An update on Reignite 2021

Published by Elaine Wright on Wed, 15 Jan 2020 17:34
Vicar's Blog

Welcome to our first newsletter of 2020. It has been a wonderful start to the New Year. Nearly 100 people joined us for our second Ceilidh which raised a tremendous £3,000 for Reignite2021, our campaign to redevelop St John’s.

Reignite’s next big event is our ‘Make our Windows Sparkle’ crowdfunder to raise £10,000 for the re-glazing of our many windows by March 2020.  St John's has 10 large windows with 81 panes per window. They require re-glazing and will cost £12 per pane. The campaign has already raised £972 to re-glaze one large window in the church. Please will you consider making a donation? You can donate as little as £12 to re-glaze one window or as much as £972 to replace one of the remaining nine windows! 

You can make a donation to remember a loved one and this will be recorded in a remembrance book. Please email with your name and the name/s of your loved one/s you wish to remember.

Just before Christmas our architect Eric Parry and I appeared on the BBC Radio London Robert Elms to tell listeners about our arts, community and environment programmes and the plans for the historic building. Scroll to 1:09:027 to listen to the interview.

A big cherry-picker is in the building today, so that we can reach the ceiling and look closely at the paint scheme. Lisa Oestreicher is taking paint samples so that we know exactly what the church looked like in 1951.The good news is that it was much brighter than it is now, so we hope to re-create the brightness! 

We have also looked closely at the picture by Hans Feibusch at the East End. We have discovered that it is only on a thin screed of plaster, and that only a window separates the picture from the weather. This is why it is deteriorating fast, and urgently in need of repair.


St John’s has served the people of Waterloo since 1824, when it opened in what was a deprived area on the south Bank of the Thames. During World War II its crypt served as an air raid shelter. In 1951, it was restored as the Festival of Britain church, welcoming denominations from all over Britain and the Commonwealth. In the 1990s, St John’s helped the many homeless people in and around Cardboard City. 

Today the church desperately needs redeveloping so that this inclusive spirit can continue and we can carry on helping the many communities of Waterloo and London.  Our ambition, for 2021, is to renovate the building, in time for the 70th anniversary of the Festival of Britain.


With blessings for the New Year,

Canon Giles Goddard

Image credits: