Bishop of London celebrates 100 years of St John the Evangelist, Friern Barnet, and supports new youth outreach initiatives
The Bishop of London, Dr Richard Chartres, has joined the congregation of St John the Evangelist, Friern Barnet, and dignitaries including local MP and Minister, Theresa Villiers, in a service to mark the centenary of the church’s dedication and celebrate its extensive new plans for youth work.
The parish of Friern Barnet, which has recently merged with Emanuel Network Church (ENC), is undertaking a series of new initiatives to reach out to young people in the local area, with a youth committee of young volunteers devising a programme of outreach and a search for a part time youth worker in progress.
As part of the event, the Bishop blessed and dedicated the new Youth Bus, which is to be operated in partnership with the London Borough of Barnet, and leant his support to the extensive activities in youth work and other community issues being undertaken by the newly merged parishes.
Among the 300 attendees at the service were many local dignitaries including the Deputy Mayor of Barnet Barry Evangeli, Rt. Hon. Theresa Villiers MP, Member of Parliament for Chipping Barnet and Transport Minister, Hon. Mike Freer MP, Lord Lieutenant Martin Russell DL FCT & Mrs Brigid Russell, Cllr Kate Salinger, and representatives from St John’s CE Primary School, St John’s Ambulance, and the local uniformed organisations.
The Revd Germano Manjate, priest from St George’s, Beira, St John’s twin parish in Mozambique was also at the service.
Father Paul Walmsley-McLeod, Rector of St John the Evangelist, Friern Barnet, said:
“I was delighted to welcome the Bishop of London as the community joined together to celebrate our centenary and to share with him our plans for serving the community in the future.”
The construction of St John’s commenced in 1890 after a period of dramatic growth in the parish, caused by the arrival of the railway and the building of Colney Hatch Lunatic Asylum. Both the church’s architect, J L Pearson, and the Rector who had commissioned him sadly died before the completion of the church.
However, their respective sons took over both the parish and the architectural business and the finished building was dedicated by the then Bishop of London in 1911.