The present church was completed and dedicated in 1915, and in 1916 it became a separate parish. It’s origins, however lay some years before, when St John’s school and mission room, were constructed and opened in 1874. In 1892 the school was closed and a new school constructed across the road on Gooder Lane, called ‘Victoria School’. This building still exists but is no longer a school. The mission hall was remodelled and refitted and opened in 1893.
In 1901 the land was sold to make way for the railway line, and all buildings were demolished. The money received was utilized in building a new mission hall, which is now the current church and community hall. It was not long before it was realised that the building was not large enough to accommodate the population.
Over the years there had been an increase in building in the lower Rastrick area, and also the construction of a brick factory, (long since demolished) and therefore the population had increased greatly. The decision was taken to build a new church in the area, and in 1913 the foundation stone was laid. On Christmas Day 1914, the church was dedicated and on the 27th November 1915, the church of St John the Divine was consecrated. Up until this time the mission and initially, briefly, the new church had been staffed by curates from St Matthews, but in 1916 St John’s became a separate parish. In 2008 the two parishes of St John and St Matthew became a united benefice.
Many improvements have been made over the years; very fine stained glass West and East windows, new chairs, new heating system in the church. In the hall; cinema facilities, meeting rooms, refitted kitchen to mention but a few. We are currently looking at the possibility of a servery and new toilets in the church, as the building is sometimes used for concerts and other events and needs it’s own facilities, rather than using the hall’s.
The church and hall have a good sized car park and a grassed area, upon which events are sometimes held. The vicarage (at St Matthew’s) is only 5 minutes away by car.
For a quick look inside the church, may we refer you to the following You Tube music video produced by David Robertshaw who comes from the area;.
Taking a pilgrimage through the church building
- The font is traditionally near the door. As we enter the building we are reminded of the beginning of life and our repeated need to receive new life through the cleansing power of God in our worship
- We gather in the body of the church (“the nave”) in font of the lectern, from which the Word of God in scripture is proclaimed, and the pulpit from which it is expounded. We learn and develop understanding on our journey
- At the altar at the far end of church we contemplate Jesus’ death and resurrection (many Christians think of the altar as a sacrificial slab or the tomb of Jesus). Christians consider that we receive the life of Jesus within us in the consecrated bread and wine of Holy Communion in which he is present.
- As we turn round from receiving Holy Communion we see the vision of St.John the Divine in the stained glass window in the far wall. We are reminded that, in Jesus, God’s kingdom is “coming down from heaven” into the life of this world. We believe ourselves equipped to be sent out from worship as Baptised believers who have heard God’s Word and received his presence in Holy Communion. We consider ourselves commissioned to act in partnership with God to bring about that kingdom of justice and peace.