Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Rev D.H. Hay (Part 1)

[editor note: I have been impressed by how much of the Baptist heritage in South Africa has been influenced by Spurgeon's College; for more information on this institution go here.]
A man of outstanding character, Mr. Hay devoted almost his entire life to the service of the Church. He was for 56 years Baptist minister in East London and at the time of his death he was in charge of the Berea Baptist Church the congregation of which he had built up in recent years by his tireless devotion.
Of Scottish parents Mr. Hay was born at Sandhurst. Victoria Australia on March 11,1864 while he was very young his family returned to Scotland. Mr. Hay went to school at St Andrews.
After School he went to London as an apprentice in a large drapery store. It was during this period that he came under the influence of the late George Williams founder of the YMCA movement and decided that the ministry was his calling.
Mr. Hay gave up his commercial Job and entered Spurgeon’s College where he underwent the divinity course. When he left England he came to East London.
He arrived in the city towards the end of 1889 and on December 15 began his preaching. There was no English Baptist Church in East London in those days but within a few months Mr. Hay had gathered around himself a fair sized congregation for his religious services, which were held in a hall on the market square. From that small beginning Mr. Hay worked steadfastly achieving one of his ambitions later by the opening of the Baptist Church in Buffalo street.
Mr. Hay never spared himself in any church matter and largely through his zeal Baptist churches came into being at Cambridge, West Bank, Quigley and Berea, while for a time he kept together a small congregation in Komgha.
He was minister of the Buffalo Street congregation for 43 years and relinquished the position in 1933 to take charge of the new Berea church for the building of which he was manly instrumental.
Mr. Hay was a foundation member of the South Africa Baptist Missionary Society and at various periods’ secretary and treasurer of the body. For two spells he was president of the South African Baptist Union. IN October 1946 he went to the Denominational Assembly in Maritzburg and it was there that the serious illness leading to his death made itself manifest. He attended all sessions of the assembly but on his return to East London decided to take a rest from his duties in an effort to regain his health.
Written by: Syd Hudson-Reed

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