Harold Meyers

From Australasian Record, June 8, 1959, page 12.

Meyers, Harold James (1896–1959)

By Milton Hook

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Milton Hook, Ed.D. (Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, the United States). Hook retired in 1997 as a minister in the Greater Sydney Conference, Australia. An Australian by birth Hook has served the Church as a teacher at the elementary, academy and college levels, a missionary in Papua New Guinea, and as a local church pastor. In retirement he is a conjoint senior lecturer at Avondale College of Higher Education. He has authored Flames Over Battle Creek, Avondale: Experiment on the Dora, Desmond Ford: Reformist Theologian, Gospel Revivalist, the Seventh-day Adventist Heritage Series, and many magazine articles. He is married to Noeleen and has two sons and three grandchildren.

First Published: December 24, 2021

Harold James Meyers was a pastor, missionary, and administrator in Australia, Fiji, and New Zealand.

Early Life

Harold James Meyers was the youngest of four sons born to Herbert Benjamin Udney Meyers and Mary Ellen (Hunt) Meyers. His older siblings were half-brother Richard William (b.1882), Herbert Lionel (1886-1887), Cecil (b.1890) and Dudley (b.1894). Harold James was born at Fort William, Calcutta (now Kolkuta), India, on September 26, 1896, and christened in the Anglican faith on October 22, 1896.1 When he was an infant his parents purchased literature from canvassers George Masters and Ellery Robinson which led them to begin worshipping with a small group of Seventh-day Adventists meeting in Bow Bazaar Street. His parents themselves became canvassers, moving from town to town for five years that included pioneering in Burma (now Myanmar). For the benefit of their health and the children’s education they then transferred from Calcutta to the mountains of Mussorie.2

In 1906 Ellen took her sons to Australia in order to enrol them at the Avondale School for Christian Workers for further education. Later, on arrival back in India, she found Herbert had abandoned the church and their marriage so she travelled back to Australia. In 1912 church officials appointed Ellen to pioneer mission work among the Fijian Indians. As a teenager Harold accompanied her.3 Harold returned to the Avondale School in 1914 to begin training for the ministry.4

Church Career

Harold covered the ministerial subjects offered but did not graduate. In that era non-graduation was not considered a deterrent to employment. It was acceptable to enter the canvassing work and, if successful, anticipate an appointment to evangelism. He had already tried his hand at canvassing during school recess for the southern summer of 1914/1915. At that time he sold Heralds of the Morning in New Zealand.5 In October 1917 Harold resumed canvassing, offering the book Practical Guide to Health in New South Wales.6

In Launceston, Tasmania, Harold and Alma Gwendolene Sharp were married in a friend’s home on April 4, 1918. The Tasmania Conference president, Elder Albert White, performed the ceremony.7 They returned to New South Wales where Harold resumed his canvassing with good sales results. He concluded canvassing in July 1918.8

At the Second Quadrennial Session of the Australasian Union Conference, held at Cooranbong, New South Wales, October 2 through 16, 1918, Harold was appointed to evangelism in the Tasmania Conference.9 It proved to be only an eighteen month term before he was asked to transfer to Fiji on a temporary basis while his older brother, Dudley, took furlough.10 Dudley had been assisting his mother in her teaching ministry among the Fijian-Indians in Toorak, suburban Suva. Both Dudley and Harold concentrated on evangelism to complement their mother’s work.11

Having completed his assignment in Fiji Harold and Alma, together with infant daughter Dorothy, transferred to the West Australian Conference, arriving in October 1921.12 Harold was asked to pioneer the town of Geraldton to the north of Perth. As a result of his canvassing and public meetings three baptisms were held at the Geraldton seaside and the converts were organized into a small company, among them the writer’s grandmother, Lily Smith.13 It was in Western Australia that Harold was later given his first opportunity to specialize in ministry to the youth, a role that would highlight his career. He was given the dual portfolios of Missionary Volunteer Secretary and Home Missions Secretary.14 On Sabbath, March 6, 1925, he was ordained at the West Australia camp meeting held in Victoria Park near the causeway that spanned the Swan River.15 Harold left Western Australia in late 1926 to do a further two years, 1927 and 1928, strengthening the work that his mother was doing among the Indians of Fiji.16 A portion of 1929 was served in North New Zealand where his father-in-law, Elder Frederick Sharp, was stationed.17 This brief interlude was followed by a lengthy stay in the Victoria Conference, initially in evangelism18 and then eight years as Young People’s and Missionary Volunteer Secretary. During the last four years of his term he also carried the Home Missions portfolio.19

During the Second World War years Harold was assigned to the same portfolios in the South New Zealand Conference20 and the Queensland Conference.21 In 1946 he cared for the Tenterfield church in the North New South Wales Conference.22 His heaviest responsibilities were carried in the following years, 1947 and 1948, when he served as associate secretary of the Young People’s and Missionary Volunteer’s Department in the Australasian Union Conference office, headquarters of the Australasian and Pacific Islands territory.23 The statistics indicated reversals during the War but were beginning to recover again under his leadership.24

Harold’s time in administrative roles was followed by a decade in pastoral care of various churches in the Greater Sydney Conference and assistance in the Publishing Department.25 His final post was the nurture of members on Norfolk Island.26 His health, however, was deteriorating and in 1959 he was forced to return to Sydney for medical treatments. His last days were under palliative care in the Sydney Adventist Hospital where he passed away on May 6, 1959. After forty years service he rests in the lawn section of the Macquarie Park Cemetery, North Ryde, suburban Sydney.27 A fellow administrator wrote of him, “He was gifted as a speaker with a pleasing voice and an ability to clearly express his thoughts….As a committee man he was forthright and fearless and very jealous to guard the interests and rights of other men.”28

Alma was favored in retirement with the bond she enjoyed with her married children, Hilton, Dorothy, Ruth and Margaret. At eighty-seven years of age she passed away on May 17, 1982, in the Mayo Hospital, Rathmines. She was laid to rest nearby in the Avondale Memorial Cemetery, Cooranbong, New South Wales.29

Sources

Constandt, R[udolph] H. “West Australia.” Australasian Record, October 31, 1921.

