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First Kadazan to be made Anglican Bishop
Published on: Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Kota Kinabalu: A Kadazan clergyman will be installed as the first indigenous bishop to head the 90,000-strong Anglican community in the State under the Diocese of Sabah on Tuesday.Bishop Melter Jiki Tais who was actually appointed the bishop of the diocese on Feb 20 will be replacing the late Bishop Albert Vun who passed away on July 15 last year.

The 50-year old Melter was born in Kampung Nangoh, Labuk and was ordained into the Anglican priesthood in 1993 and had served in various capacities in many parts of Sabah, including Priest-in-Charge of St. Margaret's Church in Keningau and St. Peter's Church in Tenom, Rector of St. Mark's Church in Lahad Datu and St. Luke's Mission District in Telupid.

The father of four will be the Anglican Diocese of Sabah's sixth bishop and the first native of Sabah to be installed to the highest office in the church in Sabah.

"I believe that God calls people at the right time. I need to seek clearer guidance from Him over what He wants me to do and not what I want to do. I believe there must be a purpose that God appointed me at this very particular time.

"When a time comes when there is a need to speak up objectively and constructively to the government, then as a bishop I need to do that, to protect the rights of not only the indigenous Christians in Sabah and Sarawak but also in the whole country," he said.

Due to the rising problem of certain groups trying to convert or entice Christians to their religions, Melter said he would hold discussions with leaders of the diocese on how to handle some of the issues and how to help the members who have been forced to embrace other religions.

"There is no easy answer to it but definitely we will look into this matter. As we all know, under the Constitution, we have freedom of religion, that we are free to choose our own religion and express our worship.

"But of course when it comes to practise, that is a problem. However as a church, we will continue to express our worship in ways that we feel it should be without allowing certain parties or quarters to dictate us how to express our faith to God," he said.

Regarding the church's policies and what the Anglican community could expect during his tenure, for example women ordination, Melter said while other Anglican dioceses and provinces have decided to ordain women to the priesthood, the province of Southeast Asia has not taken the step yet.

"For the time being, we are not ready yet. Whether we will be open to the idea or not, we do not know but the stance now is, we are not ready for it. In terms of the so-called same-sex marriage, we are totally against it. We do not allow for it to be carried out in the church," he said.

The installation service will be held at the All Saints' Cathedral in Kota Kinabalu on Tuesday at 5pm.

The service will be conducted by Archbishop and Primate of the Province of the Anglican Church in Southeast Asia Datuk Bolly Lapok who is also the Bishop of the Diocese of Kuching.

He will be assisted by the Bishop of the Diocese of West Malaysia Datuk Ng Moon Hing and the Bishop of the Diocese of Singapore Rennis Ponniah.

About 1,500 people are expected to attend the service which will be followed immediately by a thanksgiving dinner at 8pm at the Hakka Association Hall.



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