Albert Holden

Albert Holden (1866 – 1935) Methodist minister
Albert Holden : Methodist Minister, 1887; General Superintendent, Methodist Home Missions, 1904-32; Secretary-General, Methodist Church of Australasia, 1929-32; Director, Methodist Inland Missions from 1926; President-General, Methodist Church of Australasia from 1932.

Albert Holden matriculated from Geelong College in 1882, taught in 1883-84 at Prospect House Academy, Kyneton, where he came under the influence of Rev. Charles Lancaster, and became a Methodist lay preacher. In 1885 he entered Ormond College, University of Melbourne, to study law, graduating B.A. in 1888. He played football and was a member of the first Ormond eight-oar crew.

After entering the Methodist ministry in 1887 Holden served as probationer at Camberwell in 1888, working at Burwood with railway construction workers and then with miners while at the Omeo Home Mission (1890-91). He toured Europe and the Middle East with Rev. E. S. Bickford during 1892. On 29 March 1893 at Omeo he married Martha Mesley, daughter of a mining manager; both Holden and his wife were expert in equestrian skills. After his marriage Holden was appointed to Port Cygnet, Tasmania (1893-95), Dunkeld and Penshurst (1896-98), Hawthorn (1899-1901) and Elsternwick (1902-03).

From 1898 Holden was an army chaplain and in 1900 he accompanied the Victorian Fourth Contingent (Imperial Bushmen) to the South African War. He became Methodist chaplain general in 1913, serving with the Australian Imperial Force between 1916 and 1919, when he was appointed C.B.E. He was generally known as Major, later Colonel Holden. His second son was killed in France in 1917.

On Bickford’s death in 1904 Holden had become secretary of Methodist Home Missions, and in 1925 established the Home Missionaries’ Training College. In 1915-16 he was elected president of the Methodist Conference of Victoria and Tasmania.

As founder in 1926, and director until his death, of the Federal Methodist Inland Mission, he travelled throughout Australia. He was general superintendent of the Methodist Church of Australasia from 1929 to 1932, then president-general.

A strong advocate of Australian church union, Holden attended, as opening speaker, the meeting in the Albert Hall, London, in 1932 which brought about Methodist Union. He received the Freedom of the City of London in that year, and the University of Toronto conferred on him an honorary doctorate of divinity in 1934.

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Refer also  Associates of the Rev John Flynn.


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