Saint John's

Catford & Downham Team Ministry


March Lunchtime Recital

Our grateful thanks to Alexander Ling for coming at short notice to play for us today.  

Three incredible solo piano pieces:

In a Landscape      John Cage (1912 - 1992)

Piano Sonata no 2 'Concord, Massachusetts'  Mov.III "The Alcotts"   Charles Ives  (1874  -  1954)

Like Something Almost Being Said  (Movement I.)      Alexander Ling 

A most enjoyable 45 minutes.


St John's Senior Social Club :   

At our February meeting,  we welcomed back 

members of the Orpington U3A Recorder Group 

who played selection of music for us to join in 

and have a good sing-a-long to.   

Thank you to the group for coming and entertaining us. ......................

And we enjoyed our usual delicious refreshments (see photo below)

Well done St John's congregation  ...........

Your generous donations have enabled us to 'twin' the remaining three church toilets.

These photos show the twinned toilets in Central African Republic; Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo. 

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Toilet Twinning scheme:

Great news  -  thanks to donations from the First Friday and Wednesday Morning Coffee Clubs and the Christmas card donations, we have been able to purchase two toilets  -  one in Zambia and the other in Malawi  -  to 'twin' with two of our church toilets.

Further donations were received last Sunday (19 January) and we hope to raise sufficient funds soon to be able to 'twin' our remaining toilets.

Thank you to everyone who has taken an interest and given their support to this initiative.  

Further information about this scheme can be found on the notice boards at the back of church or go to


Sunday, 5 January: Epiphany

Our thanks to the Archdeacon of Lewisham & Greenwich, The Venerable Alastair Cutting for coming to St John's today and for the great sermon he gave.  It was involving, informative, interesting .... and humorous.


First Friday Coffee Club

The first club meeting of 2020 took place in church this Friday, 3 January with 25 people coming along !

It was nice to catch up with everyone and hear about their Christmas.

Happy New Year to everyone.   


Christmas at St John's

Thank you to our clergy (Fr Martin, Fr Christopher and Revd Margaret and our Reader, Alice) and our Choir for all the wonderful services over Christmas.  Midnight Mass was well attended and welcomed many people from the local community.  And there were around 80 in church at the Christmas morning Mass  -   the final service with Fr Martin.

Fr Christopher thanked everyone who had given of their time and services to help with all the tasks at St John's throughout Christmas.  

And after the service there were mince pies and fizz and a chance to say farewell to Fr Martin, Rachel, Eddie and Adam and wish them well for the future.



Senior Social Club Christmas Party

Last Thursday (19th December) St John's Senior Social Club held its Christmas Party.

Thank you to Nicholas for coming along and playing the musical accompaniment for our Christmas carols.  We had a great time!

And thanks to Gillian for the delicious refreshments.

Great fun was had by all of us.


Sunday, 15 December:   What a fantastic day at church today !  Great morning Mass with

Alice preaching.  Followed by a farewell lunch in the Church Hall for Fr Martin, Rachel 

and family.  And then it was back over to church for a Christmas Organ Recital by

our Organist & Director of Music, Jack Stone, followed at 4pm by our Community Carol 

Service with lots of lovely Christmas Carols and wonderful singing from St John's Choir.

Finally, thank you to everyone who gave donations or took part in the raffle in aid of

Crisis this Christmas.  We will let you know the total sum raised...........

Update:  The total sum raised for CRISIS was a magnificent £667.84  -  enough to cover 

the cost of 23 places.


Christingle service was held at 4pm today (1 Dec) on this, 

the First Sunday of Advent.

Lots of oranges, sweets, candles ...............


Remembrance Sunday :  

A very moving service today led by Fr Christopher and Revd Margaret, which included 

the Act of Remembrance and a 2 minute silence.  Thank you to Barry for reciting the 

Exhortation and the Kohima Epitaph and Jack for playing the Last Post, Reveille and 

Nimrod.   Members of the congregation laid their poppies on a cross in front of the altar.


St John's Senior Social Club :  11th Birthday

At the end of October, St John's Senior Social Club celebrated

its 11th Birthday.

There was fabulous entertainment from John & Roslyn with 

Mick joining in for a special number.  

Thank you to all our fantastic members who have 

supported the club so loyally over the years and to all our 

helpers for their hard work ....... and delicious refreshments.

And that's around 10,700 cups of tea and counting !!!!!!!



A Pet Blessing Service 

took place on Sunday afternoon, 20 October.

Dogs, cats and a tortoise came to be blessed

accompanied by their human companions.


