On August 10th 1997 the Bishop of Kuching, the Rt Revd Made Katib, laid the foundation stone for St Basil's Church. Progress on the one acre site next to the Garland School in Batu Kawa has been slow, but it is hoped that the new building will be ready for use before Christmas 2001.
When the new church is open it will revolutionise life for the Anglican congregation in Batu Kawa. Shortage of space means that many worshippers have to endure the heat of the tropical sun during services, or, if it is raining, squeeze into tightly packed classrooms in the school.
"Under such circumstances," writes the Revd Dennis Gimang, a staff member of St Thomas's Cathedral in Kuching, "the congregation, especially the newly baptised or confirmed members, can be easily discouraged from coming to worship when it rains on a Sunday."
Batu means 'rock', and the Biblical significance of this is not lost on the members of St Basil's as they work together to ensure their vision of a new church becomes a reality. The cost to complete the building will be about RM800,000, which will provide the main church area for about 300 worshippers, together with a parish hall. Some RM200,000 has been raised to date, with the same amount again required to meet the initial construction phase.
"It is both timely and expedient that the Anglicans at Batu Kawa should have a church of their own," says the Revd Dennis Gimang, "not only to serve as a symbol of the Christian presence, but also a centre for corporate worship and spiritual development of the Christian people in the area."
The building committee have organised a number of activities to raise funds for the construction work, but the difficult economic situation has left the congregation with an uphill task.
"It is hoped that we would also receive some financial support from those inside and outside Malaysia," the Revd Dennis Gimang says. "We would certainly be very grateful to anyone who would like to help towards this worthy cause for the expansion of God's Kingdom in this land of the Hornbill, Sarawak. Please, remember us in your prayers."
Item from: Borneo Chronicle