Thursday, December 22, 2011

Rev Thomas Aitken

The grave stone of the Rev Thomas Aitken.
During a period of thirty-eight years Mr. Aitken exercised a ministry characterized by strength of conviction, fidelity to the truth of God as he understood it, and unswerving devotion to the Lord Jesus Christ. His manifest sincerity and integrity commanded the respect of the community wherever he laboured, while he was greatly beloved by those who knew him in more intimate Christian fellowship and friendship. He ever sought to win others for his own Saviour to magnify Whom was the chief aim and glory of his life.
Trained at Harley College, Thomas Aitken served the work at Cape Verdes Island from 1896-1897 and then he did a fine spell of service at the Baptist Church of St Helena from 1897-1905 which brought him into touch with South Africa where he served the South End Church in Port Elizabeth for another five years of formative ministry. Pastorates followed in Durban where he pastored both Lambert Road and Bulwer Road from 1910-1913 and concentrated on Bulwer Road from 1913-1918. His last three ministries were spent respectively at Wynberg (1918-1920), Germiston (1920-1924) and Kingwilliamstown (1924-1935).
The Assembly was most closely associated with Mr. Aitken in his work as the General Secretary of the Baptist Union of South Africa. He was first appointed to the secretarial office in 1919 and held the position for sixteen consecutive years, his re- election year after being eloquent evidence of the confidence and regard of the denomination as a whole. By both personal character and gifts he was eminently fitted for the important office he held so long, and to the very end he carried out the work which grew constantly in volume and importance, with thoroughness, impartiality and courtesy.
Written by: Syd Hudson-Reed


  1. Rev Thomas Aitken was also a keen amateur photographer, and some of his photos of St Helena are still published. He was present on St Helena when the Boer Prisoners of War arrived, and was instrumental in donating Baptist land for use as a Boer cemetery. There is a record here that he re-visited the island in April 1934 while on his way to England, where I believe he died later that year. As an interesting footnote, I discovered that he signed my mother's birth certificate in 1927 while pastor of Taylor St Baptist Church, KWT

    1. My Grandfather was a renowned photographer and upon his death my mother's elder sister inherited all his photographs. During a pilgrimage to St Helena made by my mother, her aformentioned elder sister and their American cousin, departing Cape Town, 5 October, 1985, his collection of photographs was donated by my family to the Jamestown Museum

  2. That's such a great comment. Thanks for dropping by.

  3. Thank you to Pastor Graeme Beckett for his interest. Correction, my Grandfather died at home in Kingswilliamstown, South Africa, after his return from a six-month furlough in the UK. During my Grandparents stay in the UK, they were based in Chiswick, where my Grandfather had arranged a Church Swop with a Baptist Minister. It was while he was away attending a Church Conference in Germany, that he was taken very ill

  4. My Grandfather trained at Spurgeon's College London, not Harley College, during his time as Member of the Baptist congregation of the church in Wishaw, Scotland, near Glasgow