous choice to replace him. So on 6 December 1968, Basil Temenggong was consecrated bishop, and two days later was enthroned at the Cathedral as the tenth Bishop of the Diocese of Kuching.
During his tenure of office, he served as the Chairman of Churches of East Asia from 1979 to 1983. He was an active participant and a great advocate of the Partners-in-Mission. He was a staunch supporter of the Council of Churches of Malaysia, and served as one of its vice-presidents from 1981 to 1982. In 1983, he was protem Chairman of the then proposed Association of Churches in Sarawak, and as its Chairman after its registration in August 1984.
He was conferred the Panglima Negara Bintang Sarawak (PNBS), which carries the title ‘Datuk’, by the Governor of Sarawak in recognition of his service not only to the Church but to the country as well.
Bishop Basil served at a time when the Church in Borneo was trying to stand on her own feet and to develop a truly Asian ministry brought by the political changes accompanying Independence within Malaysia. His foresight, able leadership and quiet diplomacy steered the Church safely through this difficult transitory period. He was always a dedicated worker for Christ, and despite his heart’s condition, he laboured tirelessly in discharging his Episcopal duties. It was in the midst of performing a confirmation service at Simunjan on 22 September 1983, that his poor heart beat for the last time. His death was instantaneous.
Basil Temenggong was the first Sarawakian and the first Iban to be made Bishop in the Anglican Church, and his 16 years in the episcopacy was the longest so far in the Diocese. He was also the first bishop of the Diocese to die in office.
JOHN LEONG CHEE YUN (1985 – 1995)
Bishop John Leong was consecrated on 17.5.85 and enthroned on 19.5.85 at St Thomas’ Cathedral, Kuching.
His interest in the Christian faith prompted him to serve as Lay Reader in the Seria/Kuala Belait parish from 1950 to 1959 and in Miri/Lutong from 1960 to 1974. He was made Sub-deacon in October 1974 and Deacon on 9.3.75. After he was priested on 14 December 1975 he served as a non-stipendiary priest at St Columba’s Church, Miri, and became its Vicar in April 1984. He was also a founder member of St Margaret’s School in Seria, Chairman of the School Board of St. Columba’s Primary and Secondary Schools.
During his episcopacy of 10 years ad 3 months, as the Bishop of Kuching, embracing Sarawak and Brunei Darussalem, Bishop John Leong, exerted his level best to:-
(a) increase the strength of serving clergy (priests and deacons) from the original number of 29 to 75;
(b) admit and confirm approximately 4,500 new members of the Church per annum to reach the total number of 45,000 in 10 years;
(c) improve and stabilize the financial position of the Diocese in reserve funds;
(d) constantly construct/build new Church/Chapel buildings and auxiliary facilities and replace wooden structures with concrete ones where feasible; and
(e) concentrate on theological training and spiritual development of the cleric and people and maintain close and friendly relationship with the State Government for continuous development/ cooperation/ on for for further progress and growth of the Diocese and the Church.
Bishop John Leong retired on 15.8.1995
MADE KATIB (1996 – ….)
Made was born at Senah Negeri (Annah Rais) on 23rd January 1942, the only son of Katib ak nanja and Nyang ak Janggok. In 1950, he was enrolled in the Mission school opened by Ahtos Joshua at Annah Rais. Later, the school moved to Padawan in 1953. In January 1954, he was enrolled at St. Thomas’ School and admitted to Primary 5A. He went on to St. Thomas’ Secondary School, where he completed his Higher School Certificate (A-level) in 1962.
In September 1963, he entered Leeds University in England, under S.P.G. scholarship, where he read History and English, graduating in July, 1966. He had his Theological training at Mirfield Theological College, from September 1966 till July 1968. He also sat for the General Ordination Examination (GOE) in 1968.
He returned to the Diocese in August 1968, and was made deacon on 22 September 1968 by Bishop Allenby at the Cathedral. He was ordained priest by Bishop Basil Temenggong on 17 August 1969. He served as an assistant priest at the Cathedral until December 1970. He then served as a lecturer and chaplain at the House of the Epiphany in 1971 and 1972, following the re-opening of the College.
On December 1972, he was transferred to Betong and served as an assistant priest to Fr. Gawili. He then took over as priest in charge of Betong, following Gawili’s departure in August 1973, He remained in Betong until 31 July 1981, when he was transferred back to the Cathedral. He was installed as Dean on 9 August 1981.
He was consecrated as the Assistant Bishop on 23 February 1992 at the Cathedral, and was subsequently posted back to Betong to act as Vicar of the parish. He was enthroned as the 12th Bishop of the Diocese of Kuching on 30 November 1995, following the retirement of Bishop John Leong earlier in July. In February 1966, the Diocese of Kuching became a part of the Province of South East Asia, with the neighbouring Diocese of Sabah, West Malaysia, and Singapore. At the present, Bishop Made is kept extremely busy in exercising the sole episcopal oversight over the large Diocese of Kuching, comprising Sarawak and the nation of Brunei.
He was awarded the Pegawai Bintang Sarawak (PBS) in 1991 and the Pingat Terpuji Jubli Perak (JBT) in 1988. He is married to Matilda Ng, and they have one daughter, Elvina Mary.