St. John's Garden

Overview Donations Marian Devotion Archive
 
We have been working to restore our beautiful Riverside Garden for the enjoyment of the local community, visitors to Bath and all the natural inhabitants.

Aerial view of St Johns in 1943 - notice the children playing in the playground

The St. John's Garden had remained neglected and overgrown for many years before the initiative was taken to restore it. We started back in early 2017 and started by raising the funds necessary to pay for materials and to gathering volunteers to work in the garden during their free time.

If you’re interested in visiting the Statue of Our Lady of Bath, Queen of Peace, please download these directions. The Garden is open daily from 8am to 5pm.

2017 - Light in the Darkness

   

 

March 2017 - 25 Bags of Rubbish were removed and 10 Tonnes of Soil was re-distributed. We have done our best to re-use all that we find and, through a generous donation of reclaimed stones and acquiring second-hand Railings and Gates, we aspired to beautify what was once a dark and tragic space.

Supported by Canon David Ryan, Parish Priest, a team of volunteers was assembled to help with the heavy clean up required to cleanse the space and allow for safe access.

March - April 2017 - The area at the north side of the Garden began to take shape

    

August 2017 - Four tonnes of reclaimed bath stone was donated by a generous benefactor and the foundation work for the garden could begin.

September 2017 - Nothing happens without Prayer and our Parish Community and the Bath Deanery rallied around to begin to bless the Garden with hymns and prayers of peace for the world.

December 2017 - Tools down for the winter and the Garden was allowed to rest, meanwhile a Maquette of Our Lady was presented by Artist & Sculptor Ben Dearnley for Parish feedback.
2018 - Preparing for Our Lady of Bath

As the project unfolded and light was brought into the Garden, discussions of a Statue of Our Lady began to take shape, concurrently the Bishops Conference of England & Wales released an announcement that England will be Rededicated as Our Lady’s Dowry in 2020.

We hope and pray that our Statue of Our Lady of Bath does justice to the rich history of Statues of Our Lady that once adorned the land.

For more information regarding Our Lady’s Dowry and what it means please visit www.dowrytour.org.uk

January 2018 - An early start with Canon David getting stuck in to keep us on track for completion. Before any more work could be completed however our Yew Trees had to be trimmed to allow for more light and to reduce the burden on the Riverbank Wall.

February 2018 - View from the Eastside of the River Avon and the new tree line reveals the splendor of the Church and brings light into the Garden.

May 2018 - Flowers arrive for Our Lady and are placed in a new Healing In Bed, with members of the Parish donating Flowers and Shrubs to help bring the Garden to Life. We see the arrival of Bees and Butterflies!

June 2018 - Thanks to support from our neighbour Hein, we are able to collect our new Reclaimed Railings from Wales. Our Railing Team forms to help restore 16 Railings and replace our existing wire fencing. The team spend time sanding down the Railings and then paint them to bring traditional Victorian grace to the Garden. The Youth Group have their first Bonfire & Sing-a-long of the Year.

7th July 2018 - Our Stone arrives and a huge team effort sees it arrive safely with Canon Michael English present to greet the team with prayer and thanksgiving. Ben Dearnley our resident Sculptor begins to form and learn about the stone.

THANK YOU TO THE TRUCK DRIVER (Dave), SPARROW CRANE OPERATOR (Steve), PHELANS SITE MANAGER (Mark), OUR NEIGHBOUR (Hein), PHOTOGRAPHER (Tony), ADORATION TEAM (Marguerite), YOUNG ADULT GROUP (Daniel), CORNERSTONE (Mono), PEREGRINES (John), ARTIST (Ben) and special thanks to Canon Michael.

July 2018 - Ben assesses the monumental task ahead of him as he tackles the biggest project of his career. He begins by shaping the stone and beginning the frame of the statue by removing the excess stone.

   
 

July 2018 - Meanwhile, work continues in the garden as we keep cleaning out the space and getting ready for the railings and reclaimed flagstone flooring...

 

August 2018 - The final railings are being cleaned and prepared and we test what the railings will looks like next to the riverbank.

August 2018 - The new riverside wall now takes shape to provide a new boundary to define the space to be accessed by pilgrims.

     
     
     
     
 

A reflection of Ben's work reveals how patiently and ardently he has had to work to reveal the figure within the stone.

   
   

August 2018 - The background to Our Lady. Seven rays of light for Our Lady's Joy and seven for her Sorrows.

