Baines, Rt Rev Henry Wolfe: Anglican Bishop of Singapore and Malaya (1949-1960). Bishop of Wellington (1960-1972).

"Harry" Baines was born in England, 7 February 1905 and died in Wellington, New Zealand, 29 November 1972. He was educated at Repton and Oxford (Balliol) where he played cricket and soccer, and at Cuddleston, He was remembered for an ease of relationship, candour, and seriousness in which some saw early the makings of a bishop. From 1927 to 1929 he was an SCM Travelling Secretary. He was ordained deacon in 1930 and priest in 1931. From 1934 to 1938 he was chaplain at St John’s Cathedral in Hong Kong. He became Vicar of St Nicholas Radford, Coventry, in 1938 and in 1941 Rector of Rugby. He married Elizabeth Bartlett in 1944 and in 1949 was consecrated Bishop of Singapore. In 1960 he became Bishop of Wellington, New Zealand.

In Singapore for much of the Malayan Emergency Baines was noted for his strong ecumenical commitments particularly in relation to the Malayan Christian Council, Trinity Theological College, and reunion schemes in Singapore and Malaya. He increased the number of local clergy and in 1958 Roland Koh was appointed Assistant Bishop. He worked for more positive statements on religious freedom in the new Malaya than was possible to attain, but accepted the realities of the situation after 1957. He encouraged greater Christian participation in society at the same time as he welcomed evangelicals into a traditionally high-church diocese.

Bishop Baines brought to New Zealand a depth of inter-church experience and commitment to church union which sometimes ran ahead of others. In the capital city he provided a strong church voice in civic and national affairs. He visited South Vietnam in 1971 and advocated humanitarian aid and religious contact. He opposed rugby tours to South Africa under apartheid. His breadth of vision gained from Asia was appreciated by other church leaders. He was of imposing stature and gracious manner, had a good voice, and was known as a person of prayer as well as a listener. He had a wide range of friends. When cancer was discovered he announced “my train has come in rather earlier than expected” and with dignity and grace made peace with his family, his clergy, and with God.

John Roxborogh