Friday, January 27, 2012

Mr Allen Charles Townsend

Allen Charles Townsend was born in Grahamstown on 20th June 1924, but as a young child moved with his family to Port Elizabeth, and it was there that he had his schooling. He returned as a young man to Grahamstown, to Rhodes University, to take his Bachelor of Arts degree, and it was at Rhodes that he met Olive Dixie whom he was to marry. Leaving university he spent a year working in Johannesburg, before returning to Port Elizabeth to work, first for Cripple Care, then for the Technical College and ultimately, so far as secular work was concerned, for the Leather Industry Research Institute. During this time he returned for one year to Rhodes for his Honours degree and later, via correspondance, he obtained his Masters.
We might think of this as a regular pattern for a man with academic instincts to follow, until we recall the physical handicap with which he was born. Crippled by cerebral palsy, he was largely dependent on others.
In his secular work he was greatly respected, but it was when he took over the editorship of the South African Baptist that Allen found fulfilment. At first it was a spare-time job, and then a part-time occupation. Ultimately in 1973 he was appointed as full-time editorial secretary of the Baptist Union.
He was a great family man, and his wife and children stood first in his affections. Many a time he talked of them, proud of each, grateful for their love and help in all he did. And he was loved by them in return.
Allen served for a time as a deacon of the Trinity Baptist Church, and also for a few years as a member of the Baptist Union Executive. He gave his best to everything, often far beyond what his physical strength could support. He was easily tired – but never grew weary!
A man of absolute integrity, he was fearless for what he believed to be the truth. A man of courage, he, like Abraham, "did not weaken in faith when he considered his own body", but with immense labour overcame his physical handicaps.
He was a clear thinker, with a flair for the English language, a poet and a hymn-writer. For several assemblies of the Baptist Union, and for the baptism of one of his daughters, he wrote a special hymn.
His face in repose may have looked somewhat mournful, but this was a misrepresentation of the man behind the countenance. He was a cheerful man, with a keen sense of humour, and loved a good story, the more subtle the better. A loyal friend, a sympathetic sharer of burdens, a perfectionist in his work, early in his life Allen put everything that he had into the hands of his Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. He was sensitive in spirit and, while he did not easily rebuke, he himself was a rebuke to others.
His courage was an inspiration to all who knew him, - a gifted, and gracious, and gallant gentleman.
Written by: Syd Hudson-Reed

No comments:

Post a Comment