That Old Seafront Church of Kokar (Suatu Siang di Gereja Tua)

Many travelers, I am sure, will be interested in Bhetesda, a wooden and bricks place of worship at Kokar, a smallish seaside town in Alor Island. Acionk and I stopped by. I like admiring old buildings and how they are preserved, but this one really is a sad scene. The ceiling and the roofings are partly falling and the deer antler moss has overgrown the wooden crucifix. Only the front door, some windows, the sills and the pulpit are still beautiful. Albeit in the state of crumbling, Bhetesda still exudes grace.

“Wouldn’t it be nice to have the windows that for years had let cool sea breeze in during sermons? And a door that had welcomed hundreds if not thousands of people which, as the signage suggests, first opened its door in July 22, 1961? Oh…. if the church is to be torn down, I’ll salvage the doors, the windows and the sills, too!” said I to myself, like I was the richest man in the whole Lesser Sunda.

Meanwhile, the neighboring church, Seydon, stands concrete and strong. At first I thought the churches are not of the same denomination. While admiring the building, came a man on bike. He introduced himself as Pak Eko. “Dua gereja ini sama sebenarnya. Seydon dibangun untuk menampung jemaat yang bertambah banyak,” said he, explaining that Seydon was built to accommodate the growing congregation.

Terus, Bhetesda akan diapakan, Pak?” I asked of what will become of Bhetesda.

Rencananya akan dipugar. Kami sedang mengumpulkan dana untuk memugarnya,” said Pak Eko about the funding he needs to restore Bethesda.

Sad because that means I will never salvage the door, the windows and the sills, but totally happy to hear that the church will not be torn down.

If you wish to donate for the restoration of Bhetesda, please contact me and I will share the contact of Pak Eko in Kokar, Alor.


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