C. SIBU

Sibu1aSibu1The earliest visit to Rajang area by an Anglican priest took place in 1869, when Crossland visited the forts at Sibu and Ngemah, and baptised Anglican children. In 1901, Archdeacon Sharp visited Sibu and ministered to the newly-arrived Foochow settlers, who had been converted in China through the missions of the S.P.G. and the C.M.S. However, when Sharp wanted to expand Anglican work in the Rajang, the Rajah told him to confine Anglican activities to First and Second Divisions, and to leave the Rajang to the Methodists and the Roman Catholics. In 1911, Bishop Mounsey visited the Anglican Foochows in Sibu, who by this time had a catechist (supported by C.M.S. from England) looking after them. Mounsey was also warned by the Rajah against expanding into the Rajang. Anglican’s attempt to expand into the Rajang was again vetoed by the Rajah in 1915.

By 1928, the number of Anglicans working in Sibu had increased (though still small), and quarterly visits were made by priests from Kuching. Services were held at the court-house. By 1938, there were about 80 Anglicans in Sibu. Visits continued to be made from Kuching. A priest would arrive at Sarikei by a steamer from Kuching. A Government officer, Syau Ah Koon, would then hire a motor launch at his own expense to take the priest to Binatang and then to Sibu to celebrate communion. In 1940 the Methodists allowed the Anglicans to use their church for services, as the court-house proved too small.

In 1954 a new site was obtained at Queensway for the building of a church. By 1958, there were over 200 Anglicans in Sibu (mainly Government servants), and they were looked after by a lay reader, Ignatius Angking. For worship purposes, the congregation used the Methodist Theological School. There were Anglicans in Sarikei, Binatang, Kanowit, Song and kapit. In Sarikei, the congregation used the Methodist Church. The new St. John’s Church in Sibu was dedicated on 31 July 1962.