Mothers' Union enrolled new members during the 10:30am service on Sunday, 

20 October


October Lunchtime Recital  

"Go Out and Tell our Story"

African American Music in recognition of Black History Month


Rámond Mitchell (Tenor) and Alex Ling (Piano)

Our thanks to Rámond & Alex.  The audience at St John's were today treated to superb performances of a stirring program of music & song. 

9 October 2019


Catford Arts Trail

Over the past two Saturdays (28 Sept & 5 Oct), St John's church took part in the Catford Arts Trail;  displaying our large

collection of church kneelers and with demonstrations of tapestry and cross-stitch.  There were also activities for 

children and, of course, refreshments.

It was wonderful to welcome visitors on the arts trail, some of whom had connections with St John's going back many 



First Lunchtime Recital given by

St John's Church Director of Music

On Wednesday, 11 September at 12 noon our newly appointed Director of Music, Jack Stone gave an Organ Recital, performing Grand Sonata on the 94th Psalm composed by Julius Reubke (1834-1858).

The church was filled with sound from a stirring performance by Jack of a piece of music variously described as 'one of the greatest organ works in the Romantic classical repertoire'; a 'masterwork' for the organ.

Thank you Jack.   Looking forward to future performances.


Mass to Celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the Ordination to the Priesthood of
Reverend Margaret Engler

On Saturday, 7 September a special Mass was held at St John's, presided by the Venerable Alistair Cutting, Archdeacon of Lewisham.   St John's was packed with family, friends, colleagues and the congregations of many churches to celebrate this great achievement and milestone in the ministry of Revd Margaret.  
This was followed by a reception held in the Church Hall.  Many thanks to all those who prepared the delicious refreshments and helped on the day.



Sunday 1st September:  Today we welcomed our new Director of Music, Jack Stone as well as three new members of our choir.  

The church resounded to wonderful music, hymns and singing.


Appointment of Director of Music:

St John's DCC are pleased to announce the appointment of a new Director of Music.  Jack Stone will take up the position with effect from 1st September and we look forward to welcoming him then.


The July Lunchtime Recital was given by Avis Stark (Cello) and Angela Carey (Piano)

performing :

Cello Sonata in G minor Op. 19 by Rachmaninov:  Lento-Allegro Moderato; Allegro scherzando; Andante; Allegro mosso.

Beautiful performances.


Fr Christopher Rogers ordained priest ......................  Congratulations to Fr Christopher who was ordained priest on Saturday, 6 July at St James, Bermondsey.  
He took his first Mass at the 10.30 service at St John's on Sunday, 7 July where the congregation included family and friends.
This was followed by a celebration lunch in the Church Hall.


St John's Festival 2019

The Festival week began on:

Saturday, 15 June with our Summer Fayre.  Thank you to everyone who helped and to those who came along to support the event.  It was lovely to see so many people from the local community. 

On Saturday evening, St John's welcomed The Youth Ensemble of the Kaarli Church, Tallinn, Estonia - who performed for us a stunning programme of religious folk songs as well as classical pieces.  Our grateful thanks to this talented young choir for coming to participate in our Festival - what a fantastic start to our week ...........

Monday, 17 June
Today's lunchtime audience were superbly entertained by Charles Eastwood, a very talented young tenor and pianist. Charles gave us a varied programme opening with Bach's Allemande from French Suite No. 4; then works by Purcell, Handel, Gluck and  Chopin's Nocturne in G min op. 37 no. 1.   
The programme continued with a piece written by Dave Brubeck arr. J. Treweek In your own sweet way and a resounding rendition of This is the Moment from the musical Jekyll and Hyde (written by Bricusse/Wildhorn).  Charles concluded his recital by playing and singing Billy Joel's Just the way you are.
Many thanks to Charles for a wonderful performance.  (SW)

Charles Eastwood

Monday Evening, 17 June ....
This evening we were truly privileged to attend a stunning performance given by the Irish Chamber Collective.  A group of professional musicians :
David O'Leary & Roisin Walters - violins;   Ruth Gibson  -  viola;   Sarah McMahon  -  cello
performed 3 Divertimenti for String Quartet (Britten); Duo for violin and viola no. 1 (Mozart); 3 pieces for String Quartet (Stravinsky) and 4 movements from the String Quartet in F minor op. 80 (Mendelssohn).
Mesmerising  -  Moving  -  Magical  -  Magnificent!  (SW)

Tuesday, 18 June:
An evening of Madrigals, Anthems and Poetry:   
This was a great opportunity both to hear Fr Martin sing and to listen to his work which was the choir's encore.  The singing was interspersed with poetry read by Fr Christopher, Fr Martin and Frankie Turner.  With the theme of Love and Loss, one could have thought that the evening would leave the audience feeling down but instead they were left lifted and inspired.  (FT)

