Skip to main content

Faith, Beauty, Justice

The Meditation on the Passion of Christ Service take place on Saturday 7 March 2020 at 6.00pm.

Student Chapel community

The Chapel of St John’s College is one of the most recognisable buildings in Cambridge and is home to a lively, welcoming and inclusive community. We aim to provide something for everyone, no matter how great or how little your faith and whatever your background or church denomination. 

St John’s College has a distinguished tradition of religious music and, since the 1670s, has possessed a world-famous College Choir, whose main duty is singing the daily services (Tuesday to Sunday) in the College Chapel during the University Term.

The College also has a mixed-voice choir, called St John’s Voices, who sing the Choral Service on Monday. During the University Vacation, the Choir carries out engagements in the UK and overseas, as well as undertaking a busy recording schedule.

Chapel services

Regular Services

Services take place during University full term. Choral services are open to members of the public.

Weekday Services

  • 6.30pm   Evensong – Monday to Saturday. Monday services are sung by St John's Voices. All other services are sung by the College Choir.

 

Sunday Services

  • 8.30am     College Communion
  • 10.30am   Choral Eucharist
  • 6.30pm     Evensong with Address.
                      Evensong on Sunday is preceded by an organ recital, which commences at 6pm.

 

 

St John's Chapel as seen from First Court

8.30am College Communion and Chapel Breakfast

The 8.30am Communion is the main student service and an opportunity to get involved through reading or praying. It’s a relaxed service and everyone is welcome - you don’t need to be a Christian to attend. It lasts about 40 minutes and afterwards we go for Chapel Breakfast together in Hall - possibly the best breakfast in Cambridge! 

10.30am Sung Eucharist

These are formal, cathedral-style services, mostly sung by the College Choir, with a sermon from the Dean or Chaplain. Students are most welcome to attend or participate through serving or reading. The services are attended by visitors from all around the world and there are refreshments afterwards.

 

Special services

In addition to the regular services, the Chapel organises a number of special events and services which take place during the year. 

Advent Carol Service

The Advent Carol Services with be held on Saturday 28 November 2020 at 6.00pm and Sunday 29 November 2020 at 3.00pm.  The Sunday service will be broadcast live by BBC Radio 3.

Epiphany Carol Service

The next Epiphany Carol Services will be held on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 January 2021 at 6.00pm.

This Candlelit Service of readings and music celebrate the season of Epiphany.

Ash Wednesday Evensong

A service of Evensong takes place on Ash Wednesday, 26 February 2020, at 6.30pm.

A Lent Meditation on the Passion of Christ

A service of music and readings reflecting the Passion of Christ will be held on Saturday 7 March 2020 at 6pm. Applications will open in January 2019. Please note that priority will be given to members of the College. This service is unsuitable for babies and toddlers.

Ascension Day

Ascension Day occurs on Thursday 21 May 2020. Every year on Ascension Day, the Choir ascends the 163ft Chapel Tower and sings the Ascension Day Carol.

Forthcoming events in Chapel...
13/05/2021 : 12:00 - 12:15

Sermons

Sunday Evensong Sermons

Professors ProfessingThe theme of our Sunday sermon series this term is ‘Professors Professing: The Human search for God’.

Fellows of the College explore whether their academic subject relates
in any way to the human search for God

We look forward to welcoming you to what promises to be a fascinating series on Sundays at 6:30pm.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

Sunday Eucharist Sermons

Sermons Preached at the Eucharist this term may be found following this link.

 

Each term the Sunday Evensongs have a theme and guest preachers from best-selling novelists like Salley Vickers to eminent scientists like John Polkinghorne have encouraged us to think more deeply.

For a selection of our most recent themed sermons, click here.

