Reuben Hare

Photo courtesy of Adventist Heritage Centre, Australia.

Hare, Reuben Ethelbert (1889–1976) and Ivy Emily (Reeves) (1889–1977)

By Lester Devine

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Originally trained as a secondary history teacher, a career long Adventist educator, Lester Devine, Ed.D., has taught at elementary, secondary and higher education levels and spent more than three decades in elected educational leadership positions in two divisions of the world Church, NAD (1969-1982) and SPD (1982-2005). He completed his forty years of denominational service with a term as director of the Ellen G. White/Adventist Research Centre at Avondale University College in Australia where his life-long hobby of learning and presenting on Adventist heritage issues became his vocation. 

Reuben Ethelbert Hare was an Adventist missionary, evangelist, editor, and church administrator from New Zealand.

Early life and Education

Reuben Ethelbert Hare, the first of Robert and Henrietta Hare’s two sons, was born in Gisborne, New Zealand (NZ), on June 16, 1889.1 His father, Robert Hare, was the first ordained Seventh-day Adventist minister from the South Pacific. After moving with his family as an infant to Australia, he later trained as a carpenter, blacksmith, wheelwright and engineer.2 He had three sisters: sisters Ruth (Mrs. R. Lane), Nettie (Mrs. E J. Johanson), and Enid (Mrs. L. V. Wilkinson).3

Reuben attended the Avondale School for Christian Workers (now Avondale College of Higher Education) between 1905 and 1911, and there he completed the Missionary Course.4 He also completed some study towards the Biblical Academic Course (ministerial training) but did not graduate.5 While a student at Avondale, Reuben met Ivy Emily Reeves who also graduated from the Missionary Course.6 Ivy Reeves had been born at Tingah, New South Wales (NSW) on November 14, 1889.7 They were married on October 18, 1911 by Pastor Robert Hare.8 To Reuben and Ivy were born four sons, Ronald Eric Leslie (born September 6, 1912 at Muswellbrook, NSW), Reuben Neville (born March 5, 1915 at Childers Queensland), Douglas Reeves (born April 14, 1921 at Wahroonga, NSW), and Gerald Barrie (born April 13, 1929 at Wahroong, NSW).9

Denominational service

Reuben Hare spent his initial years of service in public evangelism. Being a practical person he also led out with the construction of Church buildings at Ourimbah, Grenfell and Cootamundra, NSW.10 He was ordained to the gospel ministry in Brisbane, Australia on September 29, 1917.11

Following a period as Home Missions and Missionary Volunteer Secretary for the Queensland Conference (1917-18), Pastor Reuben Hare was appointed as city evangelist in Adelaide, South Australia and then to the same role in Sydney in 1920 before moving to Albury, New South Wales during 1922-23 where he continued to be involved in public evangelism. At the Annual Council of the Australasian Union Committee held 24-26 April 1923, Hare was appointed to the Southern Asia Division for work among English speakers.12 The family lived in Colombo, Bangalore and Bombay until the end of 1926 when they returned to Australia. While in India, he pioneered radio evangelism in the country. A report in the Australasian Record in November 1925 read: "It was the first wireless sermon in India that was delivered by Pastor R. E. Hare, broadcast by 2 AX on Sunday last at 6 p.m. The subject for the sermon was 'History and Importance of the Bible.' Pastor Hare was a lucid and effective speaker; he was also able to face the microphone for about thirty minutes without any sign of fatigue, keeping at a uniform pitch."13

On their return to Australia, Hare was appointed to lead the Home Missions Department in the Union Conference Office. From 1930, he spent six years as the President of the South New South Wales Conference with headquarters in Sydney. While in Sydney, Pastor and Mrs Hare lost their second son Neville in a motor cycle accident on November 8, 1934. Neville was returning to Sydney from the Australasian Missionary College where he was a student; Neville was just 19 years of age.

Pastor Hare next spent almost two years as the President of the North New Zealand Conference before being recalled to the Home Missions Department of the Union Conference.14 With war clouds gathering, he organized the National Emergency Service, which could be called upon by government agencies in time of crisis. To this end, training classes were organized using St John’s Ambulance manuals and materials. Instruction was given for air-raid wardens, rescue, demolition and decontamination, volunteers, and ambulance drivers and attendants. Women were trained to care for the ill and injured and Sanitarium Health Food Company trucks were modified and equipped for immediate use as ambulances should the need arise. Later, with Europe devastated by war, Dorcas societies packaged contributions of food and clothing and sent them off to the United Kingdom, West Germany, and even the Russian occupied zone in Berlin. These efforts, initially coordinated by R. E. Hare, continued after the war to meet the social welfare needs of the local Australian population.15

For two years from 1938, Pr. Hare was editor of the Australasian Record, the church newspaper and from 1940 the Religious Liberty Secretary as well. From 1940, he was also the Field Secretary for the Australasian Union the equivalent at that time of the present-day South Pacific Division. In 1945, in addition to his other roles, he became the Islands Vice-president,16 and he was tasked with the huge responsibility of getting the work of the Church re-established in the Western Pacific after the chaos caused by Japanese imperialism during World War II.

