KOTA SAMARAHAN (April 2): Anglicans in Samarahan had gathered in the masses at the St Francis’ Church for the first time since Covid-19 pandemic period to attend a service held in conjunction with Palm Sunday today.
During the service which as conducted in the Iban language, the church was packed with congregation who not only filled the church’s main hall, but also the church’s chapel wing and the ground floor gathering area where chairs were arranged specifically for the occasion.
“Today is a special day for Christians, especially us Anglicans because Palm Sunday marks the beginning of the Christian Holy Week, historically the most sacred time of year for Christians around the world,” said St Francis’ Church priest-in-charge Revd Kelvin Jawa.
The service was also conducted with full Sarawakian Anglican ceremonial tradition for Palm Sunday, something which the church was not able to do due to the restrictions following the Covid-19 pandemic.
True to the Anglican tradition in Sarawak, crosses which were made of palm leaves were also distributed to everyone who attended the service.
When asked about the service attendance, Kelvin said that he was glad to see a great turnout for the service as Christians in Samarahan have not been able to celebrate Palm Sunday in a grand manner for a very long time .
“There are around 1,785 people who attended the service today and that is indeed a good turnout for this church,” he said.
Although the Covid-19 restrictions have been relaxed, most of the members of the congregation who attended the service were still seen wearing their face masks as a precaution.
Meanwhile, when asked on where did the church source its palms leaves to make the palm crosses for the service, Kelvin said they were sourced from the bushes and jungles nearby the church and throughout Samarahan.
“Our church members went around Samarahan area and harvested the palm leaves for the purpose of making the palm crosses today. We have always done that in the past,” he said.
Palm Sunday is an occasion that celebrates the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem and being greeted by the people waving palm branches.
It also marks the beginning of Holy Week, the final week of Lent – a solemn period of repentance and self-denial, which culminates in the celebration of Easter, which marks the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Next week, the Kota Samarahan St Francis’ Church will observe the Maundy Thursday on April 6 with a service conducted in Iban language that starts at 8pm, while the Good Friday service is scheduled to be held the following day (April 7) at 9am.
The Good Friday service at the church will be conducted in Iban, while on April 8 there will also be prayers conducted in Iban at the church to celebrate the coming of Easter Day, the following day.
On Easter Day, there will be three services held at the church; one in English at 7am, one in Iban at 9am and another one in Bahasa Malaysia (known as ‘Kebaktian Hari Paskah’) at 2pm.