John Barber was born at Rochford Hospital, just outside Southend, in 1951. He grew up and has lived there for most of his life. He lives with Jolly (his wife), Matthew (his son) (now studying away at Aston University) and three cats! He holds three degrees: BA (Hons.), B.Sc. (Hons.) and PGCE. He has had three careers: as a secondary school science teacher, as a software engineer and computer consultant (including 12 years running his own business) and as a community worker, and has been involved in serving the community, in a wide variety of ways. He has been doing this in a full time (some paid; but these days unpaid) capacity since 2001.

india family

John with his “India” family

He reflects on these wide ranging activities and his observations in his book: “Outside the Camp” – which was intended at telling his story and setting the record straight, and to encourage current and future community activists. Around four years ago, he published four further books, all to do with various aspects of his community interests. All five books are available as free downloads from this website, as are some of his other writings, produced over the years. No plans are being made yet to produce in print form and there are further books in the pipe line that relate to his interests. He is currently working on producing a book titled “Solomon’s Song of Songs”, a culmination of fifty years of thought, which reflects many of his deepest longings, and still hopes to produce this. Most recently he has published twelve e-books based on his blogs, also downloadable from this website (click on the “Writings” tab).

He continues with a variety of hands-on community activities that cover a variety of interests. He facilitates and is chair of the Southend homeless action network (SHAN), networks and consults widely and is involved in various activities to serve the community. He is also involved with Street Spirit, where he is also chair, a sort of soup kitchen. He is especially interested in helping the homeless, including managing one of the churches homeless night shelters, running from November to March each year. He is involved with other activities too e.g. inter-faith dialogue, helping sanctuary seekers and advising and simply mucking in with charitable enterprises. He is active in his own local church, including as a preacher and teacher and having served many years as an elder in a Brethren assembly (these days he is a member of a Grace Baptist church), and works among churches wider afield, regardless of label, despite being Reformed in his theology. He writes and blogs regularly. He writes about culture wars and this often brings him into conflict. He has a particular interest in and love for India, where he has family and friends, visiting when he can. He takes particular interest in Israel / Judaism and the Middle East / Islam and is a critical friend of Jews and Muslims alike. He reads widely (especially the Bible), enjoys walking in the great outdoors, follows numerous sports especially cricket, listens to the news from various sources and regularly plays chess as part of a local chess team and playing online. He is “retired” and is grateful God gives him strength and opportunities to do this and to be able to make a difference.

Back to the website – it is, as the strap line at the top of each page says under the author’s mug shot, intended to be a place to deposit (some at least) of the “thoughts, publications, activities and interests of John Barber“. Most of the content can be accessed via the tabs below the strap line. It was envisaged that the website will continue to be regularly updated, especially the blog (the main feature of the website), and so far this has happened.  Check out here for the list of his older blog entries and here for a list of his more recent entries. The number of blog entries now exceeds 1000 and covers a wide range of subjects and is intended as a commentary on his times from his perspective as a gospel preaching community activist wanting to provide balanced insights albeit based on his own theological understanding and interests. He sees his roles as a watchmen, concerned not just with some of the not good goings in the world but also that people should be aware, especially his main constituency – the Christian church. In fairness, there is a lot of good things happening too, which for the sake of balance is also discussed. He posts typically every other day on topical subjects that captures his imagination and engages regularly in dialogue, e.g. via social media. He hopes to add regularly his blog, as time and opportunity allows and as God enables. He realises there is much he doesn’t know, which he must leave to others, but given we live in turbulent times and we need watchmen to say what is happening and our response. He is particularly committed to serving God’s mystery: the Church. He hopes to play his part and give God glory, including passing the baton to the next generation of God’s servants.

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About the Writings: this is an opportunity to access the author’s main writings over many years and are available as free downloads.

About the Blog: in the first few months since it started, entries on a wide range of subjects have been added at a rate of more than two a week and this has continued, with the rate of posting also increased. In the first year of blogging, over 200 entries were posted and this rate of posting continues to be maintained (well past 1000 entries at the time of writing).  Check here for a list of click onable titles. This is regularly maintained and serves as an index to each posts, which can then be accessed. Initially the comments facility was disabled as the author felt it could distract from its main purpose and it needed to be managed. But that has since changed though, given that healthy debate is invariably helpful. People are invited to comment provided it is relevant and respectful. The blog makes extensive use of hyperlinks – so things being referred to on the world wide web or on this website can be more readily accessed.

About SHAN: this relates to an organisation that deals with some of the author’s main community activist interests, especially around homelessness, and contains some helpful links and resources. This contains the latest rough sleeper leaflet and details of meetings.

About the Gospel: as one who has been called to preach and sees it as his main activity, it seemed appropriate to the author that he could do just that using his website. It is a brief, direct, no nonsense, no frills presentation of the most important message ever!

About About: nothing more to say – this page is it and has been produced to help visitors navigate their way around this website.

About Links: this relates to the main websites (all currently maintained) regularly accessed by the author, in particular those used when setting up this website. Each website address is pointed to along with a short description. We have checked out each link and confirm they work and the information is currently being updated. The author recognises there are many other useful links to do with community etc., but in this instance has confined this section to those links he refers to on at least an intermittent basis.

About News: this provides information about things going on in the author’s life, things he is involved with and things he would like to plug. It was intended to prefix items of interest on a regular basis as matters arise, although it has been a bit hit and miss thus far!

While he won’t commit to having protracted dialogues, he welcomes respectful and meaningful exchanges, including feedback and questions, even from and with those who disagree with him. The author is of the view that the overriding consideration ought not be pride, prejudice or eloquence but rather truth, righteousness and justice, along with meekness, humility and grace.

Note: for those not familiar with hyperlinks, this technique is used in many websites – you place your mouse cursor over highlighted or underlined text, left mouse click and, providing ti corresponds to a valid Internet address, up pops a page of information etc. relating to that text. Hyperlinks have been used extensively in this website and what a boon this is when providing more information! (Suggestion: move your cursor over the word “hyperlinks” and click your left mouse button to find out more on this subject. Afterward, click on the left arrow at the top of the screen to return to where you were).

You can contact John Barber at: jjandm.barber@blueyonder.co.uk

You can also telephone him 01702-616302 (leave a message if no reply). John is also a regular Facebook user and posts regularly (https://www.facebook.com/john.barber.3956) and he frequently emails community and other updates to those on his mailing lists.

last updated 01 February 2018