Monday, January 16, 2012

Rev H. Guyton Thomas

The Rev H. Guyton Thomas, who passed away at Grey’s Hospital, Pietermaritzburg, on 5th November 1976, was born ninety years earlier at Dehli. His parents, and their parents before them, were missionaries and the young lad was only five years old when he was sent back to England for schooling.
Later he began a business career but was active also in Christian Service. In 1908 he entered the Bristol Baptist College and Bristol University to train for the ministry. His first pastorate, in 1912, was a little village to which he took his bride, who was to be his partner for sixty-two years.
At the outbreak of World Was I, he was enlisted as a private, but after completing his basic training, he was commissioned as a chaplain. His war service earned him mention in despatches. Then, after serving two other churches in England, he came to South Africa, as Pastor of the Grahamstown Baptist Church, in 1930. At the same time he carried the additional responsibility of trying to restore the work of the Baptist Bookroom which was on the verge of being closed down. He also served the South African Baptist Missionary Society as secretary for three years during this period.
From 1935 to 1954 he served the Salisbury Baptist Church as pastor. Three years at Port Alfred followed but, in 1957, the Rev Thomas, now past seventy, retired. A yeas later he accepted the first of a series of short interim pastorates; he served four churches in the Border area, the Mabelreign Baptist Church in Salisbury, and the Central Baptist Church, Durban, during the following five years, preaching the Word and caring for the congregation in each place during the interregnum created by the departure of one pastor and the arrival of another. Finally, he served the congregation at Scottsville, where he was honorary pastor from 1963 to 1965. He was exceptionally faithful in hospital visitation, where he visited every Baptist who came into Grey’s Hospital of St Anne’s – it was frequently done every day.
He was a man if strong convictions – God’s enemies were his enemies too. He fought a good fight against evil; he kept his priorities right and fought a good fight against the unimportant things in life. As he advanced in years his bodily weakness increased, but he fought a good fight against that weakness – and did so without complaint. He kept the faith, in spite of opposition and disappointment, until he had finished his course – true to his Lord and loyal to the Church right to the end.
Written by: Syd Hudson-Reed

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