St John’s exists to enable its people to follow the example of Jesus in his acceptance of all people with love, concern and understanding for their sake (John 13:34) that together we may come to know the love of Christ. (Ephesians 3:14-19).
St John’s is a Hall Church, built in 1957-58 to serve the people in the southern part of Kidlington, where there had been substantial post-war housing developments. It was always intended for both Christian worship and community use and that has continued to this day.
St John’s started life soon after the Second World War, when services were held in a small wooden church in meadows to the south-east of the village. In 1955, the current site on The Broadway was given to the church authorities by Taylor Woodrow Homes Ltd, developers of the surrounding Garden City estate, through the efforts of the then Church Warden, Mrs Dorothy Franklin.
After considerable fund-raising efforts, building work started in 1957 and the first stage of the building was opened on 28th September 1958. The first services, Harvest Festival, were held on the following day. The building then consisted of the main hall, kitchen and toilets, with a temporary wall at the north end – providing space for social activities as well as being a church on Sundays, without a separate chancel. During the next twelve months the next phase progressed, with the addition of a chancel and vestry at the north end, and the completed church was dedicated on 24th October 1959.
In the early 1970s work at the south end gave a Meeting Room (quickly taken over for storage but now restored as a useful space, especially for Junior Church on Sundays) and an improved kitchen layout. Then in 1978 new vestries were built on the north west side of the chancel, allowing the original vestry to be converted to the beautiful Lady Chapel we now have. This is open for private prayer every day during daylight hours and is used for weekday services when the main hall is available for community activities. The Lady Chapel was further enhanced in 2004, with the addition of etched windows, designed by the internationally-known local artist Nicholas Mynheer.
In 2011 extensive repairs were needed to the flat roofs, to deal with on-going problems with rain leaks. Then major renovation work in 2014/15 ensured that the kitchen and toilets are bright, spacious and warm. The kitchen is well-equipped, with range cooker, dishwasher etc – all that’s needed to cater for 60-80 for a full meal or about 100 buffet-style. The Meeting Room was also given a face-lift as well as a radiator.
2020 has seen the development of the north-west area of the garden behind the church to form a secure educational outdoor play area.
Over the years many people have used their skills to create items to enhance and decorate the building. Some of these are tucked away in the “church part” but others are in the main hall for all to see. Of particular note is the Parish Tapestry and the St John the Baptist frontal; you can find out more about these here.
The full story of the development of St John’s is given in a booklet “From ‘the little wooden church in the meadows'” compiled by David Townsend. Copies are available by contacting the parish office.