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Monday January 11, 2010

Smooth Sunday services at churches

Church holds Sunday service at Wisma MCA

KUALA LUMPUR: Sunday Mass and services at churches which faced arson attacks over the past few days went on smoothly and peacefully.

The Metro Tabernacle Church, which was badly damaged in the attack on Friday, held its Sunday services at the Wisma MCA’s Dewan San Choon in a sombre yet joyful mood.

Some 1,700 members of the Protestant church packed the hall for the joint Mandarin and English services from early yesterday.

Many were moved to tears during worship, particularly when senior pastor Rev Ong Sek Leang noted in his sermon that this was a defining moment for all churches and the country.

He also denounced the arson attack on the church as a cowardly act unacceptable in the country’s multi-cultural, multi-lingual and multiracial society.

Faithful lot: Devotees singing words of praise to God during the church service at Wisma MCA in Kuala Lumpur Sunday.

The congregation was moved to silence when, during Rev Ong’s sermon, a photo montage of the damage to the church was played on large projection screens in the hall.

Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon and MCA treasurer-general Tan Sri Tee Hock Seng were among those who attended the service from 10am to noon.

MCA president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat had offered the church the use of its hall for yesterday’s services. Next week’s services will also be held at Wisma MCA.

Later, Rev Ong received a RM100,000 donation from CIMB Group chief executive office Datuk Seri Nazir Tun Razak to relocate the church to its new building in Batu Caves.

The donation came after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s announcement on Saturday of a RM500,000 allocation for the church after it was damaged in the attack.

Businessman and long-time church member Lawrence Percy, 43, said he became emotional during the photo montage.

“I was at home when I found out about what happened, and when I saw the clips, tears started flowing down my face.

“But all through it, I could feel that God is in control of the whole situation,” he said, adding that he had never seen such support from all communities and political parties regardless of race and religion for the church.

The Assumption Church at Petaling Jaya, which was also targeted in the attack on Friday, saw a huge congregation of Catholics for Sunday Mass.

In his homily, parish priest Rev Father Philip Muthu urged the congregation to remain calm and pray for peace and harmony to prevail on Malaysians of all faiths.

In GEORGE TOWN, Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng joined the congregation at the George Town Baptist Church to pray for peace and harmony in the country and later condemned the arson attacks.

“I hope there will be no more such incidents. It’s very important for all Malaysians to stand up and show that these extreme acts do not represent us.”

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