Wednesday, 19 June:
Lunchtime Talk:  Dance and the Divine:  Fr Christopher gave a very in-depth and thorough lecture focusing on ballet and the many ( some clear, some subtle and hidden) links to Christianity within the dances.  He shared videos to show examples and explored this art form that he is so passionate about with clear love and expertise.
Wednesday Evening: Artist in Residence Concert:  Francis Devine, Pianist.  Frances gave a performance that showed the range of his talents.  In the first half, he focused on more classical pieces, including a Debussy number which he played from memory and moved many of the audience profoundly.  After the interval, he moved on to contemporary styles, including some pieces of his own composition.  These involved lifting the lid of the piano and playing the strings within; also playing an electric keyboard with one hand and the grand piano with the other!  An exceptionally skilled young talent.  (SH)


On Wednesday, 15 May St John's welcomed back the very talented classical guitarist, 

Harold Gordon-Smith.  Our grateful thanks to Harold for a truly superb performance!


Sunday, 28 April:  
Congratulations to Fr Martin who took part in  -  and successfully completed  -  the London Marathon!   A fantastic achievement.
Fr Martin was running to raise funds for Alzheimer's Research UK as part of the Dementia Revolution campaign.  He can still be sponsored at:



Easter Day, 21 April:
A packed church for the Easter Day service.  Thank you to our clergy, servers and choir for all the services during Holy Week. 
Well done to all who joined in the Easter bonnet parade.  Fr Christopher was asked to judge and choose a winner - a very difficult task as all were so good!

During the service, we sadly had to bid farewell to our Director of Music, Nicholas Wibberley - who is moving on to join a church in Orpington.  Thanks Nick for all you have done for the music ministry at St John's over the past three years, including the introduction of Choral Evensong and monthly Lunchtime Recitals.  And, of course, your inspirational work with our choir.  We will miss you, your wonderful organ playing and incredible singing voice.  Good luck and best wishes.

Following the service, there was an Easter Egg Hunt for the children.


Saturday. 13 April:

A packed church for the 4pm Evensong - with our Choir 

and Rector in fine singing voice.

This was followed by a party to celebrate David Smith's 

upcoming birthday and to recognise his significant 

achievements at St John's over a period of 60+ years.

During the service, David was presented with a special 

medal from the RSCM.

Also, Bishop Christopher, Bishop of Southwark conferred 

on David the Lancelot Andrewes Medal in recognition 

of his 'Zeal for the Gospel and Godly Service'.

It was wonderful to see so many people at St John's to celebrate with David, including his

family & friends; past & present members of the choir; a former church organist; a

previous curate of St John's and many more ............ 


Thank you to everyone who helped to make the 

daffodil posies for Mothering Sunday.

A very enjoyable couple of hours


Thursday, 14 March:  Dance Workshop

The first of three workshops and what a great time we had !    Why not pop along and join us for the second session on Thursday, 21 March from 3.30 to 4.45 pm


Friday, 1 March:   World Day of Prayer
Come  -  Everything is Ready!
Thank you to Catherine and Sheila for organising the service and to all those who took part with readings. This year the service was written by the women of Slovenia.  We listened to their stories, heard Slovenian music and sang hymns. 
St John's church welcomed many visitors from nearby churches.  Thank you to all who came along.
After the service, everyone was invited to refreshments at the back of church.  A good time to socialise.


23 February:  Barn Dance
Great evening of fun and dance.  Thank you to Catherine & Sheila for organising the evening and to all who helped with the event.  And to our excellent caller.

13 February: Lunchtime Recital

Today we were treated to a superb recital by the very 

talented Cellist, Tessa Seymour.


21 - 27 January .............
Congratulations to Shea, our Online Missioner, who has just completed a week as Guest Host of the Twitter account  -  OurCofE.    

Saturday, 19 January 2019:  

The year got off to a flying start with our Parish Dinner and Carradine's Cockney Sing-a-

Long.    The food was delicious and the entertainment first-class.  What a great time we 

all had.  Many of us virtually sang ourselves hoarse !  

Along with a quiz, a raffle and some dancing -  what more could we want.


Saturday, 22 December:  Members of St John's choir and


congregation took to local streets to sing Christmas

carols - making stops at a number of houses. 

Thank you to all for bringing joy and Christmas cheer.


Saturday, 1 December:  Christmas Bazaar:  A super festive Community event held today in St John's.  Thank you to the Bellingham Community Gospel Choir for joining us and entertaining with a selection of Christmas songs.  The children then put on a Nativity play.
Thanks also to everyone who helped at the event and to everyone who came along on the day.

