By the time you read this letter I will have shared with many the tremendous journey that I have been blessed with. My intention is to farewell as many congregations as possible before my successor takes over as our next Bishop and leader.
Saying good-bye is never easy, but considering that this is God’s will not only for me, but also for the Church of the Diocese, the fact that it is conveyed during the most joyous time of the Church Calendar, does little to lend any respite.
I want to thank you – men, women, youth and children of our Diocese – for your prayers, encouragement and gifts of every kind and sizes to me during the last 42 years of my ministry as your Priest and Pastor. Not only have I been inspired and sustained by your love and kindness, but you have given me the courage and strength to take the risk to embark into new areas for mission. I am especially indebted to fellow clergy, lay Leaders and the many friends who ministered to me behind the scene. Had it not been for their friendship and support I would have been crushed by the weight of the responsibility.
I have always known that I am surrounded by a great group of men and women, but i stand amazed at their generosity, integrity and devotion to complete their appointed tasks. Clearly, theirs are lives filled with God’s Spirit. Many a times I was made to wonder if the presence of the heavenly hosts is any different from theirs. Indeed it has been one of the great privileges in my life to have served alongside them. I cannot thank them enough.
Upon reaching my 65th birthday on August 10 next year I shall retire as your Bishop. When I close my eyes, my mind floods with the memories of those past eventful years. I can look at my experience with you and realized that it has been a sustained encounter with God. It was for this reason that I chose the song ‘ You Lift Me Up” as the theme of my installation as the Diocesan Bishop. All glory , honour and praise be to our God who started this work and will finish it without me.
Kuching is a bishop’s ‘ dream’ Diocese. Despite my many shortcomings, you have received the Word preached with joy, received the sacraments with reverence, followed our leadership under God, learned to worship Him in songs and in the Spirit, and walked those extra miles in the service of the Kingdom. You, my friends, have become imitators of God in the truest sense.
When at last it is time to leave the Bishop’s House, a new phase of my journey awaits; but there is peace and joy in my heart because I know that God is going to use me still, and He will continue to use you too. Our journey together with me leading will end, but I am excited to see how God will use you in the future.
Remember to love the people around you and strive for unity within the body; stay close to God and be sensitive to His Spirit; pray daily for your Clergy and leaders and for the man God is preparing right now to become our next Bishop.
Finally, remember my friends that I love you all in Christ, and although my address will change, my friendship remains and my destination is still the same. I, together with fellow retiree will be waiting for you at the Eastern Gate. (Ezek. 44, 1-3).
May the joy of the angels, the eagerness of the shepherds, the obedience of Joseph and Mary and the peace of the Christ child be yours this Christmas.