A range of events took place throughout 2014 (and even spilled over slightly into the years either side!) to celebrate our anniversary, as well as to raise funds for our Bicentenary projects. Details of each of these is available below.

Sunday 13th October 2013 – Community Launch

We welcomed members of our local community to an afternoon tea and presentation. Representatives of schools, hospitals, other faith groups, local societies and many more joined us as we unveiled our plans for the year ahead.

Saturday 30th November 2013 – Quiz Night

The first of our fundraising evenings was a battle of wits! Over a shared supper and a few drinks, the teams were tested in all sorts of ways, from their knowledge of 1814 to their ability to decipher dingbats. First prize was a traditional Swedish Christmas meal cooked by the vicar, though as the curate and his family were the winners this may end up being more business lunch than festive cheer!

Thursday 27th February 2014 – Gala Dinner

Some of the guests and entertainers at the Gala Dinner, dressed in regency costumeNearly one hundred guests from Church and community alike were treated to an evening of Regency elegance (complete with period costume, and entertainment provided by the Bennet family of Pride and Prejudice). The seven-course menu, inspired by 18th Century chef Hannah Glasse but with a modern twist, was served by a team of volunteers with the Vicar as maître d’! A gallery of photos from the evening can be viewed here on the website, and if you want to know more ask anyone who was there – it was certainly a night they’ll remember!

1st-12th May – A Journey to the Holy Land

Vivien Turner, arranging a flower display for the church

Vivien Turner, a member of the congregation here at St John’s Wood Church, was one of the pilgrims who spent two weeks in the Holy Land.

Experienced and hospitable local guide, Canon Iyad Qumri, was accompanied by Frs Jon Peterson and Anders Bergquist, both Doctors of Archaeology. Thus religious and biblical contexts were informed by archaeological references and in-depth local knowledge. It was an interesting mixture of Biblical terrain with explanatory lectures, fascinating exchanges with people from different cultures and intense personal experiences.

An Israeli Christian, a Palestinian Arab and an Israeli Jew gave intelligent, objective views on the Israel-Palestine problems and how they might peacefully be resolved. We met an engaging Muslim with family roots deep into Jerusalem’s history. Visits to Neve Shalom in Israel, the experimental mixed-race village and the Wi’am Reconciliation centre, shadowed by the wall overlooking occupied Palestine, showed first-hand how the welcome donations from St John’s Wood Church’s Bicentennial fund would be used.

A pilgrimage must include the obvious tourist sites, but thanks to Jon, we were able to go beyond these to little-known authentic sites he’d discovered. We scrambled into a 2,000+ year old cave complete with manger in Bethlehem’s fields, watched by shepherds tending their flocks; crawled into an ancient rolling-stone tomb in Holy Sepulchre Church’s basement in Jerusalem and, most surprising of all, visited a 2,000 year old Jewish home, hidden deep beneath Nazareth’s streets.

Sailing on the Sea of Galilee, floating on the Dead Sea, sipping coffee and arak in Jerusalem’s walled old city, were fun-filled parts of the tour as were the tiny cafes where chefs in little make-shift kitchens fed us local specialities. We were moved by the various congregations’ friendliness and hospitality, welcoming us to prayers, where we spoke Hebrew and English together in worship – though we didn’t always reach “Amen” at the same time!

It’s not a trip we will forget!

5pm, Sunday 1st June – Festal Eucharist

The procession leaving our Bicentenary serviceA triumphant and remarkable evening, which crowned our anniversary celebrations in style! The Bishop of London was greeted by musicians from the King’s Troop as he entered a church full of former curates and neighbouring clergy, of long-standing worshippers and new members, of old friends and familiar faces. New candlestands were dedicated, the eucharist was celebrated, and refreshments were served afterwards to give the congregation a chance to reacquaint themselves with each other! Click here to see pictures from this glorious afternoon.

11am, Sunday 22nd June – Patronal Festival, celebrated with the MCC

The Marylebone Cricket Club are also celebrating a milestone this year: 200 years of playing at Lord’s cricket ground. We were delighted to welcome them to Choral Matins in celebration of our own Patronal Festival, which will include the première of Philip Moore’s magnificent newly commissioned motet.

Sunday 29th June – Teddy Bears’ Picnic

An afternoon of fun in the vicarage garden was thoroughly enjoyed by the young children and their families who came, with games and tasty treats aided by the glorious weather! Clerical onesies ensured that everyone was in the right sort of mood, and the teddy bears seemed to enjoy themselves as well. Many thanks to all involved.

Short story writer, poet and novelist Rudyard Kipling6.30pm, Thursday 11th September – An Evening with Rudyard Kipling

Two members of the Kipling Society treated us to a fascinating and highly enjoyable evening immersed in the life and works of the great English short-story writer, poet, and novelist.

Saturday 11th October – Harvest Supper

The first chills of Autumn were put firmly out of mind with an evening of dining, dancing, and fundraising! Around 80 people sat down to dinner in our Church Hall, enjoying a hearty supper of Harvest Pie and apple crumble, interrupted by an auction of choice lots donated by members of the congregation. The much-anticipated raffle was drawn after dinner (a list of the winning tickets is available), after which the hall was rearranged to make it suitable for a barn dance! A huge thank you to everyone who worked so hard to make the evening such a success, especially the incomparable Kate Flitcroft who conducted the auction with such style.

Saturday 21st February 2015- Murder Mystery Evening

The inspector uncovers the murderer!An evening of red herrings, intrigue, and murder most foul took place in the Church Hall! In between the courses of a generously provided bring-and-share dinner, drama unfolded on the stage, as every member of Finkleton Fold’s amateur dramatics group was put under intense scrutiny in the wake of the death of their director. The twists and turns kept everybody guessing until the murderer was revealed! As always, a big thank you to everyone who made the event possible, from the actors to the caterers to bringers and sharers!

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