Saturday, 24 November: Evensong for Christ the King:  Thank you to St John's Choir for 

their beautiful singing at Evensong.  And for the refreshments after !

Sunday, 18 November : StJohn's@4:   What an amazing time in church this afternoon at the Pet Blessing service.  Lots of people came along with their pets -  great and small. Thanks Revd Nick for taking the service.

Sunday, 11 November to Sunday, 18 November:  Our thanks to all who came to visit our commemorations for the 100th anniversary of the ending of the First World War.

Saturday, 17 November:  Thanks to everyone who came along to the Trash and Treasure table sale.

Saturday, 11 August 4pm at Southwark Cathedral  ......  St John's Choir joined in centuries of tradition by singing Choral Evensong in our Diocesan Cathedral at Southwark.  Members of St John's church were in the congregation to hear our choir give a wonderful performance.  Fr Martin sang a solo and Fr Christopher read one of the Lessons.  They were also joined by The Reverend Canon Jonathan Boardman, former Team Rector at St John's from 1996 to 1999, who read the Second Lesson and led the Prayers.
Well done to our Musical Director, Nick and to everyone in the choir.


Another fabulous lunchtime recital ...............

this time thanks to Jeanine Johnson & Nicola Billington :   Soprano & Piano

with a selection of music from the musicals  Chattanooga Choo-Choo; How does a moment last forever; Summertime; As if we never said goodbye; About a quarter to nine; She used to be mine; Second-hand Rose and Show Me

Fantastic !

Pilgrimage to Walsingham:   Members of our Youth Group, youth leaders and clergy have just returned from Walsingham and reported on their experiences at StJohn's@4 on 5 August.  It is clear they found their time at this sacred place both inspirational and uplifting....... as well as being good fun and an opportunity to meet with other young people on pilgrimage.  Thoughts are already turning to next year !


A magnificent Lunchtime Recital ............

Nine of Robert Louis Stevenson's (44) Songs of Travel were set to music by Ralph Vaughan-Williams.

On Wednesday, 11 July a stirring performance was given by the very talented Nicholas* Wibberley (tenor) and Roger Wibberley (piano); father & son appearing together in a duet concert for the first time.

Congratulations and thanks for a wonderful performance.

* Nicholas is Director of Music at St John's church


Welcome to Fr Christopher:  

On Sunday, 1 July we had a great day welcoming Fr Christopher, our new Curate, to his first service with us at St Johns.  This was followed by a Bring and Share lunch with members of all four churches in our Parish joining in.  


St John's Patronal Festival - Sunday. 24 June

We were so pleased to welcome both Bishop Christopher, Bishop of Southwark and also The Venerable Alastair Cutting, Archdeacon of Lewisham & Greenwich to preside, preach and help us celebrate our Patronal Day on Sunday, 24 June.  

We were also thrilled to welcome Philip Moore (organist and composer) for the world premier of his The Record of John -  a new work specially commissioned for our Festival.  And how wonderful it was sung by St John's choir for the first time.

The service was followed by a BBQ in the grounds of the church.  The weather was sunny and hot, hot, hot.  Thank you to Stephen and family for the delicious food.  


Many thanks to Frankie and to everyone who took part in or helped to make the inaugural St John's Festival such an interesting, inspiring, innovative and educational week.  And fun too !  

St John's Festival week :
Began on Saturday, 16 June :
with our Summer Fair.  The weather was kind to us and we had a wonderful day, attended by members of our congregation and the local community.  Music, Raffles, Tombola, Face Painting, Book stall; Bric-a-Brac, Cakes, Toys, BBQ, Plants, Refreshments and much more.   And entertainment from the talented South London Samba drummers.

Sunday, 17 June: Following on from StJohns@4, there was a Romanian Evening of Culture with great food, music and dancing with our friends from Holy Trinity Church.

On Monday, 18 June we enjoyed :
A Lunchtime Organ Recital given by Marcus Wibberley - the programme contained works by Johann Sebastian Bach; Naki Hakim; Josef Rheinberger and Jean Sibelius.
The day concluded with an Illustrated Talk given by Fr Charles Pickstone on the subject of St John the Baptist in Art:  including paintings by Bellini; Leonardo da Vinci; Caravaggio; Giovanni di Paolo; Raphael.  A very interesting and enlightening talk !

Tuesday, 19 June:  Feature Festival Concert 7.30pm - Superb performances from the Hammig String Quartet and Clare Wibberley, piano.  Featuring Beethoven (String Quartet op 18 no 4 in C minor) and Brahms (Piano Quartet op 26 in A).

