Logo of Oakwood Chapel
Logo of Oakwood Chapel

An Evangelical Church in Harlow, Essex

Our history

Oakwood Chapel began life in 1957, as a Sunday School class in the Colt Hatch common room, just over the road from the current church building. Five years later, in 1962 the church itself was founded, with the intention of bringing the gospel to the newly-developing area of Little Parndon. Our church building was built almost entirely by the members of the congregation back in the early 1960s, and there are many stories to be told of how God faithfully provided what was needed, whether people with just the right skills, or financially, as the work progressed.

Who we are

Oakwood is an independent Evangelical church. We don't belong to any formal denomination, but 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 and nearby villages, although many live in the streets immediately around the church. We meet at regularly each Sunday and during the week. The members of our congregation come from a wide spread of ages, backgrounds and cultures.

We hope you'll find us to be friendly and welcoming. You probably won't notice any special "dress-code" – we think it's more important that you come to share fellowship and listen to God's word than it is to dress up in clothes you'd otherwise hardly ever wear! We're delighted if families want to join with us and we do our best to make sure that whether you're young or old, or anywhere in between, you'll feel welcome.

Church membership

We always welcome anyone to attend our services and join in with church life at Oakwood, but we believe that if you consider us to be your "church home", then you should seriously consider becoming a formal member of Oakwood Chapel. We believe that church membership is an important part of Christian life.

What does membership mean?

When you become a member of Oakwood Chapel -- or any other church like ours -- you are choosing to make a commitment to the church and a covenant with the other church members. It means you are committing yourself to attend the services regularly, and making the church a priority in your life; it means you are committing yourself to pray for the work of the church, give to the church, and serve the other members of the church family as you are able and as God has gifted you. It also means that you are acknowledging the role of the church in helping you grow as a Christian, and choosing to accept the authority of the elders when they advise you on spiritual matters and encourage you to repent of sin. It's also recognising the role of the other church members in supporting you in your Christian life.

Who can become a member?

Membership of Oakwood Chapel is open to all those who have a personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, have confessed their sins to him and sought God's forgiveness through Jesus' sacrificial death on the cross, and have been baptised as believers. Please speak to the elders if you are interested in becoming a member of Oakwood Chapel.

What we believe

Most importantly, we believe the Bible is the Word of God and that it should determine all that we believe and do. We believe that everyone has fallen short – and continues to fall short – of God's perfect standards and that by ourselves there's nothing we can do about it. The only way for us to be saved from the judgement we deserve is by God's grace, through faith in Jesus Christ, and in particular his death and resurrection.

This is set out more fully, in our Statement of Faith, below.

Statement of Faith


  1. The Divine Inspiration, Authority and Sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures.
  2. The Unity of the Godhead, with the distinction of Persons in the Unity, namely the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, to whom equal honour is due. God is unchangeable in his holiness, justice, wisdom and love. He is the almighty Creator; Saviour and Judge who sustains and governs all things according to his sovereign will and for his glory
  3. On the birth, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ:
    1. That the Son of God truly became man, being begotten of the Holy Spirit, and born of the virgin Mary, and lived a sinless life in obedience to his Father.
    2. That he died a sacrificial death as man's representative and substitute to redeem man from the guilt, penalty and power of sin.
    3. That he rose again from the dead, ascended into heaven, where he intercedes with the Father on our behalf, and will personally return
  4. All men and women, being created in the image of God, have inherent and equal dignity and worth. Their greatest purpose is to obey, worship and love God. However, as a result of the fall of Adam, all men and women have become "lost in sin", "without strength", and "at enmity with God".
  5. The need of the Holy Spirit's work in regeneration and sanctification.
  6. On justification and sanctification:
    1. That the justification of the sinner before God is by grace, through faith alone.
    2. That every justified one is also born of God.
    3. That such new birth results in, and is made evident by, holiness of life and good works.
  7. On death and eternity:
    1. That at death the spirit of man does not cease to exist or become unconscious.
    2. That the dead will be raised either to life or to condemnation; and that the blessedness of the righteous and the punishment of the unrighteous will be alike eternal.


  1. The customary observance of the ordinance of Believers' Baptism by immersion on personal confession of faith, and the commemoration of the Lord's death in the Breaking of Bread on the first day of the week in so far as circumstances allow.
  2. The reception at the Lord's Table of all Believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.
  3. The conducting of meetings for worship towards God and the preaching of God's Word under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, with opportunity for the exercise in the assembly of all true gifts for edification, subject to the Lordship of Christ


We are affiliated to FIEC - the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches. FIEC is not a denomination in the way that, for example, the Methodist or Anglican churches are, or that the Baptist Union is. Every church affiliated to FIEC is fully independent, but we hold to a core set of beliefs, and we recognise that Independent churches work best when they work together. FIEC provides a support network for churches and their leaders, which we value.