John Newman was born in London in 1801, the son of a banker. He went up to Trinity College, Oxford in 1817. He gradually moved away from evangelical Anglicanism to a more High Church understanding of the Christian faith. He was ordained in 1826 and two years later became Vicar of St Mary's, Oxford.
As the Oxford movement took off Newman's brilliant mind and eloquent pen provided much momentum for their cause. He pioneered the Tracts for the Times, writing three of the four.
Despite coming from an evangelical background, Newman came to reject its emphases, regarding its understanding of the Church as inadequate. and insistence on sole authority of Scripture as excessive.
While many of his colleagues never lost faith with the Anglican Church, Newman resigned as Vicar of St Mary's in 1843 and in 1845 was received into the Roman Catholic Church. One of the most brilliant theological minds of the 19th century was lost to the Church of England.
On the day we commemorate his passing here, in his own words, is 'The Mission of My Life'.
"God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told in the next. I am a link in. a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments.
"Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perlexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about."