BRIEF HISTORY OF THE PARISH AND PRESENT CHURCH BUILDING
The Anglican Church has been part of Sydney since white settlement in 1788. Services were held on the Manly-Warringah Peninsula as early as 1837. St John’s was originally one of the churches in the North Manly district of St Matthew’s Manly Parish. It included the churches of St Luke’s Brookvale (1877)
St Andrew’s Oxford Falls and St Martin’s Allambie Heights. The first St John’s Church (used as the Parish Hall since 1958) was built in 1922. In 1935 Dee Why/Brookvale became a provisional district and in 1949 a full parish with the Rev. K.F.Saunders as its first rector.
The foundation stone for the present St John’s Church was laid on 16 June 1957 by Archbishop HWK Mowll. The church was dedicated on 29 March 1958. (The architects were Fowell, Mansfield & Maclurcan, and the master builder was E Spring Brown). St John’s was finally consecrated on 1 April 1979.
On entering the church, visitors are often surprised to discover its sense of space. Another remarkable feature is the collection of stained glass windows, all designed by Philip Handel of Beacon Hill. Every window is now in stained glass.
The nave’s entire south wall contains the most arresting of all the windows, with its magnificent figure of Christ in Glory in the centre and symbols of the twelve apostles and women of heroic faith flanking it. The building is open all day, inviting all who enter it to draw close to the wonderful mystery of God. It is the experience of many that when people gather in it to celebrate the liturgy that Presence is even closer.
A new chapter for St John’s has begun with the completion of the new Parish Centre. This major new development was built during 2007 and finished early this year. It includes a new chapel, library, new halls, offices, vestries and sacristies, meeting rooms and spaces for children’s and youth ministry.