Over 2000 worshipers from across East Asia celebrated the installation last week of the new primate of South East Asia, Archbishop Bolly Lapok.
On 12 February 2012 Archbishop Lapok was installed as metropolitan archbishop of the Anglican church in Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Nepal, Laos, Indonesia and Brunei at St John’s Cathedral in Kuching.
The new archbishop was elected at a special meeting of the provincial synod convened in Kota Kinabalu on 22 September 2011 in succession to Archbishop John Chew of Singapore.
The new archbishop will be the first non-Chinese primate for the province. Archbishop Lapok is an Iban (or Sea Dayak) born in Sri Aman, Sarawak. He trained for the ministry at the House of Epiphany in Kuching and received a Masters degree from the University of Birmingham.
Ordained deacon on March 2, 1975—a special dispensation had been granted by Archbishop Donald Coggan as Lapok was then below the minimum canonical age for ordination—he was ordained to the priesthood on Dec 7, 1975 and served in Borneo. In 1991 he was appointed archdeacon and was elected Assistant Bishop of Kuching on Sept 5, 1999 and was enthroned as the Diocesan Bishop on April 15, 2007. He is currently Chairman of the Association of Churches in Sarawak.
Speaking to The Borneo Post after the service, the new archbishop said he was humbled by his election. “This occasion is not about me but for the church of God,” Archbishop Lapok said. “Given so high a calling and the enormity of the expectation, I feel so small, so unequal. This is definitely one of those mysterious ways of God.”