Wednesday, 20 June: Lunchtime :  Cherry Potts (poet, novelist and publisher) gave a fascinating introduction to the background of the Solstice Shorts Festival and previewed her new book Dusk (an anthology of short stories and poetry).     Evening Talk:  Dr Roger Wibberley gave a tour through music dedicated to St John the Baptist with excerpts from the 12th century to the present day.  

Thursday, 21 June:  Lunchtime recital of Music and Poetry : Music Miserere Mei sung by St John's Consort ( a professional chamber choir) interspersed with selected poetry readings.  In the Evening there was a concert given by Tradewinds (an all-female a capella choir).  Super entertainment from this great choir.

Friday, 22 June:  A evening of Jazz 'n' Gin with live music from The Mark Chapman Quartet and cocktails provided by Little Nan's Cocktail Bar.

Saturday, 23 June: Evening performance of Art Sung: Alma Mahler devised and directed by Elizabeth Mucha. A fascinating and innovative performance recounting in words and music the relationship of Alma and her husband (the famous composer) Gustav Mahler.  Wonderful performances from talented artists.  


Enjoying Afternoon Tea at the Mother's Union June meeting  -  in support of the Summer of Hope appeal.

Another wonderful Lunchtime Recital :  Wednesday, 13 June:

Our thanks to Andrew Gallacher (piano) and Simon Purdy (violin) for giving us a superb recital which included works of Schubert (Sonata no. 14 in A minor); Debussy (Estampes) and Mozart (Sonta for Violin and Piano in E minor.

The talent of all our guest musicians never fails to impress and move us !


Our April Lunchtime Recital:

Tenor and Piano

What a truly exquisite performance from these two talented young musicians.

Some of us (mentioning no names) were actually moved to tears!


Welcome to our visitors .........

(photo by Sonia, Sunday, March 18, 2018)


Saturday, 3 March :  A superb Organ Concert given by Marcus Wibberley including works by Bach (Toccata and Fugue in D minor); Franck (Andantino in G minor); Widor (Toccata - Symphonie V); and Vahi (Chant of Lunar Rainbow).  

Our thanks to Marcus for a wonderful evening's entertainment.  And also our thanks to everyone who braved the still inclement weather to attend the concert.


We would like to thank all the wonderful musicians who have performed for us at St Johns at our monthly Wednesday Lunchtime Recitals and our special evening Concerts.


Sunday, 17 December : Community Carol Service.  Thank you to our wonderful choir, guest readers and to everyone who came along to join in the carol service.  Followed by mulled wine and mince pies. Also thanks to everyone who supported the collection for CRISIS.

Thank you to Tamara Ravenhill (soprano) and Martin Sharpe (piano) for a great Lunchtime Recital at St Johns on Wednesday, 13 December.


Superb Piano Duet concert from Yuko Yagishita and Asami Hirayama at St John's church on Saturday evening, 9 December.  A magical performance by these two talented young artists, the programme included works by Chopin; Debussy; Dvrak; Kapustin; Saint-Saens; Schubert and Tchaikovsky.


Great Christmas Fayre on Saturday, 2 December. Thank you to everyone who helped on the stalls and to all the people who popped in to the Church Hall and supported us. We hope you all enjoyed yourselves.


Sunday, 26 November:  We are pleased to announce that we now have Free WiFi both in church and in the church hall.  


Beautiful Choral Evensong service in church on Saturday, 25 November, followed by prosecco and nibbles.  It might have been cold and dark outside, but the church looked lovely and was warm and welcoming.  Congratulation to Nick - the choir sang magnificently.  Thank you to everyone who came along. It was also lovely to welcome one or two new people to St Johns. We hope you will join us again in the future ......

On Friday, 17 November three yew trees were planted in the church grounds as part of Trees for Sacred Spaces ( see below)

Wednesday, 8 November:  Lunchtime Recital

We enjoyed a wonderful piano recital in St John's Church, listening to an incredible performance by Maulen Alimbayev.  The programme included Sonata in D major and Sonata in g minor by Domenico Scarlatti; Reverie 1890 by Claude Debussy and Sonata in C major by Sergei Prokofiev.

Thank you Maulen for coming to St John's - the experience was magnificent !


Saturday, 7 October:    The first Pet Blessing service to be held at St Johns!  Dogs (large, small and mini) and a rabbit. Thank you to Revd Nick for presiding and to everyone who brought along their pets. 


St Johns Church was very pleased to welcome the new Bishop of Woolwich Rt Revd Dr Karowei Dorgu at Pentecost with a series of special events including lunch, greeting and service.