St George’s Church turns 200

One for the album: Guests and parish members posing for a photograph in front of St George

GEORGE TOWN: St George’s Church Penang, the oldest English colonial church in the Far East (East Asia), marked the 200th anniversary of its consecration with the launch of commemorative first day covers and stamps.

The church, also known as Parish of St George The Martyr, is said to be the first Anglican church in the country to be featured on a first- day cover and stamps issued by Pos Malaysia.

A total of 3,000 sets of the limited edition St George’s Bicentenary first-day covers and stamps are available for sale at the St George’s Heritage Centre within the church premises at No. 1, Lebuh Farquhar.

Each set, priced at RM75, comprises a sheet of 80 sen stamps, a Cinderella stamp, a folder of the church history, pictures of the different facades of the church building and two envelopes bearing stamps with the official post mark.

There is also a brochure by Pos Malaysia on its Places of Worship series (Rumah Ibadat Siri 2) in Malaysia.

(A Cinderella stamp generally refers to anything that resembles a postage stamp but is not valid as payment of postage.)

“The Cinderella stamp is unique as this is

the first time that a painting of a building

instead of a photo is featured,” Anglican Church Diocese of West Malaysia Suffragan Bishop Datuk Charles K. Samuel said.

“The stamp highlights a painting of the church in the 1800s.

“We also have a few pieces with Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow’s autograph on them,” he said at the launch of the church’s bicentenary celebration here yesterday.

Bishop Charles said Pos Malaysia jointly launched the first-day covers and stamps with the church to make the celebration a memorable one.

There was also a special church service at 4pm yesterday followed by a gala dinner at the Penang Chinese Town Hall in conjunction with the bicentenary celebration.

Chow, who launched the event, said the church building and the Francis Light Memorial in the foreground were featured for the first time on stamps.

“This church is among five places of worship in the country to be featured in the Rumah Ibadat Siri 2 by Pos Malaysia.”

He said the idea of having the first-day covers and stamps was raised at a meeting between World Communications Network Resources (M) Sdn Bhd marketing consultant Syed Azhar, Bishop Charles and several others in October last year.

“They then worked on the content and pattern before the final design was submitted to Pos Malaysia in March for printing.

“I wish to congratulate St George’s Church Penang for creating yet another milestone in Penang’s history,” he said.

The seeds of Anglicanism came to the Far East from Calcutta, India, to Penang in 1786 when English trader Captain Francis Light leased the island from Kedah on behalf of the British East India Company.

On May 11, 1819, Rev Thomas Farnshaw Middleton, who was then Bishop of Calcutta, performed the consecration ceremony at the present church grounds, three years after the foundation stone was laid in 1816.


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