St John's tries to take a lead on responding to the climage emergency. We are the home of Faith for the Climate, which brings together faith groups across the country working on climate change.
Our Vicar, Giles Goddard, is chair of Faith for the Climate and also on the Church of England's Environment Working Group. The Environment and Social Justice group at St John's is passionate about reducing our carbon footprint and making a difference on climate and biodiversity. We have received a silver EcoChurch award and are going for gold when the renovation is completed.
Our renovation plans will creating a green space both inside and out, where all our community can flourish. Our Reignite 2021 redevelopment will use solar panels and air-source heat pumps to create a pioneering carbon-positive crypt. And our wrap-around garden, a leafy oasis open to all in the heart of central London, will provide replenishing gardening work and a haven of wellbeing.
We’ll also grow with the technology, becoming fully carbon-neutral as soon as we’re able.
St John’s is a focal point for renewal. We believe in bringing people together from all backgrounds and communities, in harmony with their surroundings. Activists from Extinction Rebellion regularly find refuge in our crypt.
With Reignite 2021, we’re building a home for all our futures.
CHURCHYARD & GARDEN
St John’s is the proud steward of a beautiful churchyard and wide, undulating garden, right in the heart of London. With its landscape features, network of pathways, mosaic sculptures and the architect-designed 'Memory Bench', this is a treasured and welcoming sanctuary.
The garden is the winner of a Green Flag, the national standard for high-quality open spaces. It was awarded the Silver Eco-Church Award and in 2017, entering for the first time, won a London in Bloom Silver award. In 2018 the garden won Silver Gilt award.
We are currently in partnership with Roots and Shoots, providing monitored work experience for several Horticulture students.
Reignite 2021 will allow us to work with more volunteers to grow this leafy green sanctuary in the heart of central London.
Viv Williamson, St John's gardener, has planted pollution-reducing hedges (variegated aucuba and fatsia) at the street-facing corner of the churchyard. Their golden foliage traps pollution and creates a burst of colour in a shady corner.
St John's Churchyard also features a walnut tree, two beautiful cork trees grown from seed, blossom trees, three huge planes, a carefully planted Garden of Remembrance, an apiary in a bee-friendly location, a wild garden and a large parterre with box, bulbs, hellebores and many self-seeded echiums.
You can read Viv's excellent Spring gardening tips here
FAITH FOR THE CLIMATE
St John's is a founding member of Faith for the Climate, an interfaith network of 170 faith-based organisations and individuals working on climate change. Find out more about our work at www.faithfortheclimate.org.uk or follow us on Twitter at @fftcnetwork
In 2017 a beautiful bench was installed in St John's churchyard to celebrate the 200th anniversary of nearby Waterloo Bridge. Designed by Carles Dedeu of MSMR Architects (one of the sponsors of the garden, and based opposite the church), the bench was their contribution to the London Festival of Architecture.
Echoing the arches of Waterloo Bridge, it features the inspiring quote by the Anglican poet and priest George Herbert:
"Those who cannot forgive break the bridge over which they themselves must pass."
Another quote from George Herbert can also be seen in the mosaic freize on the side of the church.
The bench is positioned in a sunny spot below Herbert’s mosaic verse, so that the poet’s lines can be read and considered together. To read more about how the bench was conceived and fabricated, click here.