Remember Your Leaders

People - MacBain HalWilliam Halley MacBain, one of the key founders of our Fellowship, will be 100 years old this year. Converted at seven in 1923, he enrolled eleven years later in Toronto Baptist Seminary. Hal learned much from TBS’s formidable President, T.T. Shields, about the centrality of preaching and being faithful to the Gospel.

In 1937, with help from Jack Watt, pastor of the Baptist churches of Courtright and Wilkesport, Hal began planting an evangelical Baptist work in Sarnia, Ontario. They pitched a large tent on South Mitton Street. People were converted and Temple Baptist Church was formally constituted on December 29, 1937, with eight members. Hal was called to be the first pastor. He was twenty-one! The Lord was with him and by 1964 the membership of the church was 514 with an average of 622 attending Sunday School. Critical to Hal’s ministry during these years was the help of his wife, Mary Ann Munday (Mamie). Their marriage of 58 years was vital to Hal’s ministry. Mamie went home to be with the Lord in 1999.

In the early 1950s Hal played a critical role in the formation of the Fellowship and served as its first president from 1953–1954. Later he moved to Toronto to pastor Forward Baptist Church. Being in Toronto enabled him to be on the Board of Trustees of Central Baptist Seminary (now part of Heritage Seminary and College), and to teach courses in pastoral theology, homiletics, and missiology. From 1974–1981 Hal served as the Foreign Mission Board’s first secretary. After retirement in 1981, Hal took a number of interim pastorates and was preaching up until his ninetieth year!

We remember Hal MacBain and thank God for the grace bestowed upon him to labour wholeheartedly for the Gospel of the Lord Jesus.

—Michael Haykin is Professor of Church History & Biblical Spirituality, and Director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.