St John’s, Ealing

From Wikipedia:

A hamlet named West Ealing was recorded in 1234 AD, although it was later renamed Ealing Dean; the West Ealing railway station was known as the Castle Hill & Ealing Dean Station when it was built in 1871. Ealing Dean may derive from denu (valley); its first reference was in 1456, and it appears on a 1777 Ealing parish map. Most of what is now West Ealing was open countryside, with houses at Ealing Dean, Drayton Green and Castle Bear Hill (now Castlebar Hill).”

“St John’s, Ealing is an Anglican church in West Ealing, London, UK. It is an evangelical Anglican church. The church has been designated as a Grade II listed building.

Built in 1876 by Edwin Henry Horne. In the 1870s Horne took on assistants Charles Rennels Hancock and Alfred Granby Winsor and in 1874 he was chosen from a field of twelve architects to design and supervise the building of St John’s Church, Ealing.

St John’s Church was consecrated on 15 July 1876 and was large enough to seat 1,000 persons. The exterior architecture was described in The Annals of Ealing as French Gothic. The interior was regarded as striking, the proportions good and the architect was described as a man with original ideas and of no mean skill. On the night of 8 November 1920, a fire broke out in the church, gutting the interior. Only the bare walls were left standing. Despite costly restorations, the steeple was never replaced.

Re-opened in 1923, the restored church was Grade II listed by English Heritage in 1981.

St John’s first two vicars were, unusually, father (Julius Summerhayes) succeeded by son (Julius James Summerhayes), and between them they pastored the church for the first 64 years of its life. According to church documents, in the late 19th century the church founded the local cottage hospital and St John’s School.

The Arabic-speaking Living Waters Arabic Church meets on Sunday afternoon, as does the Burmese-speaking Myanmar Christian Fellowship.

St John’s is also the venue of the Ealing Soup Kitchen which has been supported by many local churches providing meals each Saturday and Sunday since 1973.

A notable curate at St John’s around 1927 was Eric Nash (“Bash”) who went on to lay the foundations for the postwar growth in British evangelical Christianity.

In more recent years, Sally Hitchiner was curate from 2009-2012, during which time she developed a role as a media commentator and was frequently seen on television discussing religious affairs.

She developed an unlikely friendship with Richard Dawkins following jointly sitting with him as the subject for the semi-final of the Sky Arts National Portrait of the Year competition which was aired in December 2014.

On 15 July 2014, Hitchiner was accidentally outed during a live appearance on television. Hitchiner opposes “gay-to-straight” conversion therapy and the Church of England’s official stance against same-sex marriage. She stated on BBC Breakfast on 3 September 2016 that she had recently become engaged to be Civilly Partnered, and she was united in a civil partnership with Fiona. Clergy in the Church of England are permitted to enter into same-sex civil partnerships.

Hitchiner advocates all sides in the debate working together constructively towards increased inclusion of LGBT people within the church and society.”

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