A Tribute to
Miss Ann Baker

“As the Father hath loved me,
so have I loved you ~
continue……in my love”

Annie Baker with her twin brother George Baker

How shall the written word express such cherished thoughts?
How do we write of love and sacrifice, of a joy and faith that touched every man, women and child within the sphere of her influence?

That Miss Baker gave service to Queensberry Street is factually so, but it is only when we say she gave herself for Queensberry Street do we begin to really understand. Miss Baker did not “belong” ; she was “part” of this church.

Today there are those who remember back almost sixty years and testify to the faith and endurance of a small band of Christian teachers patiently unfolding to a group of young Chinese men, the intricacies of the English language and the simplicity of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

One of the teachers was a young women of infectious and spirited enthusiasm ~
her name ~ Annie Baker. Her energies seem tireless, and her love for her Chinese students unbounded.

So concerned was she with her task, that it was not long before she became a
vital and integral part in the whole program of the church. Apart from three
weekly evenings given to teaching English, she was organist for morning and evening Services every Sunday, and Superintendent of the Sunday School every Sunday afternoon.

It was inevitable that her interest in the work of this Church soon extended and indeed overflowed into the homes of these families. And so a dedicated teacher
and Church worker, became a trusted and loved friend of every Chinese family
that knew her.

Realising the loneliness of many of the womenfolk in a strange land, Miss Baker undertook to teach English to many wives, and continued to do so whenever she was called, even up to a short while before she died! So great was her love for her Chinese friends, that she would offer to help whenever and whatever the need.

Many a mother today will recall the selfless and joyous presence of this woman
of God in their homes and among their children, performing those countless and oftimes thankless chores of domestic routine. How she must have ignored her
own needs in preference of others!

Who amongst us today will remember those happy years before World War ll ?
Of Sunday School in the afternoons when these walls resounded mightily to the voices and singing of so many children? Of Miss Baker organising picnics, and
hikes and outings, and socials, and prize-giving and lessons and singing?
These are the things a child remembers, but a child can also remember the happiness, the patience and gentle love of a person.

The stress of the war years fell on Queensberry Street as it did elsewhere.
During these years, the many families moved away, and the central core of the Chinese population was scattered. Fears and tensions crept in where once there
was security and faith, and where once these walls echoed to the voices of
children, they were now quiet. These were dark years that matched the black
strips of curtain hung over the Church windows, but we see now that God’s light
was still shinning for the Chinese folk at Queensberry Street.

How many times Miss Baker switched on the light and waited in silence only to switch them off and close the Church doors behind her during those lonely years,
we shall never know. Sometimes she would be rewarded, and there would come somebody to worship with her or someone would come for English lessons, but
more often than not, hers would be a lonely vigil.

The bible says God rewards the faithful, and it was Miss Baker’s joy to see
members and the children gradually return to the Church.

The years have rolled on, the children of the pre-war years are now married, and Miss Baker is now the beloved teacher of their children. New members have
swelled the congregation. Only the Lord knows how many lives have been
touched for His Glory by her. One fact emerges here and now, is that those her knew her, were infinitely the better for it.

It was only until the impossible that Miss Baker gave up active work.
“ The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak”

In late February of this year, Miss Baker returned and entered
“Emmaus” Rest Home, where she was to spend her last months. Even then,
her thoughts and prayers were even with her “people”- her “children” of
Queensberry Street.

There is a badge – an outward adornment of those who are true disciples of the Lord – Jesus Himself declared: - “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”

Some are more learned than others, some posses greater talents some even
labour greatly for others, but scripture declares that if we “have not love, it profiteth me nothing”.

I Corinthians 13 is a picture of love that goes beyond human capacity. This
speaks of the love of Christ which passeth all knowledge.

The love that is given freely without thought of personal reward is not
reasonable from a worldly standpoint, but when it is charged from God Himself,
then we see a miracle here on earth.

Miss Baker wore that badge of discipleship that those outside of the Church
could recognise this – God was at work through her and we are humbled that
she was with us for so long.

Dare we say that Miss Baker was not consciously aware that she was practising
the principles of being a Christian? It would seem that God was so working in
and through this consecrated vessel, that those virtues we saw simply seemed
to flow from her as naturally as breathing.

There must have been times when the burdens of responsibilities became heavy
in her years of service, and in the latter part of her life, she was to know some loneliness, but she was ever above complaining, and frustrations.

I think of those two women who were so close to our Lord – Mary and Martha.
See these two – eager and longing to express their love for the Master. See
Martha with busy hands and feet seeking to serve with all her might, and Mary – sitting at His feet pouring onto Him, the most precious ointment she can find
in absolute devotion. See a blending of these two women as perfect sacrifices
and service, and see in Miss Baker, our symbol of Mary and Martha.

Memories are part of us all – some are cherished, some are best forgotten.
That God gave her as a special gift to us, there can be no doubt, for I know
thatour fathers, our children and we ourselves hold only beautiful and
cherished memories of her.

No longer shall that familiar and beloved figure move amongst us as of old.
Yet we shall always feel the gentle vital influence of her life here at
Queensberry Street.

She will ever remain with us, and we rejoice in one accord that now in the
presence of her Lord, her joy is now complete.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Chinese Church Of Christ
148 Queensberry Street
Carlton.

Church Notes 7th July 1963


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