Rev. Dr. Owen Chadwick passed away on July 17, 2015. He leaves behind a broad, deep, and long legacy that continues to have an influence on the academic world, the church, and the state. Chadwick was a humble man with a sharp intellect and the heart of a pastor.
An important scholar and churchman
Chadwick held two chairs at Cambridge University, headed the committee to restructure the Church of England’s government, and is responsible for making Cambridge University’s history program what it is today. During his academic career, he published influential works on a wide variety of topics. He and his brother Henry edited and wrote some of the content in Oxford History of the Christian Church . However, it was his research and writing on the Victorian period that made the largest academic impact. His two-volume The Victorian Church remains the definitive history of religion in nineteenth-century England.
A pastor at heart
But for all that, some of Chadwick’s most important work was the pastoral ministry he carried out with his fellow members of the Church of England—both lay and clergy—as well as his students. Chadwick spent so much time with his students, that he usually knew more about them than their own tutors and professors. He was known as a great listener who always made people feel heard and understood. Even his published academic work took on a warm, accessible nature with a sense of pastoral concern.
The last paragraph in the Guardian’s obituary for Chadwick sums up his character in all that he did:
It was that unhurried quality, the ability to make people think he had all the time in the world for them, and his unassuming manner with whomsoever he met, that made him special. He was equally accessible—and yet unfathomable—to all he encountered. His wider interests spanned painting, music, sport, and sailing. He spent much time in his later years in Cley-next-the-Sea, Norfolk, of which he was also priest in charge. He was fully active and alert academically and pastorally well into his 80s.
Read the complete obituary from the Guardian here.