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Gereja St John - Long Miri 2018

GEREJA ST JOHN, LONG MIRI
diberkati oleh
Rt Rev Richard Ng
Bishop of Diocese of Miri
28Dec 2017


Photography : Alvin Wong
Story by: Gillian Long Anyi


HISTORY OF ST. JOHN ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH  in Long Miri

In the year of 1951 until 1963, there were still some families practicing the 'Old Kayan Religion' and later on the 'Adat Bungan'. In 1964, the first person that accepted Christianity as Roman Catholic was the late Lake' Akem Lah Anyie (from an 'aristocrat family' who was also known as Taman Ding Lah). The priest that is responsible for the first mission work in Long Miri and the Baram Tengah area during that time was Fr. Bergman.

When the first Kayan Teacher, Encik Wan Laeng (born in Long Miri), who was then transferred to Long Miri in 1971, he started gathering a few families for Sunday Mass. He was the first Church Committee Chairman cum Church Prayer Leader. They performed the mass at Lake' Akem Lah's house.

In 1973, they moved the mass to the late Pidoh Lahung Lah (Uyung Julan)'s house until 1974. The average congregation is about 30 plus people. After that, they just performed the mass at a verandah ('Hawang Uma'). There were 40 households that converted to Christianity under Roman Catholic Church.

Construction of the first RC Church started  in 1980. It was completed after 2 years in 1982. The church was built by its own congregation, where they sourced the materials such as wood, sand and stones from the forest and river. Construction of the priest's accommodation was later done in 1983 until 1988.

The priests that have served or covered St. John Church, amongst others were Fr. Jacob, Fr. Geodore, Fr. Anthony Wan, Fr. Ding, Fr. Phillip Impaler, Fr. Francis, Fr. Phillips Chua and Fr. Andy.

Prior to 2004, Encik Wan Laing and, the then Church Committee Chairman, Encik Dominic Anyi Emang, had a vision to build a bigger Church. It was agreed to have an Octagon shape building, inspired by St. Anthony Church Bintulu.

The ground leveling work for the new church started in 2004, where the area of the altar was a little hill. This work was performed through 'gotong-royong' by average of 40 to 50 congregation members and it continued until 2006. After Encik Dominic Anyi met an architect, Encik Lutep, in Long Laput in the same year for a scaled drawings, the construction of the main building started. In 2007, the leadership of the Church Committee Chairman was taken over by Encik Laing Jau. It was inline with his talent as he is a skilled carpenter and house building contractor.

At the end of 2007, construction work started for the church building. The work was progressing concurrently by many contractors thereafter, as well as through the sweat and blood of its congregation. But its progress was slow due to lack of fund. Though some portion of the fund was acquired by the congregation through church's palm oil little plantation of 2 acres land, which is part of the church compound. They also sourced sands and pebbles from the river bed for the church's pew and exterior cement flooring.

The building was eventually completed of its basic frame, walls and all concrete works in 2012. Only in 2017, installation of electrical wiring and its equipment, window panes, tiling works, exterior concrete works and construction of generator set was done. The estimated total cost of the construction of the church is around half a million ringgit (500k), of which close to fifty thousand (50k) fund was from the sales of palm oil fruit. Finally after 13 years of construction, the church was ready to hold its first event during Christmas 2017 celebration. Thereafter, Blessing of Chapel was performed by Rev. Rt. Richard Ng, the Bishop of Miri Diocese on 28th December 2017. This event was attended by approximately 300 people from the whole village. Currently there are 42 numbers of household of Roman Catholic out of 140 houses in Long Miri, Baram.























































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