PAPAR – St Joseph Church here hosted the inaugural ecumenical carols by candlelight on 5 Dec 2017 at the Mother of Mercy Catechetical Centre.
It kicked off the Advent Family Visit in the parish and served as a sign of solidarity among the various Christian churches.
The theme for the event was God’s Love, Man’s Hope.
Member churches of Papar Inter-Church Council (Majlis Gereja-Gereja Daerah Papar or MGGDP) are St Joseph Papar, Holy Rosary Limbahau, Anglican Church, Basel Christian Church (BCCM), Sidang Injil Borneo, and Calvary Church.
The council has organised other joint activities such as Walk for Jesus, monthly prayer services, and Praise & Worship programmes.
In his welcoming remarks, MGGDP chairman Deacon Johnny Kunong of BCCM-BM gave thanks and praise to God for the presence of all those who came.
“The symbolic candles represent the light, enlightening the dark forces within. May the light brighten our hearts, families, our lives, our solidarity, and this world with love from Jesus Christ. Praise the Lord God Almighty,” he said.
Other leaders present were Anglican Pastor Habismadin Uloi, SIB Pastor Pendeta Tinggih Sulog, BCCM-BM Pastor Yaelan Gasah, BCCM Chinese Pastor Tan Ping Ping and Father Thomas Yip.
The celebration began with a child bringing a lighted candle up to the main stage to light the candles of the church representatives and parishioners.
Deacon Kunong proclaimed a reading from Isaiah 11:1-10 while Fr Yip shared a reflection how harmony, peace, and solidarity in life can only be achieved through the birth of Christ, the source of merciful love for mankind.
Thereafter the people were entertained by the performances of the various carolling groups followed by distribution of gifts to those present. – William Charles Mindus, SOCCOM Papar Limbahau