Ribbon-cutting ceremony at Mei Ann’s new church building dedication and 46th Anniversary

by James TC Wong

Oct 3, Miri – Mei Ann’s members rejoiced at the blessings of a double celebration yesterday – the auspicious dedication of their new church building and 46th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service.

A thousand people packed the new sanctuary with SCAC President Rev. Dato’ Dr. Su Chii Ann, Miri Methodist District Superintendent Rev. Esther Law, Bintulu Methodist District Superintendent Rev. George Wong Hin Hung, well-known church planter Rev. Siew Chiu Huo, fellow pastors and leaders from the Miri Methodist District Churches.

Other distinguished guests included Miri Anglican Archdeacon Venerable Solomon Cheong Sung Voon, YB Datuk Lee Kim Shin, YB Fong Pau Teck, prominent community and business leaders.

The double celebration marks another significant milestone for Mei Ann, the first Methodist church in Miri.

By God’s grace, Mei Ann has a wonderfully rich history. Her glory lies in the record that she is the mother of 8 churches, and has birthed 12 pastors in her years of fruitful labor.

Mei Ann at Brooke Wong Qing Xiu Building (1968). Photo courtesy – Mei Ann Library Archive.

From the humble beginnings of her first home-based worship service in 1965; relocated to Brooke Wong Qing Xiu Building in 1968 and then to its present Kwang Tung road address in 1974 – Mei Ann has pioneered a path that truly glorifies Jesus.

Mei Ann in 1974. Photo courtesy – Mei Ann Library Archive.

To meet increasing congregational and ministries’ needs, the old building was demolished last year in February and redeveloped into a new building.

The 18-month construction period resulted in the erection of a new five-storey with a 3,800 m² covered area comprising of a sanctuary that seats 1,200 people on two levels, a chapel, an administrative office, conference rooms, a library, Sunday School classrooms, fellowship halls and two parsonage.

The new church building at Kwang Tung Road

The modern building also features eco-friendly led-lightings and provides lift access to the disabled and senior citizens. A kitchen is housed at ground level to provide convenience to the parking bay that also serves as a multi-purpose area for outdoor activities.

Milestones at a glance
1965 Started home-based Sunday Worship Service
1966 SCAC posted a full-time Pastor
1968 Worship center relocated to Brooke Wong Qing Xiu Building
1974 Church building completed at Kwang Tung Road
1987 Introduced Evening Worship Service (in addition to the morning service)
2001 Introduced 2nd Morning Worship Service
2011 New church building completed

Churches birthed by Mei Ann (1980-1999)
Hwai En MC, Krokop
Grace MC, Pujut
Living Stone MC, Batu Niah
Eng Hui MC, Marudi
Gan En MC, Riam Road
Yi En MC, Tukau
Life MC, Lutong
Taman Tunku MC, Taman Tunku

Mei Ann’s Youth Choir

Dedication and 46th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service
Ten minutes before the opening ceremony the guests and church members at the lobby were welcomed by the 3rd Miri Boys’ Brigade Brass Band. At 3 p.m. the “Call To Worship” was led by Rev. Esther Law followed by the singing of the hymn “Rejoice, Ye Pure in Heart”.

Church leaders and distinguished guests were then invited to the inauguration and unveiling of the plaque by Rev. Dato’ Dr. Su. This was followed by the ribbon cutting by Rev. Dato’ Dr. Su, Rev. Esther Law, Mei Ann’s Pastor-in-charge Rev. Wong Sing Ming, Lay Leader Mr. Lau Kung Mei and Advisor Mr. James Ling.

The new sanctuary’s doors were opened to Rev. Dato’ Dr. Su who was accompanied by the contingent of pastors, church leaders, guests and church members.

After the opening hymn “To God Be the Glory”, the opening scripture was read by Rev. Esther Law.

A delightful tambourine dance presentation

Among the highlights in the program included a tambourine dance, praise and worship, choir by the youths, reports by the Building Committee’s Chairman and Treasurer respectively.

In his message Rev. Dato’ Dr. Su praised and thanked God for establishing Mei Ann church. He then fondly reminisced the two years that Mei Ann had spiritually nurtured him in Miri during his Form 6 (1974-5) schooling at Tanjung Lobang. “Happy birthday, Mei Ann,” said Rev. Dato’ Dr. Su jovially. “Today you are 46 years old.”

Rev. Dato’ Dr. Su at the pulpit

Rev. Dato’ Dr. Su’s sermon message to the congregation was titled “Peace to Miri”.

“Jesus Christ is the Prince of peace, who brings us back to God. As a result, we have real peace – peace with God, with people, with ourselves and with the whole environment,” he said.

“We are people of peace, and therefore we need to bring peace to Miri using the acronym P.E.A.C.E – Preaching the Word of God; Enriching family life; Attacking the ills of the society; Caring for people of different ages; Evangelizing and be peacemakers in Miri.”

After sermon and offering, Rev. Dato’ Dr. Su was invited to formally dedicate the new church building to God in the presence of the congregation.

A visual timeline of Mei Ann’s 46 years of journey was presented in video. It brought a sense of God’s wonderment to the grateful congregation.

The 46th Anniversary cake was cut followed by a presentation of souvenirs to appreciate Rev. Dato’ Dr. Su, Rev. Esther Law, Rev. George Wong Hin Hung, Rev. Siew Chiu Huo, Rev. Wong Sing Ming, Rev. Lau King Huong and Rev. Kiew Tie Siong.

The charismatic Rev. Siew Chiu Huo

Before closing Rev. Siew Chiu Huo was invited to the pulpit. The well-known Sibu-born Methodist church planter and ubiquitous pastor shared on his favorite “Zero, Zero, Song” topic that emphasizes on putting Jesus before oneself. “Zero, Zero”, a literal translation from the Chinese language is used as a metaphor to illustrate “nothingness” in our lives if we do not put Jesus “in front” of us. The good Reverend’s charisma and singing brought much delight to the congregation.

A buffet dinner was served to all to mark the closing of a wonderfully celebrated day – all glory to God!

Praises from Pastors
“When I first relocated from Kuching to Miri in 1998, the church I went was Mei Ann. Since becoming a Christian, I love going to church because the church is my second home. In 2003 I received my calling and joined MTS to study Music and Worship course. As the District Music Director today, I consider it is my great my privilege to be able to serve God full-time,” said Pastor Jacqueline Bong Wui Choo.

“In the midst of attending the ceremony, I praised God for His grace, mercy and guidance. I’m also proud for all the pastors who have dedicated their lives to the kingdom of God. Meanwhile I pray that one day SMCGC will celebrate her 46 years old birthday like Mei Ann’s. As Mei Ann births pastors, may God also use SMCGC in the same way to expand His kingdom,” commented Tiong Huong Ong, Pastor-in-charge of Senadin Methodist Campus Gospel Centre (SMCGC).

Mei Ann’s Pastor-in-charge Rev. Wong Sing Ming expressed his heartfelt appreciation to his church members.

“Thank God for answering to our prayers and we are making history again for the glory of God,” praised Rev. Wong on the successful completion of the new building. “I pray that this church will continue to be outward-looking and our members will reach out to evangelize to more people, telling them the Good News and the salvation of Jesus.”