The College Choir

 

The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge is one of the finest collegiate choirs in the world – known and loved by millions from its recordings, broadcasts and concert tours. The Choir is directed by Mr Andrew Nethsingha, who has previously been Director of Music at Gloucester and Truro Cathedrals. The services follow the Cathedral tradition of the Church of England, Evensong being sung during Term six days a week and Sung Eucharist in addition on Sunday mornings. You can find out more about the Choir at its dedicated website.

For information about applying for a Choral Award, click here.

 

St John's Voices

St John's Voices

Formed in 2013 to complement the work of our sister choir, St John's Voices has quickly developed a remarkable reputation for its emotionally-charged, musically committed performances. Weekly evensongs in the College Chapel complement concerts, tours and recordings to offer an inspiring and immersive experience for choir and listener alike.

For more information about the choir and to find out how to apply to St John's Voices, please visit their website.

What's on

The Chapel at St John’s welcomes visitors from around the world, but there are a whole host of things especially for Johnians, University Members and their guests. It’s your chapel, and we would encourage you to get involved! Many students enjoy the oasis of calm offered by our 6.30pm Choral Evensongs; while each term the Sunday Evensongs bring distinguished guest preachers to St John’s to give sermons on a specific theme

Along with joining us at at our 8.30am College Communion service, there are also all sorts of opportunities to get involved behind the scenes, from helping at an annual Christmas Party for Children in South London, to flower-arranging in Chapel, to helping with the sound system, stewarding at our large events or serving at the 10.30am Sung Eucharist. At the end of each Lent Term, a Chapel Team is appointed to serve for a year as ambassadors around college, to help plan and run our many social events and outreach. If you have ideas or questions about how you would like to be involved, we would love to hear from you – see our contacts guide below to get in touch!

A student at a welfare event
Coming up this Term....

 

Epiphany Carol Services (18 and 19 January 2020, 6.00pm).
With readings and Music for the season of Epiphany, Tickets are required for this service

Memorial Service for Professor Sir Christopher Dobson, Master (24 & 25 January, 2.00pm).
A service to remember the late Master

Welfare Event (29 January, 7.30pm).
A relaxing space to chill out, and enjoy arts, crafts and hot chocolate

Wednesday Lates (Wednesdays (starting 29 January) 9.00pm).
A chance to experience the Chapel in the late evening. For students of St John’s and their friends only

Solemn Sung Eucharist for Candlemas (2 February, 10.30am).
A Communion service to celebrate the Feast of the Presentation of Christ in the Temple

Reading Group (3, 10, 17, 24 February, 8.00pm).
Exploring Toni Morrison's 'Beloved'

Cantata Evensong (8 February, 6.30pm).
A beautiful service, lasting just over the hour, with period instruments

Wordsworth Poetry Evening (22 February, 8.00pm).
Join us in Chapel to mark the 250th anniversary of the Birth of William Wordsworth with an evening of poetry

Festal Evensong for the Feast of St Matthias (24 February, 6.30pm).
A service of Evensong for The Apostle, St Matthias

A Meditation on the Passion of Christ (7 March, 6.00pm).
With readings, poems and Music for the season of Lent, Tickets are required for this service

Four Day Retreat to Buckden Towers (15-18 March).
Enjoy some space and quiet time with the Chaplain in the stunning surroundings of Buckden Towers
 

Annual Highlights for students

Matriculation Service (Sunday of Fresher’s Week).
Your formal welcome to the College, immediately after the Matriculation Photograph.

Advent Carol Services (Last weekend of full Michaelmas Term)
Broadcast live on Radio 3 and followed by Advent Hall, these are the most popular services of the year by far. Current students get priority.

Epiphany Carol Service (First weekend of Lent Term)
This is one of our most atmospheric services, lit only by candlelight.

Meditation on the Passion of Christ (Last Saturday of Lent Term)
A meditative service with music, poetry and singing.

Bach Cantata Evensongs (Termly)
Today, Bach Cantatas are usually only heard as high-profile concert pieces, but these termly services restore them to their original setting of worship.

