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Last service at Waterloo church

Last service at Waterloo church

by Tom Martin (October 2020)

A WATERLOO church congregation has met for the final time, bringing an end to a 155 year history.

Locals from the St John’s Church congregation held a service on Sunday, October 25 to mark an end to their group, which first started meeting in St John’s Church in 1865.

The church has since closed down, so they have held services in a parish centre built onto the nearby St John’s Primary School, where they have been based since 2010.

The Vicar, Reverend Gregor Cuff, said: “After more than 155 years, St John’s Church has completed its work in Waterloo, and through St John’s School its legacy will live on. I am grateful to members past and present who have served their community so faithfully and generously. Weddings, funerals and baptisms from the parish can take place at Christ Church.”

Last year, the Parochial Church Council had made the difficult decision to close, with the date set for May 2020.

Due to the lockdown, plans for a special weekend, with a service for members of all local churches and other friends, and an exhibition of St John’s history had to be cancelled and the last service was pushed back to October. St John’s Church was built in 1865, on an island at the end of St John’s Road, and was the focus of the local community for over a century, along with the Church Hall which was built in Picton Road in 1911.

Plans to upgrade and modernise were put on hold when it was apparent that the church school on Oxford Road, which had opened in 1876, was overcrowded and needed new premises.

Deciding that the vast sum needed for upgrading the church building could be better used in outreach and community projects, St John’s Church decided to move out, and in 2006 moved into the Church Hall.

The church building was sold to developers, and is awaiting conversion to flats. In 2009 the Parish Centre was built onto St John’s Primary School, and the congregation moved there in 2010.

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