This is Our Story...

A brief history of All Saints’ Cathedral, Kota Kinabalu


The Humble Beginning

Going back to the early history of the Church in Jesselton, it was reported by the Rev CJ Collis in 1924 that Church activity began in 1903 in Jesselton. By 1905, the S.P.G. Annual Report reported that “there is also a considerable number of Europeans and Chinese Communicants at the new town of Jesselton”. In 1907, there was a new parsonage and school, with 500 dollars already in hand for a Church. Rev Elton used to come over from Sandakan to minister to this newly formed congregation. Then, in 1907 the Rev Leggatt became the priest-in-charge of Jesselton and Labuan and Rev Elton went on furlough. In 1910 and early 1911, the new Church was slowly rising. A day of general rejoicing was chosen for the laying of the Foundation stone, 22 June 1911, the Coronation Day of King George V.

The opening of the Church; this was 1 November 1911, All Saints’ Day.

In 1924, Rev CJ Collis reported with great joy the acts of communion exceeding 1000 during that year. Signs of growth of the congregation were shown.

With 1936 came the Silver Jubilee. The Church and two schools were now well established, and it was felt that it was time for rejoicing. To commemorate the laying of the Foundation Stone a concert was held in the Cinema Hall. Bishop Hudson came to Jesselton for the Special Services. On the Vigil of All Saints’ there was a Confirmation at which fifty were confirmed, there was also a festal Evensong.

The original Church built in 1911 on the hall opposite the present Cathedral

The new church on a new site – 1959

On 2 June 1957, the Bishop laid the Foundation Stone of the new Church on the site vacated by All Saints’ School in Karamunsing.

When the Golden Jubilee was celebrated with great joy in 1961, the new Church supposed to be the tallest building around the Karamunsing area, and painted with white and red roof was completed and dedicated in 1959.


Parish church became a cathedral – 1962

When Sabah was calved out from the Diocese of Borneo to form a new diocese of Jesselton in 1962,
24 July, All Saints' Cathedral was large enough to be made the Cathedral of the Diocese.

Bishop James C.L. Wong became our first Diocesan Bishop who was formerly the assistant Bishop of the Diocese of Borneo. Thus, the Very Rev Alan Burn, who was then the Rector of All Saints’ Parish, became the first Dean of the new Cathedral, which was followed by Dean Tsu in 1969, and Archdeacon Briggs in 1973. The periods in between were filled in by Bishop Tan Sri Roland Kok, Bishop Datuk Dr Luke Chhoa, Bishop Yong Chen Fah and finally, Bishop Datuk Albert Vun.


Era of mild persecution – 1970 - 1976

It has been said that the Church that suffers will grow. During the period of 1970-76, all expatriate missionaries working in the Diocese except Miss Marianne Wise, Miss Sylvia Jeanes, and Archdeacon briggs were asked to leave Sabah when their work permist expired.

However, during this period of suffering, though our number of local priests were very few, yet it was the time when our lay people were challenged to stand for Christ. This happened in various forms.

First, the lay people began to realise that they have the responsibility to support their Church in stewardship giving, and to assist their priests in pastoral work as well as evangelism.

Secondly, some key lay people in the person of the late Rev Fu Yun Fatt, the late Canon Kok Yu Kong, and Canon Lee Syn Hon, and latter Rev Canon Yapp Foh Yu, and the late Rev Liew Tat Lip, and Rev James Lo, and the Rev Canon Martin Yuen responded to the situation by offering themselves as non-stipendiary priests. These are men who had been tested in their profession, and faithful to the Lord and to the Anglican Church.

Thirdly, the Anglican young people responded to the situation with some among the young people with Form 5 and Form 6 standard going to the full-time ordained ministry. Among those from All Saints' were: Rev Moses Chin, Rev Daniel Vun, Rev John William, Miss Lily Chong, Rev William Vun, Rev Albert Vun, Rev Herbert Tong, Rev Victor Leong, Rev Koo Tuk Su, Miss Margaret Chong, Miss Dorothy Chia. This process began to snowball, and it affected the interior young people as well. Among those responded to the oradined ministry were Rev Gehing Lidis, Mr Musa Imbai, Melta, Dais, Wilson, Judy from Lahad Datu. Now the Chinese speaking ones were Joseph Liew, Miss Chong Mui Ling and James Lee from All Saints' as well.


All Saints' Cathedral taken on 1 October 2001

To conclude, All Saints' is a giving Church with the vision to grow spiritually and numerically. The Lord also wants All Saints' to become a sending Church - sending out missionaries to other parts of the world to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It is also the family of God where the ministry of reconciliation, love and healing are exercised by its members who are the living members of Christ's Body.

All Saints' Cathedral now

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