Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mr Matthew Arnold Cross

Matthew Cross was a son of the late Rev George William Cross, one of the founders of the Baptist Union of South Africa. That was in 1877, and three years later, the Rev Mr Cross was voted to the Presidency, a position which he held on a further three occasions. His son Arnold followed in his father’s footsteps and served the Union as President in 1941. Elected Vice-President in 1939, he actually took over the Presidency when his predecessor, the Rev Charles Garratt, was appointed Secretary of the Union in 1940. No Assembly was held in 1940 on account of the war and thus Mr Cross held office until succeeded by the Rev Jas Walker in 1942.
Mr Cross was a civil servant commencing work in the office of the Registrar of Deeds in Cape Town in 1901. He was transferred to Pretoria in 1907 and spent most of the remainder of his working life, until his retirement in 1942, in that city. He was the first person to hold the appointment of chief Registrar of Deeds. As a member of the Townships Board, he travelled throughout the Transvaal and is reported to have visited every town in the Province except Louis Trichardt.
Later he and other members of his father’s family played an important part in the establishment of the Hatfield Baptist Church (now Hatfield Christian Church) which, in memory of the Rev G.W. Cross, was named the “Cross Memorial Church”. He became Church Secretary and was later made a Life Deacon. Once again, he took a prominent part in the work of the Sunday School. He actively shared in the activities of the Hatfield Baptist Church until comparatively recently when failing health made his participation less regular.
Written by: Syd Hudson-Reed

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