John & Henry Venn, Evangelical Divines

1 July -- Commemoration
If celebrated as a Lesser Festival, Common of Pastors, page 483

John Venn was born at Clapham in March 1759, where his father, Henry Venn Senior, was a curate. Later that year, Henry took his family to Huddersfield, where he had been appointed vicar, and they remained there until 1771. John was educated at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and became rector of Little Dunham in Norfolk and eventually of Clapham in 1792. He was one of the founders of the Church Missionary Society in 1797. It was here that he also became a central figure in the group of religious philanthropists known as the Clapham Sect. John was also an active participator in the movement for the abolition of the slave trade.

John's son, Henry Venn, was born at Clapham in 1796. After his time in Cambridge, he was ordained and held various livings, but in 1846 he devoted himself entirely to the work of the Church Missionary Society. He was secretary for thirty-two years and his organising gifts and sound judgement made him the leading spirit in the counsels of the Society. In his later years, he was recognised as a leader of the evangelical body of the Church of England. John Venn died at Clapham on this day in 1813 and his son Henry died at Mortlake on 13 January 1873.