These are made of teak, a wood which is not found in Borneo. They are made in Singapore from Malayan teak and are the gift of the surviving children of George Frederick Hose, who was Bishop of Singapore, Labuan and Sarawak from 1881-1908.
Bishop Hose was a great Malay scholar and for nearly thirty years ministered faithfully his vast unwieldly Diocese and it was largely due to his initiative that mission work was begun in North Borneo. He had of course the episcopal oversight of Malaya and Singapore so it is fitting that the material of his memorial and its craftsmanship should be associated with those two places.
From the West Door to the High Altar are Seven Steps. This number has of course a wealth of symbolism. Here it may remind us, He must tread underfoot the seven deadly sins of Pride, Coveteousness, Lust, Envy, Gluttony, Anger, Sloth; that He must rise upon the seven virtues of Zeal, Temperance, Meekness, Chastity, Love, Humility, Contentment through the grace of the seven sacraments of the Church, Baptism, Holy Communion, Confirmation, Penance, Holy Matrimony, Holy Order and Unction.
In the centre is the Baptism Font which has been described as a “graceful eight-petalled flower in granite.” Eight to remind us of Our Lord’s circumcision on the eighth day and as eight souls were saved in the Ark of Noah, so in baptism, we are received into the ark of Christ’s Church. The octagonal base is made of marble that was hewn from the quarries outside the imperial city of Rome, Italy.
The Baptism Font was given by Ghan Tiaw Swee and his wife, Guek Eng as a thanks offering to Almighty God for his many blessings and the beautiful table in the Baptistry is a thanks offering from Madam Yeo Kim Suan.
Above the Baptistry, is the Singing Gallery. The cost of this was defrayed by the Parish of St. Michael and All Angels, Sandakan. A good view is obtained from the gallery which used to place the Hammond Electric Organ and the Choir Stalls.
Walk up to the top of this wide aisle to the South Door above which can be seen the arms of the Negara Brunei Darussalam. Here on the West jamb can be seen one of the Four Marks of Consecration. The Mark is the sign of the cross within the circle of eternity. This one was set by the Archbishop of Brisbane at the Consecration service. The others are at the North, East and West Doors.
The large doors at the top of the south aisle lead into the Choir Vestry which is also used to be a Chapter Office. In the old Cathedrals of the West, the Members of the Chapter met daily in the Chapter House to conduct the business of the house and to arrange the affairs of their common life.
The room contains a very fine Chapter Table made of lovely malacca batu. It is at this table that the Cathedral Canons used to preside over by the Provost hold their Chapter meetings in those days.
The Cathedral Banner is used to be kept in the Chapter Office but now it is place at the Chancel before the Sanctuary. The very beautiful and symbolic design was done by local member of the congregation. It shows Saint Thomas the Apostle as a young man (notice the lovely Eastern face) holding in his hand a model of the Cathedral stood, and on the left is a Sarawak river with a small sampan (boat), symbolic of the main means of travel for the spreading of the gospel in Borneo.
The part of the Chapter Office that is used as the Choir Vestry was given in memory of the late Reverend W. Howell by his son. Father Howell was a first class bidayuh scholar and supervised the Mission work amongst the Iban in the third division (Sri Aman) for fifty years. The Church owes much to his labours.
A Pilgrimage Round The Cathedral
On entering the Cathedral, the visitor should stand for a few moments at the west end…