Thursday, December 22, 2011

Rev Albert Ernest Brett

Albert Ernest Brett was born at Dover of Quaker parents and was educated at Sidford Quaker College. He was led to Christ at the early age of 16 years, and preached his first sermon a year later. He entered the “Bible Christian” Ministerial College, and was accepted into their ministry in 1885. He served the Churches of the Connexion in Draycot, Bideford, Exeter, Isle of Wight, Plymouth and London. Having special gifts as an evangelist, he was set apart for that work in the South of England.
He came to South Africa in 1897 and was associated later with Julius Jeppe in his Johannesburg office. He subsequently became Manager of the Transvaal Lime Works, and eventually settled as a farmer at Klippartjie near Germiston. During the war, he served as a Captain in the British Intelligence Department.
During the Mission of Gypsy Smith to Johannesburg in 1904, an old acquaintanceship was renewed which resulted in Mr. Brett re-consecrating himself to the work of the Ministry. By means of a dream he saw that God’s Will for him was to first begin Mission work amongst Coloured and Black people. He was afterwards to build three churches for white congregations. He obeyed the call, and built two churches for Coloured people, and organized missionary work along the Reef.
In February 1906 he was baptized in the Troyville Baptist Church by the Rev Chapman, and in evangelistic work which followed, the Spirit of God came mightily upon him as in his earlier ministry.
Advances were made to him by the Baptist Union Executive in 1906, and he was heartily admitted to our Union and Ministerial circles.
He accepted the Pastorate of the Germiston Church in 1906. Here he erected a substantial church building and left it debt free on his call to Kimberley in 1916. The Kimberley ministry was blessed in spiritual revival and his leadership in Temperance and Civic reform. After four and a half years he moved to the Central Baptist Church, Durban, and within twelve months in December 1922, a new commodious and beautiful church seating 700 people was opened free of debt. After nine years, in 1930. he moved to Salisbury, Rhodesia, and built another church smaller but on the plan of the church in Durban. In 1934 he built his fourth church in Benoni, Transvaal.
1n 1919 Mr. Brett was appointed Secretary of our Missionary Society and made his office noteworthy by his visitation of the Mission Stations. He was appointed to the highest office in our denomination 1n 1920. His Presidential year was marked by sacrificial service for all our churches.
After a brief illness he passed into the presence of his Lord on 29 March 1937, at the age of 74. In him God gave to our denomination a man of great ability, a large hearted friend, an outstanding preacher, a wise administrator, and a missionary advocate. He loved difficult tasks, and rejoiced in having fulfilled his special commission. The six churches will abide as a fitting memorial to him as a symbol of his aggressive evangelical ministry.
Written by: Syd Hudson-Reed

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