A lot to learn from  Sabah, M’sia:  Archbishop Welby
Published on: Friday, October 04, 2019
By: Ricardo Unto
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KOTA KINABALU: It is important for local religious leaders to support dialogue, says Justin Welby, the Most Reverend and Right Honourable the Lord Archbishop of Canterbury.

He also said it is important for religious leaders in the country not to be caught up or “deceived by extremism.”

“You are unquestionably one of the most beautiful parts in the world, I mean, to live here. It’s just extraordinary,” he said after a courtesy call on Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Shafie Apdal at the State Administrative Centre, here, Thursday.

“And it is a diverse country and I think Malaysia can teach many other parts of the world about how you flourish and live well amidst diversity, which is one of the great challenges that many countries are failing.

“Malaysia has had its moments of tension and struggle, but with courage, you can always overcome them.

“Diversity will always live through moments of struggle…the question is not whether you struggle but how you struggle.

We have a lot to learn from Malaysia, from Sabah and from Penang where I was yesterday (Wednesday).”

Welby said he had a good conversation with the Chief Minister, principally about interfaith relations and the importance of peace and harmony between different faiths.

Welby, who also represents the Queen of England in his visits, is in Sabah to attend the Council of Churches of East Asia (CCEA) General Assembly 2019.

It was reported that some 150 delegates from 10 countries – Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Philippines, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Australia - will participate in the assembly. 

They comprise bishops, clergy, laity, women and youth delegates. 

Noting that this is his first time in Sabah, Welby said he wishes he could stay longer to get to know the State more.

He also has a special message to some 90,000 Anglicans in Sabah.

“I can do no more than paraphrase the scriptures – love God, love your neighbour, and be hospitable and generous to all those around, confident in your own faith and respectful of others,” he said.

On the election of Bishop Melter J Tais of the Diocese of Sabah as the next Archbishop of Southeast Asia, Welby said he was extremely pleased.

“All the bishops in this Province (of the Anglican Church of Southeast Asia) are outstanding.

“My own view is that it is one of our strongest Provinces anywhere in the Anglican Communion.

“Bishop Melter’s election as the next Primate and Archbishop next February is something that I rejoice in…I have known him for a while and I know the quality of his intervention, thoughtfulness and wisdom.

“And I know that he will add enormously to the strength of the leadership of the Anglican Communion worldwide.

“You have to remember, for the Anglicans, there is no equivalent to the Pope – the Archbishop of Canterbury is the first among equals.”

 As such, he said, the heads of the Provinces discuss, share, consult and listen carefully to each other.

 Delegates for the four dioceses of Kuching, Sabah, Singapore and West Malaysia gathered for an Extraordinary Synod recently to elect the next Archbishop and to discuss the establishment of new dioceses in West Malaysia.

Melter became the sixth Bishop of Sabah in 2015 and the first Sabah native to be installed to the highest office in the church in Sabah.

The Archbishop-elect will lead the Province of the Anglican Church of Southeast Asia for the next four years, starting February 2020, following on from Archbishop Ng Moon Hing.

Also present during the courtesy call were Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Christina Liew, British High Commissioner to Malaysia, Charles Hay, Ng and Melter, among others.



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