Bishop of Southwark opens new community hall after ordaining deacons as priests

Updated: Dec 12, 2019

St John the Evangelist’s church opened its new community building on Saturday 7 July 2019 – a quarter of a century after it was first thought about.


The Rt Rev Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark, officially opened the £2.3 million building which sits next to St John’s Church, Redhill’s oldest church which is situated in Church Road, Earlswood, on the edge of Meadvale.


The ribbon cutting took place after Bishop Christopher and The Rt Revd Jonathan Clark, Bishop of Croydon, had conducted an ordination service of two priests, The Rev Dr Stephen Srikantha, of St John’s, and The Rev Mark Anderson from the Oxted Team Ministry, in the church. Both were making the step from deacons to priests.


The new centre boasts a kitchen and main hall - which will host its first wedding reception next Saturday, 14 July, for two parishioners of St John’s – a performance space, music rehearsal room, a youth den, a prayer space and parish office, all of which have been desperately needed to help the church accommodate its expanding needs and also to carry out its mission in the community.


The exterior of the building has been constructed using the same stone as the church itself, which was built in the 1840s as an overspill church of the parish of Reigate.


The Rev John Kronenberg, vicar at St John’s, said: “A lot of hard work has gone into making sure this building came to fruition, from conceiving the idea 25 years ago, to gaining planning permission and fundraising and not least in the last six months to finish the fit out inside so that it can be used to carry out our mission by having a wonderful space for our community work.

“We’ve desperately needed extra space for our groups of all ages and somewhere to hold church events on site, rather than at other buildings around the parish.


“Only last week I was showing it to a couple who will be getting married at the church in September and they want to have the reception there. They were absolutely wowed by it, as are we all.”


To celebrate the opening, the church will be putting on a series of events this summer, both in the church and the new building, starting with a show in the new performance space in the basement by the GASP! Theatre Company.


The four young female performers, actors in residence at Canterbury University’s School of Arts, will be performing She Wears the Trousers, their own play about feminism in the 1970s, on Saturday 21 July at 7.30pm. The show toured Kent and Surrey in 2016 before being performed at the Edinburgh Fringe.

There will also be a classical music concert, in the church, called Love in the Moonlight, on Saturday 4 August then a family film day on Friday 10 August (1pm, 4pm and 7pm) before GASP! return with a second play, Not all Plane Sailing on Saturday 18 August. The Band of the Surrey Yeomanry will perform a summer concert on Saturday 25 August.


The Rt Rev Christopher Chessun, Bishop of Southwark, blesses the new building. Picture by Kevin Armstrong

Tickets for all events can be booked at www.stjohnsredhill.org.uk/upcoming-events, where full details can be found, or by ringing 01737 826721.

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