Within Vancouver there is a general recognition that St. John’s is a magnificent place to worship, and is simultaneously a wonderful concert hall that can accommodate 450 people. In the past few years we have hosted shared services for the Westside Anglican Parishes, weddings, and large Diocesan liturgies.
Originally the church had two side chapels. The Lady’s Chapel – formerly the Bapistry (South Transept) on the south side of the nave is used for morning and evening prayers during the week and the early Sunday Eucharist. The Larmonth Chapel – (North Transept) has recently been converted into a flexible space for families and children during the regular Sunday Eucharist and is also used as a small reception area following Choral Evensong services and special concerts. The main chancel area has a flexible space for choirs and additional instruments and is flanked by a traditional pulpit and lectern.
The Sacristy and offices fore the rector and Parish Administrator are located on the main level, while the Music Director and Bookkeeper have offices in the basement adjacent to the Sunday School space.
The Bell tower rises above the main entrance on the west side of the church and houses a Coast Guard bell-buoy bell that was donated by Mrs. Swanson in May of 1985. There is also a chorister’s Gallery in the base of the tower that opens out on to the main sanctuary. The gallery was originally intended to be a memorial chapel but now houses a separate gallery organ and console and is used by the choir to sing the anthem during the services.
In 2014, the Diocese of New Westminster entered into a long-term lease with St. John’s to occupy the entire Administration Building building, located at the east side of the property. After extensive renovations, the Diocese moved the Synod offices into this space in the summer of 2015.
The conversion of the building also included relocating the Diocesan Archives, and the Archives of the Ecclesiastical Province of British Columbia and the Yukon, into a sophisticated, state-of-the-art space in the lower level.
The new Synod offices include much needed larger and more private office space, as well as increased space for education, formation, and worship. The newly refurbished Trendell Lounge, located in the Parish’s Administration Building, is a bright room with large windows overlooking the church lawn and de Pencier Garden. It has a capacity of 80 – 120 people depending on the nature of the reception. The Administration Building is connected to the church by a covered walkway, and the lounge is used for Sunday hospitality, Parish receptions and Synod meetings. There is a large commercial kitchen attached to the lounge that is used jointly by the Parish and the Synod office. The Parish also maintains a one-Bedroom apartment with a roof deck in this facility that is used by the Parish Verger.
We have a large Memorial Garden on the south side of the property, surrounded by high hedges and mature rhododendrons.
The de Pencier Garden, located between the church and the Administration Building, is bordered by beds of roses, irises, hydrangeas and other perennials, and trees that form a cloister when in bloom.
Our church has proven to be an ideal venue for a wide variety of music and artistic events including choirs, chamber groups, symphony orchestras, piano recitals, dramatic readings/plays, seminars, and early music ensembles. Last year we were pleased to welcome Meghan Patrick and the Washboard Union for the filming of their music video here at St John’s (see below). The video was produced by Brass Tacks Films. Our grand piano is well cared for, the acoustics in the church are superb, and free parking is always plentiful in Shaughnessy.
A couple of years ago we started welcoming film companies, and are excited to support the booming film industry here in Vancouver. Proof, Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce (season 2 finale), and Imposters (season 1 finale) have all filmed here in the past couple of years with great success. The Diocese of New Westminster (next door) have partnered with us to be able to offer the Trendell Lounge as a wedding reception room, as well as the huge conference room for storage and extras. Our parking lot holds 30 cars, which is perfect for large trucks and tents, plus the manicured garden areas (more than half a city block) with mature trees and shrubs are exceptional for filming. Please contact the office for more information.