     

September 2018 - The reclaimed railings from Abergavenny, Wales are now situated and ready to be painted.

   

September 2018 - The reclaimed stone flooring arrives from St. Albans and the team assemble to begin to sort it and arrange it for laying. Much discourse occurs along the riverbank, sharing Plato's Allegory of the Cave.

 

 

History was made on Saturday 27th October as a large crowd gathered in arctic like conditions to celebrate the Blessing of Our Lady of Bath, Queen of Peace Statue. This Project inspired by the Young Adult Group of the Parish and was the culmination of two years work shared by a large team of willing volunteers from the Parish. The inspiration for the Garden was to create a place of light in what was a neglected and dark area of the Church Grounds.

It was a great community effort, showing just how much can be accomplished by willing hands working together. A large and inspiring statue of Mary was unveiled and blessed by Canon David. The statue was created on site by international sculptor Ben Dearnley, who worked tirelessly for thirteen hot weeks during the summer.

Following the recitation of the Rosary a short Liturgy took place including hymns led by our Contemporary Music Group. We were honoured to have the Mayor of Bath attend with his wife as well as a host of visitors with local and retired clergy. All appreciated the reception afterwards provided by the Garden Project Team led by Tom Rynkowski with special thanks to Liz Ganapathy and Zosia Mills for hosting the event.

The Garden has many beautiful features, a variety of flowers in the Marian tradition, stone paving provided by parishioners of the United Reform Church, St Albans, as well as reclaimed traditional fencing, renovated and hand painted by the women of the Parish.

The gate will be open from 8:00am to 5:00 pm in the winter with special times for the Spring and summer to be announced. The Garden Project Team are very grateful for the generous donations, large and small that have been given to cover most of the costs to date. If you would like to make a donation use the envelopes at the back of the Church marked ‘Garden Project’.

Congratulations to all who have play a part in this new feature and thank you on behalf of Our Lady, Queen of Peace!

 

The booklet for the opening can be read here.

A letter from the sculptor Ben Dearnley can be read here.

The poem These Leaves are Fallen written by Monoleeto Sangar and read on the day can be read here.

St. John's Garden Archive

 
Overview Donations Marian Devotion Archive
 

15.07.2018

An excellent start to our Live Carving in the Garden as the stone began to take shape and the first of our railings were installed. Many visitors have been asking Ben about the activity and he has encouraged them to visit St John's to learn more about the community.

We welcome sponsorship for the installation of the railings as we strive to secure and beautify our garden space. Please use the envelopes at the back of Church or contact the Parish Office.

You can see some photos of his progress and other work in the garden here.

08.07.2018

Photos for the garden preparation are now available here.

On Saturday 7th July, the stone arrived and is now in place ready to be sculpted. You can the photos of the delivery here

20.06.2018

More plants have been planted in the St. John's garden and our reclaimed railings have arrived ready for restoration. You can see some photos of the progress here.

10.06.2018

Plants have been planted in the St. John's garden and our reclaimed railings have arrived ready for restoration. You can see some photos of the progress here

10.05.2018

The Cornerstone Team would like to thank all our sponsors and runners from the Bath Half Marathon who have helped raise nearly £2,000 over the last two years. Your contributions have supplied the materials required to develop our Garden space for the local community and visitors. Please see the photos and updates on the Posters at the back of the Church.

This is a volunteer based community project and All Are Welcome to help at the weekend in the clean up and building work. Please contact Tom at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 07713 949859 to learn more and get involved!

Thank you for all your prayers which are making the change happen. You can download the April update here and the May update here.

19.03.2018

We start 2018 with a view to begin the next phase of our River Avon Garden transformation.

Here is a brief recap of what happened in 2017...

St Johns River Avon Garden - Feb - Sept 2017b from tom on Vimeo.

Marian Devotion

 
Overview Donations Marian Devotion Archive
 

At St Johns we are recognised for having a rich heritage in Marian devotion. We honour Our Lady to draw nearer to her Son, Jesus.

Rosary Before Mass - held in the Lady Chapel before each Daily and Weekend Mass, all are welcome to join in a shared Rosary in preparation of the holy sacrifice of the Mass.

Our Lady of Bath & Our Lady’s Dowry - the most recent addition to St Johns is the Statue of Our Lady of Bath in the Garden. This auspicious gift has come at a time when England is being Rededicated as Our Lady’s Dowry. Please visit www.dowrytour.org.uk to learn more.

