Tribute to Harold Bartholomew (1912-2016)

by Denise Austin



One of the longest serving leaders of Alphacrucis College (formerly Commonwealth Bible College – CBC) recently passed into glory after a lifetime of dedicated service to Christ.

From a wealthy strawberry-farming family, Harold was converted to Christ in the army at Townsville then served in New Guinea during the height of World War II. Later he undertook three years of ministry training through the Church of Christ before being filled with the Holy Spirit at Philip Duncan’s Jubilee Temple in Sydney, while cleaning the empty church hall. Harold became an Assemblies of God in Australia (AGA) pastor at Gympie but, being one of the few theologically trained leaders, Duncan drafted him as a CBC lecturer. Known affectionately as “Barty”, his care for the students became legendary, often waiting up late to ensure they were home safely from shift work. He married his co-lecturer and original 1948 alumnus, Joyce Jolly, and all their children were raised on campus.

As well as lecturing, the Bartholomews planted and pastored churches at Coopers Plains and Stafford. Serving as Principal of CBC for several years, Harold oversaw the move to the Graceville campus from the New Farm campus in 1961. He worked tireless in promoting the College, travelling tens of thousands of kilometres, visiting urban and rural assemblies all across Australia. Another of Bartholomew’s strategies for growth was the introduction of a CBC extension campus in Western Australia, one of the first multi-campus initiatives in Australia. During the 1970s, Harold became Director of the Assemblies of God affiliated International Correspondence Institute (ICI) which had been established in Australia under the auspices of the AGA division of foreign missions.

Harold Bartholomew ultimately served on the AGA Commonwealth executive for 33 years and was very involved in missions work, including pioneering the Discipleship Training Centre at Jaysingpur, Maharashtra in India. For well over two decades (1948-1974) at CBC, the Bartholomews contributed toward the shaping of a generation of AGA leaders and sowed the seeds for the harvest we continue to see today.


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