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. Its ethos may best be described as ‘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 Anglican 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, while also taking seriously our responsibility to proclaim the Gospel afresh in each generation, promoting theological thinking about the contemporary relevance and 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 – including the Scriptures, creeds, the Book of Common Prayer and the Thirty Nine Articles – but also from the present, as well as encompassing the potential that the future holds. In short, it is an organic and dynamic force, that encourages us to be open-minded and open-hearted in seeking to discern where God’s Spirit may be leading us.
This understanding takes seriously the contemporary social, cultural and spiritual context, entailing an active engagement with current issues and debates in the Church and in wider society. However, whilst recognising the breadth of opinion in the Anglican Church, both here and in the wider Anglican Communion around the world, we are clear in our support of:
- the full inclusion of lay and ordained people in Church government
- both men and women’s ordination to the threefold ministry of the Church – bishops, priests and deacons
- the equal participation of LGBT people in the life of the Church. The Richmond Team Ministry has signed up to the ‘Welcoming Congregations’ scheme set up by Inclusive Church.
All this, we believe, affirms an authentically catholic, i.e. all-embracing, 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 questions are out of bounds!), you can be sure of a warm welcome from this diverse, friendly, accepting community and, if you wish, play a part in its ongoing life.