Quinton Stow Smith (1864 – 1963 ) president Baptist Union
Quinton Stow Smith was deeply interested in people’s well-being. Following his father, he worked with the Adelaide Benevolent and Strangers’ Friend Society for 65 years. A block of flats for senior citizens bears his name: “Stow Smith Homes”. He had a long association with the Bible Society, and at his death was Australian Vice-President of the world body.
To the time of his death, Quinton Stow Smith’s life and that of his father, James, virtually spanned the history of South Australia. His father arrived in the colony in 1839. His pioneering colleagues had a deep influence upon Stow Smith as he was growing up.
Born at Karrayerta, Greenhill in 1864, he was named after Rev. T. Quinton Stow, an early Congregational minister of whose church James Smith had been an officer until, with the arrival of Rev. Silas Mead, the Flinders Street Baptist Church was established, which James then joined. At the age of fifteen, Stow Smith began business as a land and estate agent, later becoming director of a timber business.
Through the witness of his elder brother, Pirie, he became a Christian and was baptised by Rev. A.W. Webb at the North Adelaide Church in 1883. From this point onwards, Stow Smith began a Christian witness in sport, business, community life and the church which continued to the end of his life. After marriage, he joined the Flinders Street Church in 1891, which he served as an officer under all its ministers up to the time of his death. In his later years, he was made a Life Elder. He was rarely absent from worship. On his ninety-ninth birthday he was in his pew, as alert and devout as ever. Stow Smith was a man of prayer. His life had a spiritual richness that made him greatly loved.
He was deeply interested in people’s well-being. Following his father, he worked with the Adelaide Benevolent and Strangers’ Friend Society for 65 years. A block of flats for senior citizens bears his name: “Stow Smith Homes”. He had a long association with the Bible Society, and at his death was Australian Vice-President of the world body.
As a convinced Baptist, he served on many boards and committees of the South Australian Baptist Union which called him to the Presidential office in 1911, a year marked by remarkable growth. A friend of ministers, he took steps to set up the Ministers’ Provident Fund. Stow Smith was present at the First Australasian Baptist Congress in 1908, and thereafter was active in federal concerns. He was appointed Vice-President of the Interstate Board in 1912, and became a member of the Foreign Mission Board established on that occasion, serving as its Chairman for a few years from 1923. It was fitting that, because of his continued involvement in federal business, he should be elected President-General in 1929, the first layman called to this office.
Stow Smith was a member of the Executive Committee of the Baptist World Alliance from 1922-34, and Australian Vice-President of the Alliance in 1928-34, the first person nominated for this office by the Baptist Union of Australia.
Both he and his wife, who died in 1947, were generous in hospitality, and had the pleasure of entertaining many world Christian leaders such as Drs. F.B. Meyer, J.H. Rushbrook, Howard Taylor, Sadhu Sundah Singh, Toyohiko Kagawa and Miss Mildred Cable. Stow Smith entered the fellowship of the Church Triumphant on June 10, 1963, when he was in his one hundredth year.
Adelaide Benevolent and Strangers’ Friend Society
The scope of piety, or, The Christian doing all things to the glory of God
Rev. Thomas Quinton Stow
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