The Parish Church of St John-at-Hampstead

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October 2017

October in the church

Judy East

In 1744 the church was in so ruinous a condition that it was decided to knock it down and start again. 

What must that have felt like?

How hard must that have been for the congregation?   Probably many of them had been baptised or married in the building, some of their families might be interred there.  However dangerous (and it was so structurally unsound that they had had to remove themselves to the nearby assembly rooms in Flask Walk) there must have been a few tears shed with the demolition began.

Fortunately the new building, completed in 1747, was of much better construction and with the care lavished on it has stood firm now for 270  years.  Of course the building isn't as it was in 1747, it's been extended and improved many times - the chancel was added in 1878 when the whole interior was turned round, putting the altar at the west instead of the more traditional east end; the chapel and vestries were added in 1911.  The undercroft has undergone many alterations over the years to accommodate our changing needs.  And that's as it should be - worship isn't static and the life of the church dare not be if it is to flourish and so the building phases reflect that growth.  But it's the Dedication of the "new" building on 8th October 1747 that we celebrate on Dedication Sunday as we rededicate ourselves and our work to the glory of God.

Information about some of the work that we do to the glory of God can be found further on in this issue: two charities - updates on PSALM and AgeUK, exciting news about "Welcoming the Stranger" - our new initiative to support a refugee family; "Being Good Neighbours at Christmas" - preparing the Christmas hampers; events that bring newcomers to the church - the Magnard Ensemble Concert for young people, the Lunchtime events - musical and literary;  Desert island Discs, a Friends of the Music evening but open to everyone;  and not forgetting the Christmas Market - you knew I'd work it in somewhere, didn't you?  It's actually only 8 weeks away as I write and that's a scary thought! 

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