Of the three churches in the Richmond Team Ministry, St. John the Divine is the one most closely identified with the Catholic tradition of the Church of England. The ethos is modern/liberal Catholic, with a liturgical style that is quite formal, though not – we hope! – stuffy.
The Eucharist is central to the life of the St. John’s community, and is the principal act of worship on Sundays and in the week. Vestments, candles and incense, together with a strong musical tradition and some fine art work (much of it influenced by leading figures of the Arts and Crafts Movement) add a great deal to the experience of worship at St. John’s. The beautifully sculpted Stations of the Cross are a valued devotional aid and the Lady Chapel is a particularly conducive environment for quiet contemplation and prayer.
The Anglo-Catholic tradition affirms the Church of England as part of the ‘one holy, catholic and apostolic Church’ attested to in the creeds. We value that rich legacy, whilst also taking seriously the call to proclaim the Gospel afresh in each generation, promoting theological thinking about the contemporary significance of the faith we have inherited, and furthering the spiritual growth of both laity and clergy. Tradition, we believe, is something which is fed not only from the past – the Scriptures, the Creeds, the Book of Common Prayer and the Thirty Nine Articles – but also from today, and all the potential of the future. In short, tradition is both organic and dynamic, encouraging openness of mind and heart as we seek to discern where God’s Spirit may be leading us.
This understanding takes seriously our contemporary social, cultural and spiritual context, and entails an active engagement with current issues and debates in the Church and in wider society. However, whilst recognising the breadth of opinion in the Church of England and in the wider Anglican Communion, we are clear in our support for:
All this, we believe, affirms an authentically catholic vision.
St. John’s strives to honour the best of the past whilst being open to the challenges and possibilities of today and tomorrow. Whatever your background, and wherever you may be on your own journey of faith – no entry requirements are needed and no questions are out of bounds! – you can be sure of a warm welcome from this diverse, friendly, accepting community and, if you wish, play your part in its ongoing life.