Consecration to The Immaculate Heart of Mary - In allowing Mary to mother us by consecrating ourselves, our families, our projects and our parishes, we give ourselves to Christ in a powerful way, in service and in love. Email the team to learn more at [email protected].com.

Hail Full of Grace - with so much mis-understanding and gaps in formation today this paper by one of the members of the Young Adult Group at St Johns outlines clearly and articulately Our Lady’s place in salvation history and how the Church Fathers came to share their understanding of Our Lady with the world. Read more.

Adoration Chapel - Our Lady of Bala - Fatima, Czelstohowa & Guadalupe - paying a visit to our Adoration Chapel reveals particular locations around the world where our Parish Community has a connection with Our Lady - Portugal, Poland & Mexico.

Lady Chapel - The altar, brought from an earlier church in Bath with a highly decorated reredos, has a frontal illustrating the presentation of the Virgin Mary in the Temple. Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman is reputed to have celebrated Mass in this chapel whilst visiting Bath.

 

St. John's Garden Donations

 
Overview Donations Marian Devotion Archive
 

For any Donations please contact the Parish Office. There are also envelopes at the back of the Church which once completed can be posted into the Parish Office.

Items we need to complete the Garden:

Riverside Railings Railing
Posts x 5 Concrete
Post Mix x 5
Hammerite Paint x 1
Flooring
Hardcore & Sand - 7 Tonnes of Each
Cathedral Size Flagstones - 75 - 100 square yards
Miscellaneous
Traditional Bath Coping Stones
White Cement - 5 Bags
Sand/Grit - 2 Tonnes
Secured Benches
Firepit
Outdoor Candle Holder
Donation Box & Lock
Visitor Signage
Lighting

 

St John’s Riverside Garden Opening Ceremony

History was made on Saturday 27th October as a large crowd gathered in arctic like conditions to celebrate the Blessing of Our Lady of Bath, Queen of Peace Statue. This Project inspired by the Young Adult Group of the Parish and was the culmination of two years work shared by a large team of willing volunteers from the Parish. The inspiration for the Garden was to create a place of light in what was a neglected and dark area of the Church Grounds.

It was a great community effort, showing just how much can be accomplished by willing hands working together. A large and inspiring statue of Mary was unveiled and blessed by Canon David. The statue was created on site by international sculptor Ben Dearnley, who worked tirelessly for thirteen hot weeks during the summer.

Following the recitation of the Rosary a short Liturgy took place including hymns led by our Contemporary Music Group. We were honoured to have the Mayor of Bath attend with his wife as well as a host of visitors with local and retired clergy. All appreciated the reception afterwards provided by the Garden Project Team led by Tom Rynkowski with special thanks to Liz Ganapathy and Zosia Mills for hosting the event.

The Garden has many beautiful features, a variety of flowers in the Marian tradition, stone paving provided by parishioners of the United Reform Church, St Albans, as well as reclaimed traditional fencing, renovated and hand painted by the women of the Parish.

The gate will be open from 8:00am to 5:00 pm in the winter with special times for the Spring and summer to be announced. The Garden Project Team are very grateful for the generous donations, large and small that have been given to cover most of the costs to date. If you would like to make a donation use the envelopes at the back of the Church marked ‘Garden Project’.

Congratulations to all who have play a part in this new feature and thank you on behalf of Our Lady, Queen of Peace!


Please take some time to watch the video of the opening ceremony.

The booklet for the opening can be read here.

A letter from the sculptor Ben Dearnley can be read here.

The poem These Leaves are Fallen written by Monoleeto Sangar and read on the day can be read here.


 

St. John's Garden - BBC Radio Bristol

On Sunday 21st October, Caroline Taylor, our Parish Fabric & Finance Chair, was interviewed on BBC Radio Bristol about the opening of our garden.

You can hear the interview at https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p06mr817 starting from 1:22:40. Please note this is only available online until 18th November 2018.

St John's Garden - Opening Ceremony

You are warmly invited to the St John's Garden opening ceremony and blessing of the statue Our Lady of Bath – Queen of Peace at 1pm on Saturday 27th October 2018 at St John the Evangelist, South Parade, Bath BA2 4AF.

Refreshments will be provided in the hall after the service. Shared Rosary in the Our Lady Chapel will start at 12.30pm.

Anyone interested in baking cakes or bringing food please contact Tom on 07713 949859 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

A copy of the invitation can be downloaded here.

St. John's garden September update

You can see some photos of our progress and other work in the garden here.