Wynyard Ince Gibson Fountain – 1918-2011
Wyn Fountain was born in Auckland and raised in Herne Bay, Remuera and Mission Bay by his parents, Gibson and Sarah Fountain. His father was a city dentist and a Bible teacher at the Auckland Baptist Tabernacle.
He attended Auckland Grammar School from 1932-1934, where he became involved with Crusaders, a Christian high school movement (now ISCF). The summer camps at Ponui Island impacted his spiritual life as a teenager.
During World War II, he served four years as a YMCA welfare officer with the rank of lieutenant in the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force under General Freyberg in the Middle East and Italy. He was mentioned in dispatches for distinguished service in the field. The weekend his infantry battalion fought in the battle of El Alamein, he became engaged to Shirley Wilson, daughter of Tabernacle organist Arthur Wilson.
He and Shirley were married at Orakei Baptist Church on May 10, 1946. He worked as an accountant for Wright Stephenson Ltd in Auckland, Hamilton and Wellington. He and Shirley returned to Auckland after the birth of their first two sons Warren (1947) and Jeff (1949). Michelle (1954) and Marc (1960) completed the family.
Wyn entered the clothing industry in 1954 and in started his own business in 1960, W.I.G. Fountain Ltd, known today as Fountain Apparel Ltd, under Warren’s directorship.
Wyn served as an elder at the Baptist Tabernacle until 1978, led the Saturday night youth group and chaired the Baptist Youth Hostel Board. In the early 1960s he reinvested into Crusaders by leading the weekly meetings of the Auckland Grammar Crusader Union.
Wyn was also a founding member of the Auckland chapter of the Christian Business Men’s Association, CBMA, and served as its president. Later he helped found the first chapter of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship in New Zealand.
Wyn played a key role in the beginning of what later became known as the Charismatic movement through his relationship with Neville Winger and the Orama Christian Fellowship on Great Barrier Island in the mid 1960s. He had varying roles with Orama for the rest of his life.
In 1966 he and Shirley began hosting a prayer meeting in their Kohimarama home every Friday evening. Hundreds from many denominations experienced personal spiritual renewal through these meetings, including leading clergy.
This led to national involvement with a broad range of renewal initiatives, Protestant and Catholic, including the Charismatic Renewal Group and Life in the Spirit Seminars. An Anglican clergyman once introduced Wyn to two bishops as “the bishop of the Charismatic movement.”
Wyn was the first New Zealand chairman of Youth With A Mission, and remained on the board into the 1980s. Later, at the invitation of YWAM’s founder Loren Cunningham, he served on the International Advisory Committee for the University of the Nations.
By 1980 Wyn had handed over the clothing business to Warren. He served for a short term on the pastoral staff of what was then Valley Road Baptist Church and began to develop his Other Hundred Hours message and mentor younger business leaders in serving God in the marketplace.
Through his writing, seminars such as Salt Shaker seminars, Kingdom Forums and his biographical book Walking on Water, he developed a nationwide influence. He was a director of Challenge Weekly Publishing and founded the Positive Parenting Trust in 1988 to raise the quality of parenting skills nationwide. He was also a founding trustee of Maxim Institute.
Wyn met faithfully over two decades with a small, committed group of younger businessmen who gathered weekly to share their journeys.
Wyn and Shirley moved to Glendowie and settled into Hillside Community Church, which remained their church home. Wyn was a greatly loved and respected elder there.
One of Wyn’s loves was boating. After racing a sailing dinghy off Herne Bay as a boy and cruising with his father’s launch off Waiheke, he later provided his family with boating holidays on the Waitemata.
Wyn is survived by Shirley and 27 other family members spanning four generations, who live in New Zealand and the Netherlands.