How we began! 

Oakwood Chapel was formally founded in 1962, when a small group of people saw the need for a church in the newly-developing area of Little Parndon. The work that became Oakwood Chapel actually began a few years earlier, when a Sunday School class was started in the Colt Hatch "common room", in 1957. We celebrated the 50th anniversary of the start of that work in September 2007. Some people from the early days are still regularly meeting here. We're looking forward to 2012 -- not just for the Olympics, but also to celebrate 50 years of Oakwood Chapel itself.

Who we are

Oakwood is an independent Evangelical church. That means that we don't "belong" to any denomination (although we have joined a group called the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches and we are happy to work with other Bible-centred churches, whether in Harlow or further afield, to promote God's work, wherever it is being done.

We are Christians from all over the town, although many live in the streets around the church, meeting at Oakwood regularly each Sunday and during the week. There's a good spread of ages, backgrounds and cultures represented.

We try to be friendly and welcoming, with most people are on first-name terms. You probably won't notice any special "dress-code". We're delighted if families want to join with us, and we do our best to make sure that every one feels welcome.

What we believe

We believe the Bible is the Word of God, and that it should determine all that we do. We believe that everyone has fallen short of God's perfect standards, and that the only way for us to be saved is by God's grace. "Through believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, his death and resurrection".

Church Leadership

Oakwood Chapel is led by two elders, Mike Hillyer and Martin Biddiscombe. Mike works full time for us. The eldership team meet regularly to discuss and pray about the ongoing and future needs of the fellowship and Little Parndon local area. They value your prayers.

Mike Hillyer / Pastor

Martin Biddiscombe / Pastor

Mike and Martin are supported by a leadership team who share the responsibility for, among other things:
Prayer, Outreach, Youth work, Finance and maintenance, Practical support for those in need, Social events

Our friends and partners 

Here's a selection of links to sites belonging to other organisations with which we are in some way associated...

The FIEC (Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches)

Aid & Development

Oakwood supports a number of missionaries in different places round the world who are working in different ways to both help the communities they're living among in practical ways and bring the Gospel to them. 

  • Lynn Wood: Lynn is working in Papua New Guinea. You can find out more about her here.
  • David Hillyer: David works for Fellowship Afloat. The Fellowship Afloat Charitable Trust provides exciting outdoor adventure activities for young people at Tollesbury, on the UK Essex coast.
  • Gavin & Elaine Charlton: Gavin & Elaine run an orphanage in South Africa, providing for the needs of children who have been left without parents because of HIV.
  • Kris & Lois Mediconda: Kris & Lois are working in India, training pastors.
  • Trevor Charlton:  Trevor works in Peru, where he is a teacher and is also involved in translating Christian literature into Spanish for publication and affordable distribution to local church leaders.
  • Others: We also support missionaries working in South-east Asia and in the Middle East. Due to the sensitivity of their situations, it is not appropriate to display their details here.