Frank William Boreham 1871-1959

Frank William Boreham 1871-1959
A photo F W Boreham took of himself in 1911

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Boreham and New Zealand

The transition from New Zealand to Australia helped to develop the writing ministry of F. W. Boreham.

J. J. North said, “He had to cross the Tasman to be fully appreciated and find a wider sphere for his spiritual gifts in his Master's vineyard—a service which God has owned and blest in the passing years.”

Although he has left New Zealand he did not forget his friends and the foundation that the New Zealand chapter had formed in his ministry. Here is a greeting that F.W. Boreham wrote on the occasion of the Jubilee of the NZ Baptist Union which reveals Boreham’s indebtedness:


Nearly 30 years have passed since, with a heavy heart, I left New Zealand. Why I should now be honoured with an invitation to greet the Baptists of the Dominion on the exalted occasion of their Jubilee, I cannot for the life of me imagine. And yet, perhaps, I may be qualified to say a modest word on behalf of those who, coming to New Zealand, have remained for a few memorable years, and then have sailed away, bearing the fragrant influence of the country with them.

Coming to Mosgiel nearly 40 years ago, a raw and callow youth, fresh from college, the new land captivated my whole soul, and I gave myself to it for good and all. That, however, was not to be. But I have lost no opportunity of bearing witness to the incalculable debt that I owe to New Zealand in general, and to Mosgiel in particular. I came out from the Homeland with an eager and a hungry mind, and New Zealand taught me much. I have since visited the Conferences of all the Australian States; but —tell it not in Gath!—I still find myself judging these dignified assemblies by the high standard of the Conferences that I attended in New Zealand long years ago!

To have lived and ministered in Mosgiel in the old days, when the earliest pioneers were still among us, and when one could catch the heroic spirit of their sublime adventure, was an experience so rich and so romantic that it has coloured all my days. I loved every stick and stone in Mosgiel—to say nothing of the sturdy souls who dwelt there—and my admiration and affection have deepened with the years.

Others, more competent than I, will testify to the invaluable contribution of the Baptists of New Zealand to the development of the vigorous young nationhood of a Dominion that occupies a place so singularly its own in the economy of the Empire and in the variegated life of the world. Those who, like Dr North, have spent the entire span of the 50 years in consecrated service within New Zealand's coasts, will be in a position to speak authoritatively of the thousands and thousands of lives that have been irradiated and transfigured through the instrumentality of our Churches and of their ministers. And representatives of the mission field will enlarge upon the story of the beautiful and fruitful impact of our New Zealand people upon the teeming millions of Bengal. To these eloquent testimonies this is merely a negligible postscript. For I, who simply came to New Zealand to be ordained, and then to spend a dozen happy years in an obscure country pastorate, can only speak for those who, leaving New Zealand, have carried New Zealand with them, and have felt its gracious and inspiring impress on the life of every subsequent day.

On behalf of those who cherish such choice memories, I send this heartfelt benediction. May the jubilee commemoration crown a glorious past and inaugurate a still more golden future! For, depend upon it, proud and grateful as you will be, in reviewing the 50 years that have slipped away, the best—God's very, very best—is yet to be!”[1]

At the 75th anniversary of the NZ Baptist Union, F. W. Boreham sent this final greeting to NZ Baptists:

Greetings from our Oldest Past President

THE BAPTIST UNION OF NEW ZEALAND was 13 years old when I joined the ranks of its ministers. And now, as it completes the 75th year of its history, I find peculiar satisfaction in sending my warmest felicitations and best wishes.

One of the outstanding pleasures of the years has been the gratification of marking the growth and prosperity of the New Zealand Churches. The churches that I knew have grown amazingly whilst many new churches have come into existence. I pray that such gratifying developments may continue to manifest themselves during the closing quarter of the first century.

It is a red letter day in each month when "The New Zealand Baptist" arrives. We read with deep interest the news that it brings and congratulate the Editor on the fact that the paper is generally regarded as one of the most readable of religious newspapers.
With warmest greetings and affectionate benedictions,


President, 1902.[2]

Geoff Pound

Image: FWB with some of his New Zealand Baptist friends.

New Zealand Baptist, October 1944, 227-228.
[1] New Zealand Baptist, October 1932, 294.
[2] New Zealand Baptist, November 1957, 225.