Cox, J[ames] J. and L[eslie] C. Coombe. “Alma Gwendoline Meyers.” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, July 5, 1982.

“Distribution of Labour.” Australasian Record, May 31, 1920.

“Distribution of Labour.” Australasian Record, November 11, 1918.

“Distribution of Labour.” Australasian Record, October 18, 1926.

Glockler, P[aul]. “Central Polynesia: A Sketch of Our Work and Field.” Australasian Record, April 4, 1921.

Halliday, H[arold] J. “Harold James Meyers.” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, June 1, 1959.

Halliday, H[arold] J. “Pastor H.J. Meyers.” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, June 8, 1959.

Hare, R[euben] E. “The Secretary’s Report.” Australasian Record, October 13, 1947.

“Harold James Meyers.” FamilySearch, Intellectual Reserve, 2020. Retrieved from https://www.familysearch.org/tree/pedigree/landscape/LHQZ-D3Y.

Imrie, L[eslie] J. “Victorian News Notes.” Australasian Record, November 18, 1929.

Meyers, H[arold] J. “Geraldton.” Australasian Record, June 16, 1924.

Meyers, Ellen. “The Day of Small Beginnings.” Eastern Tidings, September 1, 1945.

“Monthly Summary of Australasian Canvassing Work.” Australasian Record, March 15, 1915.

“Monthly Summary of Australasian Colportage Work.” Australasian Record, December 3, 1917.

“Monthly Summary of Australasian Colportage Work.” Australasian Record, September 9, 1918.

“On April 4, in Launceston, Tasmania…” Australasian Record, April 22, 1918.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1919-1959.

Stewart, A[ndrew] G. “The Late Mrs Ellen Meyers.” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, April 7, 1958.

Turner, W. G[ordon]. “North N.S.W. Camp Meeting and Conference Session.” Australasian Record, December 10, 1945.

White, H[arold] C. “The Camp Meeting.” Australasian Record, April 6, 1925.

Notes

  1. “Harold James Meyers,” FamilySearch, Intellectual Reserve, 2020, accessed September 6, 2020, https://www.familysearch.org/tree/pedigree/landscape/LHQZ-D3Y.

  2. Ellen Meyers, “The Day of Small Beginnings,” Eastern Tidings, September 1, 1945, 7.

  3. A[ndrew] G. Stewart, “The Late Mrs Ellen Meyers,” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, April 7, 1958, 13.

  4. H[arold] J. Halliday, “Pastor H.J. Meyers,” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, June 8, 1959, 12.

  5. “Monthly Summary of Australasian Canvassing Work,” Australasian Record, March 15, 1915, 6.

  6. “Monthly Summary of Australasian Colportage Work,” Australasian Record, December 3, 1917, 5.

  7. “On April 4, in Launceston, Tasmania…” Australasian Record, April 22, 1918, 8.

  8. “Monthly Summary of Australasian Colportage Work, Australasian Record, September 9, 1918, 5.

  9. “Distribution of Labour,” Australasian Record, November 11, 1918, 36-37.

  10. “Distribution of Labour,” Australasian Record, May 31, 1920, 5-6.

  11. P[aul] Glockler, “Central Polynesia: A Sketch of Our Work and Field,” Australasian Record, April 4, 1921, 5-6.

  12. R[udolph] H. Constandt, “West Australia,” Australasian Record, October 31, 1921, 8.

  13. H[arold] J. Meyers, “Geraldton,” Australasian Record, June 16, 1924, 6.

  14. E.g., “West Australia Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1925), 187.

  15. H[arold] C. White, “The Camp Meeting,” Australasian Record, April 6, 1925, 6-7.

  16. “Distribution of Labour,” Australasian Record, October 18, 1926, 34.

  17. “New Zealand, North Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald publishing Association, 1929), 242.

  18. L[eslie] J. Imrie, “Victorian News Notes,” Australasian Record, November 18, 1929, 4.

  19. E.g., “Victoria Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1938), 74-75.

  20. E.g., “South New Zealand Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1941), 78.

  21. E.g., “Queensland Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1944), 67.

  22. W. G[ordon] Turner, “North N.S.W. Camp Meeting and Conference Session,” Australasian Record, December 10, 1945, 4-5.

  23. E.g., “Australasian Union Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1948), 70.

  24. R[euben] E. Hare, “The Secretary’s Report,” Australasian Record, October 13, 1947, 1-2,6.

  25. E.g., “Greater Sydney Conference,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1952), 93.

  26. E.g., “Norfolk Island Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1958), 81.

  27. H[arold] J. Halliday, “Harold James Meyers,” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, June 1, 1959, 7.

  28. H[arold] J. Halliday, “Pastor H.J. Meyers,” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, June 8, 1959, 12.

  29. J[ames] J. Cox and L[eslie] C. Coombe, “Alma Gwendoline Meyers,” Australasian Record and Advent World Survey, July 5, 1982, 15.

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Hook, Milton. "Meyers, Harold James (1896–1959)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. December 24, 2021. Accessed December 01, 2022. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=9IJP.

Hook, Milton. "Meyers, Harold James (1896–1959)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. December 24, 2021. Date of access December 01, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=9IJP.

Hook, Milton (2021, December 24). Meyers, Harold James (1896–1959). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved December 01, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=9IJP.