THE PARISH OF ST. THOMAS, BINTULU

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bintulu has been described as one of the fastest growing towns in Malaysia. Thirty years ago, it was a small fishing village famous for its prawn and fish products. With the discovery of natural gas and the opening of LNG plant and oil refinery, the town started booming as people from all over Malaysia and other parts of the world flock to it. Now many other related industries and housing estates to cater for the growing population have mushroomed at the outskirts of the town.

 

St. Thomas’s Parish, like the town itself is a growing parish. Back in the sixties it used to be an outstation of St. Columba’s Parish in Miri and visited only once a month. Priests who have served in Bintulu include the late Bishop Peter Howes, Fr. David Evans, Fr. Ambrose Dunggat, Fr. Edmund Paleng and Bishop Bolly Lapok. At present the parish is being looked after by Fr. James Juhari and Fr. John Bujang.

 

The Anglican Church in Bintulu experienced a significant growth from the late 1980s, which led to the construction of a new church building in 1995. Our average Sunday attendance now is about 500 with an average number of 390 communicants. Most of the members are between the ages of 15 and 50. Services are conducted in three languages: English, Iban and Bahasa Malaysia. The Sunday worship is traditional but the music and songs are both traditional (with organ) and contemporary (with electric guitars and drums). The monthly BM Service is in the form of contemporary praise and worship with Holy Communion.

 

The organisations in the Parish:-

1. PCC Members

2. Bible Study Group

3. Healing and Caring Ministry Group

4. Women’s Fellowship

5. Parish Youth Fellowship

6. Sunday Schools

 

One of our main concerns as a church at the moment is the negative thing that progress and development bring to the people in Bintulu: e.g. increased family crisis, stresses at work, and alcoholism that are already affecting  some of our members. Our other concern is Anglican families who come from long houses to live and work in scattered places (e.g. timber-camps and plantations) where there are no Anglican chapels nearby. Some of the outstation centres are also shrinking because many people are migrating to urban areas in search of work.

 

The church also wants to be involved in the care of others outside the parish. We have set up a Relief Fund out of which we give small donations to needy cases. We feel that God has blessed this town abundantly with natural resources that made Bintulu what it is now. We are blessed with good and generous people. We want to make this church an avenue whereby God can bless more people in and outside Bintulu.