Basel Christian Church of Malaysia

Basel Christian Church of Malaysia

The Basel Christian Church of Malaysia or BCCM (Gereja Kristian Basel Malaysia) is one of the four Lutheran bodies in Malaysia. It currently has 112 congregations nationwide with approximately 50,000 members making the BCCM the largest Lutheran body in the country .

The current bishop of the Basel Christian Church in Malaysia is the Rev. Dr. Thomas Tsen Lip Tet

History

In the aftermath of the failed Taiping Rebellion in China, Hakka speaking Christians affiliated with the Basel Mission were viewed with suspicion by the Qing Government as the leader of the rebellion, Hong Xiuquan, was himself a Hakka who claimed to be a Christian. This resulted in an increase in the number of Hakka speaking refugees from China into the Southeast Asian region .

Early History

With the establishment of a settlement by the British North Borneo Company in North Borneo in 1882, Chinese labourers were sought to develop the interior of the territory and the British North Borneo Company sent agents to Hong Kong in order to recruit these labourers. Rudolph Lechler of the Basel Mission enthusiastically supported the scheme and Hakka Christians from the Basel Mission and the Basel established Chongzhen Church (Tsung-Tsin Church or 崇真會) were recruited .

The pioneer batch of settlers consisted of 10 families who arrived in Kudat and proceeded to found a settlement in Lausan. Worship meetings were held on Sundays in one of the houses until the first attap roofed church building was built in the plantation of Lo Tai Hong in 1886. This became known as the Lausan Church and was the first Basel congregation organised in the territory .

Expansion and self support

With the increase in the number of immigrant Hakka settlers from China, other congregations were organised in places and settlements like Kudat (1901), Papar (1903), Jesselton (1904), Sandakan (1907), Beaufort (1910), Tenom (1912), and Inanam (1914) . The Basel Christians also pioneered formal Chinese language education in the territory when the first Chinese school was established in Kudat in 1886 .

The first synod of the Basel churches in North Borneo was convened in Kudat in 1925 and following a challenge from the representative of the Basel Mission to practice self reliance, organised themselves as the Borneo Self-Governing Basel Church under the leadership of the Rev. Wong Thien Nyuk .

References

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