In 1946 Pr. Hare became the General Secretary of the Australasian Union but it would seem this was in addition to his existing duties. It was while he was at the Union headquarters that the family suffered another tragedy. Their third son, Douglas Reeves Hare who was a naval aviator with the Royal Australian Navy was killed in an air crash at the Naval Air Base at Jervis Bay, New South Wales. A report in a major newspaper was headed, “Gallant naval airman gave life for men,” and stated that:

Lieut.-Commander Douglas Reeve Hare, R.A.N. flier, gave his life at Nowra yesterday to save some of his men from certain death. His plane crashed on the airfield at H.M.À.S. Albatross, naval air station, after he had gallantly swung it into a dangerous roll to clear three pilots practising manoeuvres. . . Lieut.-Commander Hare was commanding officer of No. 805 Fighter Squadron at Nowra. He was married only six months ago. His widow, Mrs. Margaret Hare, lives at Balgowlah, in Sydney. . . Lieut.-Commander Hare served in the R.A.A.F., but later joined the Royal Navy in England. He transferred to the R.A.N. in May, 1948, and returned to Australia In H.M.A.S. Sydney in May, 1949.17

Despite this loss, Pastor Hare carried a heavy workload throughout his period of service at the Australasian Union and then at the Australasian Inter Union Conference when the status of the union was changed at the end of 1948. By the time of his retirement in 1958, he had accumulated 47 years of denominational service.18 During that time it is estimated that Reuben and Ivy Hare moved home 57 times.19

Summary of Denominational Service20

1912 Evangelism Musswellbrook NSW Conference
1913 Evangelism Ourimbah  NSW Conference
June 1913-14 Evangelism Auburn NSW Conference
1915 Evangelism Childers Queensland Conference
1916 Evangelism Bundaberg/Maryborough Queensland Conference
1917-18 Home Missions/
Missionary Volunteer Sec.
  Queensland Conference
1919-20 City Evangelist Adelaide South Australia Conference
1920-21 City Evangelist Sydney NSW Conference
1922  Evangelism Albury NSW Conference
1923-26

Evangelism Among
English Spealers

Colombo
Bangalore 
Bombay
Southern Asia Division
1927-29 Home Missions Sec.    Australasian
Union Conference
1930-36 President   South NSW Conference
1936-38 President   North NZ Conference
1938 Assist. Religious
Liberty Sec.
  Australasian Union Conference
1938 -40 Editor, 
Australasian Record
Editor,
Missionary Leader
  Australasian Union Conference
1939-40 National Emergency Services Sec   Australasian Union Conference
1940-45 Field Secretary   Australasian Union Conference
1945-46 Islands Vice-President
Religious Liberty Sec.
Temperance Sec.
  Australasian Union Conference
1946-48 General Secretary
Religious Liberty Sec.
Island field Special     Attention
  Australasian Union Conference
1949 Religious Liberty Sec.   Australasian
Inter Union
1950-58 Religious Liberty Sec. 
Temperance Sec.
Press Bureau sec.
Editor Appeal
  Australasian
Inter Union
1957-58 Editor Alert   Australasian
Inter Union
1958  Retirement    

Contribution

Evangelist, missionary to India, conference president, editor, initiator and radio speaker, leader of the Religious Liberty Department of the Church as well as Temperance and Public Relations, Reuben Hare also found time to be active in the St John Ambulance Association,21 where he ultimately achieved the distinction of becoming a Knight of Grace of the Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem.22 This significant honor was the highest position to which a layman in the organisation may attain.23

Reuben Hare died on Sabbath afternoon, November 6, 1976, aged 87 years.24 Ivy Hare was laid to rest in the same grave as her husband just a few months later after her death on April 29, 1977.25

Sources

“A church of 23 members . . .” Australasian Record,” April 7, 1913.

“From the Bombay Chronicle . . .” Australasian Record, November 23, 1925.

Fulton, John E. “An Important Council Meeting.” Australasian Record, May 14, 1923.

“Gallant naval airman gave life for men.” The Argus [Melbourne, Australia], July 17, 1952. Accessed February 19, 2018. https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/23179860.

Halliday, H. J. and R. E. Hare. “The Work for Today.” Australasian Record, March 18, 1940.

Hare, Robert. “The Queensland Camp Meeting.” Australasian Record, October 22, 1917.

Johanson, E. J. “Life Sketch of Ivy Emily Hare.” Australasian Record, July 4, 1977.

Johanson, E.J. "Life Sketch of R. E. Hare." Australasian Record, January 10, 1977.

Naden, L. C. “Reuben Hare obituary.” Australasian Record, January 10, 1977.

