John Owen Barn
Fordham, Essex CO6 3NL United Kingdom 01206 243262
The John Owen Barn (JOB) has been made available for Church use by the generosity of a family trust, and opened in the Summer of 2008. It boasts 3 function rooms, a large hall and a well equipped industrial kitchen. The JOB is available for use for events such as wedding receptions. Please contact the Church Office. for more information and booking.
Why is it called the John Owen barn? John Owen was born in 1616, the year that Shakespeare died. Owen led a high-profile life, and yet we know little about his personal life since none of his diaries and only a few of his letters have been preserved. He was tall, with a distinguished look, evident from his portrait in the National Portrait Gallery, and an easy and affable manner.
He played a significant part in the tumultuous events of the Civil War and Commonwealth, as a preacher to Parliament, a chaplain to Oliver Cromwell, Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University and a regular adviser in affairs of state.
His greatest and most lasting achievements were as a theologian, producing arguably the finest body of theological scholarship in the English speaking world. His works remain in print to this day and fill more than 16 thick volumes. One writer said they were to be valued ‘above all human writings for a true view of the mystery of the gospel’.
Owen’s first theological work, a spirited defence of Calvinism, gained him his first parish, of Fordham in north Essex, in 1643 aged 27. In his three years as pastor he focussed on parish work, writing one book, The Duty of Pastors and People Distinguished, and two catechisms for parishioners which begin: ‘Brethren, my heart’s desire and request unto God for you is, that you may be saved.’
Owen was a Puritan, which was a widespread movement in the Church of England to reform its worship towards liturgical simplicity and the centrality of preaching. He was to become the foremost advocate of Independent church government. Until the end of his life in 1687 his concern in everything was to promote the truth of the Bible and refute error, so that holiness might flourish and God be glorified.
The John Owen Barn was made available for church use with the same aim that, as the truth of the Bible is taught, God might be glorified.