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Monday, July 20, 2009

Sabah-Heilbronn Partnership Signing Ceremony

Kota Kinabalu: Close to 100 Christian members from the Roman Catholic Church, Basel Christian Church of Malaysia and the Protestant Churches of Sabah attended the auspicious signing ceremony of the 5th Sabah ~ Heilbronn Partnership Day on 13th July 2009 at the Likas BCCM Kyrugma House organized by the Sabah~Heilbronn Ecumenical Partnership (SHEP). The participating churches include the Roman Catholic, Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu, Roman Catholic Diocese of Keningau and Sandakan, Basel Christian Church of Malaysia and the Protestant Church of Sabah.

Close to 100 Christian Members from all around Sabah in attendance

Dominc Lim, the Executive Secretary of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu briefed the members through a power point presentation regarding the background to its set up, its aims and objectives and the current structure. He also touched on the progress and development of the ‘Partnership’ from its inception in 1990 to the current year. The said partnership between Sabah and Heilbronn, Germany aims at promoting awareness and better understanding of ecumenism, ecumenical sharing of resources as well as enhancing mission and theological education for both parties. One main activity of the partnership is the exchange of cordial and mutual ecumenical visits organized once in two years between the churches of both countries.

Archbishop Datuk John Lee

Archbishop Datuk John Lee in his opening address on behalf of all the Churches concerned in the partnership program expressed that in the zeal to strengthen the relationship between Sabah and Heilbronn, churches concerned should never forget to realize the partnership between the local participating churches. The signing ceremony is a gesture of refreshing and deepening of the relationship between the participating churches from Sabah and Heilbronn.

The members had the opportunity to view a pre recorded greetings and message from Rt Rev Otto Friedish, the Dean of the Protestant Churches of Heilbronn. He hoped that the partnership program would continue to strengthen the unity between the people of Sabah and Heilbronn through better understanding in the common undertaking of spreading the Good News. He also announced that the next batch of Heilbronn ecumenical study group will be visiting Sabah next year, 2010.

Archbishop Datuk John Lee of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu, Bishop Datuk Cornelius Piong of the Catholic Diocese of Keningau, Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom of the Catholic Diocese of Sandakan (a new partner), Bishop Dr Thomas Tsen of the BCCM and President Rev Jimmy Assam of the Protestant Churches of Sabah signed the partnership agreement witnessed by the Rev Marunsai Dawai, Chairman of Sabah Heilbronn Partnership (SHEP).

The Signing Ceremony

After the signing ceremony, four participants in the persons of Miss Yap Pak Tsun of BCCM, Fr Rudolf of the Catholic Diocese of Keningau, Miss Juraya of PCS and Dennis Patrick of the Catholic Archdiocese of Kota Kinabalu who went to Heilbronn last year shared their experiences on the theme of ‘Migration, Intergration and Community Building.’

Fr Rudolf and Miss Yap

Miss Jeraya and Dennis Patrick

Miss Yap expressed profound gratitude for the whole experience which had given her and fellow participants the opportunity to learn of the German culture and hospitality. The 3 week exposure had given them the first hand knowledge of the the pastoral care program adopted by their counterpart in Heilbronn and they recognized that it was a challenge for them to reflect on the current approach practiced in local churches.

Representatives from RC Sandakan with Bishop Julius Dusin Gitom


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