St John's New Church History
The Church Hall, next door to the old church, was built in 1936 on land which was sold to the Church by Herbert Kay (who retired from the Headship of the village school in 1939 after serving in that capacity since 1904).
A course of bricks is engraved with the initials of the Sunday School children of that time and of others who who each bought a brick to help to build the Hall.
The Hall was the only public building in the village at that time and was in use nearly every evening and weekend for village functions. This was particularly the case during the war years when the RAF had an operational airfield on Lawford Heath just three miles away. (All airfields were named after the parish the Control Tower stands in, in this case the only building on the airfield in Church Lawford Parish happens to be the Control Tower!).
The weekend dances held at the Hall were very popular with the RAF men and the villagers alike.
During the post-war years, the Hall became less of a popular venue as two other halls were built in the village and during the last twenty years of the century it was used almost solely by the Guides, Scouts and a dancing school - apart from infrequent private bookings and Church functions.
When the Old Church had to be closed in 1995, the Hall was taken into use as a Church and gradually all secular use was discontinued. The first service in what is now the New St John's Church was the Communion Service at 9.00am. on 26th November 1995 when the Celebrant was the Vicar, the Rev. P.M. Wilkinson assisted by the Reader, Mr. A.W. Webster.
The New St John's Church has been carefully and lovingly refurbished. It has been completely redecorated. The former kitchen has been converted into a Vestry and one of the cloakrooms has equipped for use as a small kitchen/servery. Exterior and interior doors have been provided for the former exterior porch and this is now a welcoming foyer. The floor has been completely carpeted - the cost being met by an anonymous donor.
Double glazed windows with a stained glass cross motif have replaced the old rusting window frames with their miscellaneous panes.
Infra-red heating has been installed. The wall lights were transferred from the old church - the cost of the installation having been donated as a memorial.
A cross has been fitted over the main doors and this is illuminated every evening.
The Font, Altar, Dais, Reredos shelf, Prayer Desk and Priest's Carved Chairs were transferred from the Old Church - as was a Welsh Bardic Chair which had been given to the Church by Mr. Arthur Wynn Jones, a former Head Teacher at the village school.
Sixty five upholstered chairs have been provided by donation - each one being bought by villagers or organisations as a memorial. Everyone who has attended Services in the new church is delighted with its furnishing and comfort. The movable chairs make it very versatile and an excellent venue for meetings and ‘seated’ functions. The first of these was the Passover Meal which was attended and greatly enjoyed by forty people in 2003.
An electric organ has been provided as a memorial.
An asphalt-surfaced car-park has been provided and this is available, at any time when a Service is not being held in the church, for cars belonging to people visiting the churchyards and for those making use of the lovely public footpath across the fields which starts across the road.
The development of the building is not yet completed. Various projects are planned . At the same time, the spiritual development of the Church goes on steadily.
A new Banner was dedicated in May 2004. This is shown in the picture below.....
A Processional Cross has been donated to St. John's Church by Arthur Webster in Memory of his wife Thea.
This mid-Victorian Processional Cross was in a very dilapidated condition having been badly repaired at some time and was minus its staff. It has been restored after 47 hours work by Arthur Webster and was dedicated at the Holy Communion Service at St John's on October 9th. The engraving round the collar reads 'In loving memory of Thea Webster'
To God be the Glory
Great things He has done