Thursday, January 19, 2012

Rev Owen Owens

The Rev Owen Owens, like Barnabas, was a son of consolation – a good man and full of the Holy Ghost. He was a preacher of power, manifesting many of the great qualities that have made Welsh preaching so famous. Fine and worthy though Mr Owens was in his public ministrations, with thoughts that soared, and language choice and melodious, it was the spiritual convictions that found expression and the gracious personality that made the biggest impression of all.
He was one of the army of men who came to South Africa for their health. When fresh from college at Pontypool, he accepted the call to Porth, near Cardiff, when the Tabernacle Church was at a very low ebb. The congregation was so small that they held their services in the vestry, till he got them to pray so fervently as to pray themselves out of it into the Church, which was filled full before he left it after 16 years, during which time two branches ere established which developed into independent churches.
When he came to Johannesburg and joined the Rev W. Kelly, he started working at Troyeville, much to the family’s dismay, when a soap box had to do duty for a pulpit. For a dozen years he laboured in the city here during very stirring times at the beginning of the century, and upheld the credit of Baptists by winning wise respect beyond our own borders. He also started a branch work at Germiston while with the Rev Kelly, which became a separate church. There are many people who look back to the days of his pastorate with gratitude to God and loving appreciation of the faithfulness of His servant. No words can fully express what many feel to one who opened to them the Book of Life and fed them from the choicest of the wheat.
After a return for a few years to his beloved Wales he came back again to this city, where some of his family had remained, and occupied himself with preaching Turffontein Congregational Church and in many other directions, till he gave himself to the East Rand Churches, working with the Rev E Rees Davies.
The loss of his beloved wife was a great blow to him, from which he never fully recovered.
Among his ministerial brethren he was always regarded with real respect and affection because of his personal character and kindly disposition.
Written by: Syd Hudson-Reed

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