Tabuan Jaya is a residential suburb of Kuching City. First developed in the mid- 1970s, the population consisting predominantly of young middle-income group, is presently estimated to be around 60,000 today. The percentage of non-believers ranks high. The population continues to grow rapidly with the expansion of the suburb which encompasses the new areas such as Muara Tabuan, Tabuan Laru, Tabuan Heights and the new development corridor along the Kuching-Kota Samarahan Expressway.
Responding to God’s Call
Around 1995, a few of members of St. Faith’s Church, Kenyalang Park, who were residing in Tabuan Jaya responded to God’s call to reach out to the new community. Subsequently, through fervent prayers, God unveiled the first phase of His vision to this group, which was to organize monthly evangelistic meetings (Celebration Night), that would be targeted at the community of Tabuan Jaya.
The second phase of the pioneering work began in the following year, when St. Faith’s Extension Centre (SFEC) was established. 35 members from the mother church were commissioned in 22 December, 1996 by the then Vicar, Rev. Edmund Paleng, to form the core group that will carry the vision ‘To take Tabuan Jaya and Beyond for Christ’ to the new neighbourhood.
The upper floors of two units of the newly completed shophouses at Tabuan Jaya commercial centre, opposite the market, were rented to set up SFEC. Rev. Michael Green who visited the Centre in 1998 appropriately called it the ‘church at the marketplace’. Apart from the Sunday worship services, a number of outreach programs/activities were organized such as Jesus Video, evangelistic rally, Alpha Course, Children Community Gathering, local school outreach program, etc. The Centre was managed by a church management committee, and retired clergy, together with St. Faith’s serving clergy, assisted in the Sunday services. The Chinese-Hockien speaking ministry was also started soon after to target the vast Chinese population in the mission field.
The Centre is also established on the home cell concept, where every member is encouraged to join a home cell. Presently, there are 17 home cells in the church.
By 2000, the congregation at SFEC had grown by five-fold, and it was apparent that the rented shop premises would not be able to contain the growing number of worshippers indefinitely. A building fund was then set up, and the search for a suitable land for the new church around the residential suburb began.
The Cornerstone Project (the new church building project) marked the third phase of God’s plan for Tabuan Jaya. In 2003, the developer of the housing estate offered the sale of two vacant shoplots at Tabuan Heights to SFEC, and this was accepted after it was confirmed that the move was in line with His vision. The process of land title conversion and amalgamation of the surrounding car park (entailing alienation of State land) followed, and approval was obtained within a reasonable short period without hitches through His grace and intervention.
The building plan for the compact 4-level church building was drawn up and approved in 2006, and construction works began in January, 2007. The church’s main worship hall is located at the ground and mezzanine floors, the office, resource room and Sunday school at the second floor, while the multipurpose hall is located at Level 4. Fully air-conditioned and equipped with a lift and state-of -the art audio-visual system, the building is designed to meet the needs of every group in the congregation and to facilitate the multi-functions of the church.
In 2008, God’s divine hand on the project was again manifested when the adjacent State land was approved for the church to use as a car park and games courts.
God also intervened in the fund-raising, when the handful of members then was able to raise over RM1.5 million through food fairs and pledging. Well-wishers as well as other Anglican parishes including the mother church, St. Faith’s and St. Margaret’s, Seria, also donated generously to the project.
Though the construction works had its fair share of problems, the building was completed in time for the Christmas service in 2008. It was opened by our Bishop, Right Reverend Bolly Lapok, on 7 February, 2009 and consecrated to the glory of God on the next day.
The fourth phase of God’s vision for Tabuan Jaya unfolded, with the declaration of the Parish of Tabuan Jaya Anglican Church (TJAC) in the Diocese of Kuching, on the day of the church’s consecration. Rev. Kenny Tan has been inducted as the first priest-in-charge of the new parish, and a Parochial Parish Council has been elected to administer the church affairs and to continue to spearhead the vision of Tabuan Jaya.
TJAC, has since its opening, attracted many new people from in around Tabuan Jaya, and both the English and Chinese-speaking worship services have seen tremendous increase in the attendance. Several new activities and programs have been drawn up for the year gearing towards the fulfillment of TJAC mission statement.