Naden, L. C. “Ivy Emily Hare obituary.” Australasian Record, July 4, 1977.

“On the afternoon of October 18 . . .” Australasian Record, November 20, 1911.

“Pastor R. E. Hare . . .” Australasian Record, May 14, 1923.

“Pastor R. E. Hare . . .” Australasian Record, February 20, 1961.

Reuben Ethelbert Hare Biographical Information. South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives. Folder: “Hare, Reuben Ethelbert.” Document: “Biographical Information Blank, 19.4.1950.”

Reuben Ethelbert Hare Biographical Information. South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives. Folder: “Hare, Reuben Ethelbert.” Document: “Hare, Reuben Ethelbert.”

Reuben Ethelbert Hare Sustentation Information. South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives. Folder: “Hare, Reuben Ethelbert.” Document: “Weekly Rates.”

Rogers, Cora E. “Closing Exercises of the Australasian Missionary College.” Australasian Record, November 20, 1911.

Zeunert, W. E. “Sixty Years of Service Together.” Australasian Record, December 6, 1971.

Notes

  1. E. J. Johanson. “Life Sketch of Reuben Ethelbert Hare,” Australasian Record, January 10, 1977, 7.

  2. Reuben Ethelbert Hare Biographical Information; South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives; Folder: “Hare, Reuben Ethelbert;” Document: “Hare, Reuben Ethelbert.”

  3. Johanson, “Life Sketch,” 7.

  4. Cora E. Rogers, “Closing Exercises of the Australasian Missionary College,” Australasian Record, November 20, 1911, 4.

  5. Reuben Ethelbert Hare Biographical Information; South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives; Folder: “Hare, Reuben Ethelbert;” Document: “Biographical Information Blank, 19.4.1950.”

  6. Cora Rogers, “Closing Exercises,” 4.

  7. Reuben Ethelbert Hare; Document: “Biographical Information Blank, 19.4.1950.”

  8. “On the afternoon of October 18 . . . ,” Australasian Record, November 20, 1911, 8.

  9. Reuben Ethelbert Hare; Document: “Biographical Information Blank, 19.4.1950.”

  10. Ibid. “A church of 23 members . . . ,” Australasian Record,” April 7, 1913, 4.

  11. Robert Hare, “The Queensland Camp Meeting,” Australasian Record, October 22, 1917, 6.

  12. John E. Fulton, “An Important Council Meeting,” Australasian Record, May 14, 1923, 2; “Pastor R. E. Hare . . . ,” Australasian Record, May 14, 1923, 8.

  13. “From the Bombay Chronicle . . . ,” Australasian Record, November 23, 1925, 8.

  14. Reuben Ethelbert Hare; Document: “Hare, Reuben Ethelbert.”

  15. H. J. Halliday and R.E. Hare, “The Work for Today,” Australasian Record, March 18, 1940, 6.

  16. Reuben Ethelbert Hare; Document: “Hare, Reuben Ethelbert.”

  17. “Gallant naval airman gave life for men,” The Argus [Melbourne, Australia], July 17, 1952, accessed February 19, 2018, https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/23179860; Raymond Wilkinson, email message to Barry Oliver, February 19, 2018.

  18. Reuben Ethelbert Hare Sustentation Information, South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives. Folder: “Hare, Reuben Ethelbert.” Document: “Weekly Rates.”

  19. W. E. Zeunert, “Sixty Years of Service Together,” Australasian Record, December 6, 1971, 1.

  20. Information summarised from a number of sources, primarily: Reuben Ethelbert Hare Biographical Information; South Pacific Division of the General Conference Archives; Folder: “Hare, Reuben Ethelbert.”

  21. “In the section, ‘Appointments and promotions’ . . . ,” Australasian Record, September 2, 1957, 16.

  22. Johanson, “Life sketch,” 7.

  23. “Pastor R. E. Hare . . . ,” Australasian Record, February 20, 1961, 12.

  24. L. C. Naden, “Reuben Hare obituary,” Australasian Record, January 10, 1977, 14.

  25. E. J. Johanson, “Life Sketch of Ivy Emily Hare,” Australasian Record, July 4, 1977, 5; L.C. Naden, “Ivy Emily Hare obituary,” Australasian Record, July 4, 1977, 14.

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Devine, Lester. "Hare, Reuben Ethelbert (1889–1976) and Ivy Emily (Reeves) (1889–1977)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 09, 2021. Accessed October 15, 2021. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=17X0.

Devine, Lester. "Hare, Reuben Ethelbert (1889–1976) and Ivy Emily (Reeves) (1889–1977)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 09, 2021. Date of access October 15, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=17X0.

Devine, Lester (2021, January 09). Hare, Reuben Ethelbert (1889–1976) and Ivy Emily (Reeves) (1889–1977). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved October 15, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=17X0.