Back in early December 2022, His Grace, Archbishop Ian Ernest who is the current Director of the Anglican Centre in Rome had graciously accepted our Lord Bishop’s Datuk Danald Jute’s invitation to come and visit the Diocese of Kuching.
The visit was about 6 days beginning from 3rd December to 8th December. Soon as His Grace arrived here in Kuching on 3rd December (Saturday), both him & Bishop Datuk Danald took a flight to Miri for his first activity, he had a brief meet up with the clergies who are serving in Miri & in the evening he had the opportunity to join in the fun & enjoy the annual Miri Christmas Parade.
4th December, the congregation of St. Thomas’ Cathedral, Kuching had the pleasure of listening to sermon given by the Archbishop. Then in the afternoon, accompanied by Bishop Datuk Danald and a few other Diocesan personnel, the group travelled to a long house in Po Ai, Melugu. There, they received such a warm welcome from the longhouse community. Delicious local dishes (traditional dish) were served and a pair of lovely girls performed a cultural dance accompanied by Iban traditional music played by the elders.
05 December 2022, His Grace spent the afternoon with clergies from various archdeaconries in our diocese at St. Thomas’ Church Cathedral (McDougall Hall). He shared mission and vision of the Anglican Centre in Rome. He said, “I share with you my vision about the Anglican Centre’s mission, is to show you how the Anglican Centre is here to encourage and support you in building ecumenical relations, especially with our Roman Catholic brothers and sisters, so that we can be together witnesses of Christ’s reconciling power.” A quick session of question and answer was also conducted by the Archbishop.
06 December 2022, Archbishop Ian Ernest made a parish visit to St. James’ Church, Quop where congregation are made up of the Bidayuh community. His Grace was brought by the church committee to walk inside the original old church building that was consecrated 158 years ago, it is well known to be one of the oldest church in Sarawak. The church committee shared the history of the church.
07 December 2022, the day started with a relaxed activity, a visit to the Sarawak Cultural Village (SCV) to see the houses belonging to the various ethnic group in Sarawak. Eg. Iban (Sea Dayak), Bidayuh (Land Dayak), Melanau, Orang Ulu, Penan, Malay, Chinese etc. Cultural performances was truly enjoyable and brilliant.
After the SCV visit, the next agenda of the day was an interview session with a journalist from Borneo Post, the news article from the interview was to be published the following Sunday. Right after the interview session, in the evening, His Grace was invited for a dinner in his honour hosted by Assistant Bishop, Bishop Nelson Ugas. Also in attendance were former Diocesan Bishop, Bishop Datuk Bolly Lapok & Diocesan Standing Committee.
08 December 2022, on this final day of His Grace’s tour, he was brought to visit on of our mission schools in Kuching, St. Alban’s Primary School, Sungai Tapang. Listening to the history of the school and had the opportunity mingling with the school board, students, Women’s Fellowship from the chapel there, Revd. Kelvin Jawa etc. His Grace also had the opportunity to quickly visit the chapel there which was located right next to the school.
That afternoon before he leaves for the airport returning back to Rome, Archbishop Ian Ernest went to the Diocesan Office for a quick meet up with Bishop Datuk Danald who was at that time under home quarantine due to Covid-19. That was a ‘unique’ meet up for sure!