By Peter Sibon
KUCHING, Feb 2: Association of Churches in Sarawak (ACS) is appealing to the Sarawak government for financial assistance for all houses of worship in the State which have been adversely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
ACS chairman His Grace Archbishop Simon Poh said since Covid-19 struck a year ago, all places of worship have been suspended, thus affecting donations that support their respective houses of worship.
“In the spirt of solidarity and comradeship, we are hoping that as the government has helped the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), likewise, we also hoped that it will support houses of worship as we look after our staff and the welfare of those who are in need,” Poh told DayakDaily here today.
He said all the houses of worship in Sarawak have been helping the poor and needy especially those whose livelihood have been affected by the pandemic with many losing their jobs.
“And what makes matter worse is that while we have experiencing Coivid-19 pandemic, there are some families who need our urgent assistance as they are also being affected by flood.
“So, in a way, it’s a double blow for us,” he said.
Meanwhile, Anglican Bishop of Kuching Diocese the Right Reverend Datuk Danald Jute agreed with Poh and revealed that he had written to the State Government for assistance and now awaiting response.
“We are not asking much. We are just hoping if the government can assist the SMEs, we hope that the government can also assist us as we too are helping the government by helping the people in need,” he said.
The Anglican Diocese of Kuching, which include Brunei, has 43 parishes and 140 workers, consisting of priests, deacons, vergers, groundsmen, cleaners, drivers and office assistants.
“But even during this challenging time, we are keeping our staff and we have no plan to lay off anyone,” he said.
Poh, who is also the Catholic Archbishop of Kuching Archdiocese, said the church is committed to ensure that the catechists and staff in churches continue to be employed during this challenging Covid-19 year. This means commitment to provide for 200 staff in the Archdiocese of Kuching
“More than ever before, the urban churches have come to assist the poorer rural churches. We have been able to pull through because we put our resources together and assist those who need our assistance the most where we channel the resources there,” he said. — DayakDaily