Reigniting the Festival Church

Published by Giles Goddard on Mon, 19 Mar 2018 13:36
Vicar's Blog

It’s been a while since I updated everyone on development plans at St John’s. The good news is that things are proceeding apace.

Renovating such a large Grade II* listed landmark takes a huge amount of effort, planning and money. It isn’t something that can happen overnight. But as we move towards Easter 2018, I feel more confident than ever that our much-loved church will get its make-over soon.

Funding is looking good, though we still need to raise more. Our target sum is £3 million. We’ve raised about £1.5 million so far.

Much of this is due to the vision and generosity of you, the congregation and supporters of St John’s. Our development officer Jack Allen has also been working terrifically hard and almost every week brings more news of possible grants and funders.

The list of organisations that believe in St John’s enough to support us financially is impressive. City Bridge Trust, London Borough of Lambeth, Allchurches Trust, Bernard Sunley, The Rayne Foundation, Swire and Reaching Communities have all contributed to the development fund. I hope to announce more names soon.

We’re wide open to ideas of course; so if you know of potential funders who may want to support what we’re doing, please let me know.

Meanwhile, as many of you know, we received approval for 70% of our proposed work to renovate the ground floor and a large part of the church crypt.

Eric Parry, the architect we are working with, is responsible for several prestigious projects in London, including the restoration of St Martin-in-the-Fields Church in Trafalgar Square. His designs for the St John’s renovation are truly exciting.

The work, when it starts, will include a new foyer space with an improved entry, a reception area and broad view into the nave. There will be disabled access into the crypt, as well as a new staircase downstairs. The derelict vaults will receive a full renovation, as will the first suite of crypt rooms, with new toilets, a new kitchen and a large, open community space for heritage and arts training.

The crypt, when renovated, will provide a home for The Bridge at Waterloo, our community project that supports local people into employment.

While we continue to raise money to turn this vision into reality, we can of course start preparing for the renovation.

This July we will damp-proof the exterior forecourt. This will ensure that the crypt is water-tight and dry well into the future. It’s a big job, and involves taking up all the stone slabs in front of the church steps. During the renovation, access into the church will be through side entrances only. There will be signposts up showing the way.

We’ll be preparing the ground, quite literally, for our future renovation.

It takes hands and hearts, working together, to till the soil and build the vision that will make St John’s Waterloo truly fit for the 21st century.  As St Paul so eloquently put it: “whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” (2 Corinthians 9:6.)

Amen to that!

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