Graduation Service (Graduation Day)
Just after the graduation photograph, this is a service to celebrate the end of your time at St John’s, and is open to visitors who come to support you at graduation.

 

 

Other highlights

Study and Reading Groups

Each term there are a variety of small groups that meet around college for discussion, prayer and support. There are also lots of opportunities to pray more intimately and personally. The groups vary from term to term. The College also has a Christian Union who meet on Saturdays and Sundays.

Chapel trips and events

Each term we avail of all the wonderful opportunities around Cambridge including visits to the theatre or museums. There are walks to Grantchester for cream tea and longer country walks, sustained by a hearty pub lunch. We also have poetry readings and book discussions, punting and impromptu picnics. At the end of the Michaelmas Term the Chapel Team host ‘Mince & Mulled’ - a Christmas Party with carol singing from the St John’s Voices, mince pies, mulled wine and festive cheer for all. In the Easter Term there’s a Chapel Garden Party to which all students are invited.

At the end of each Lent Term there is an opportunity for four days of fun together in the annual Chapel Trip. It’s a few days away from Cambridge to recharge the batteries with a programme of activities largely designed by those who participate - it might include films, reading, board games, football, walking or enjoying time on the beach.

Making a Difference

We encourage people to get involved in making a difference to others through their faith. Our biggest collective commitment is the ‘Walworth Trip’ at the end of Michaelmas, when a group travel down to Walworth in London to help at the Church of St John the Evangelist. We run a party for children from the local area, help with the activities and share a meal. We also join in the fun with the local community in the evening at their social event. In the Lent Term we will be participating in Amnesty's 'Write for Rights' Campaign.

Partnerships

A children's choir from St John the Divine, Kennington

 

The Chapel has a partnership with the Parish of St John the Divine, Kennington in South London. This is one of the poorest parishes in the UK, but its church community is extraordinarily lively, with one of the largest children’s choirs of any Anglican parish church nationally. Its congregation includes people of over 50 nationalities, especially from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. 

The children’s choirs were founded in 2013 with encouragement from two Johnians in the congregation: Jeremy Martin and Tom Chigbo. Each July, the choirs visit Cambridge for a summer school, staying at the College school and singing for services in the Chapel. 

St John the Divine has two parish schools, located within the Lambeth education authority, with which the College has a special connection through the University’s Area Links Scheme

In September 2017, the Parish set up organ scholarships to provide opportunities for up to five of the most enthusiastic and talented children to benefit from professional lessons, practice facilities and opportunities to perform publicly, with support from the College.
 

Venue and facilities hire

The painted ceiling of the Chapel roof

 

The Chapel and its facilities are available to hire for a variety of different events. To enquire about hiring the Chapel, please contact the Chapel Clerk on 01223 338676, or by email. If you would like to get married in the Chapel, please contact the Dean by email

The Chapel can seat up to 247 people in the collegiate style benches and misericords. If desired, additional seating can be placed in the aisle to increase the total number of seats in the main body of the Chapel to 413 (at £1 per extra seat). It is also possible for an extra 100 seats to be set out in the Ante-Chapel, but these do offer restricted views.
 

Concert hire

The Chapel is used regularly for concerts due to its excellent acoustics and versatile space. The stage area has fixed tiering, which can accommodate around 45 instrumental players. The Chapel has excellent recording facilities; for an example of a recorded event, please visit the recent choir webcasts, available on the Choir website

Organ recitals

The Chapel’s four manual, Mander Organ is one of the finest instruments of its kind in the country. The organ can be hired for recitals or as accompaniment for choral or orchestral concerts.

Recordings

The Chapel is available for hire as a recording venue when it is closed to the public. We do not have recording equipment for hire, but we can provide benches and chairs. 

Weddings in Chapel

The College Chapel is available for a Marriage Service and for services of Prayer and Dedication after a Civil Marriage at certain times of the year.  Members of the College who are within current residence (or out of residence for no more than five years) are entitled to be married in the College Chapel in accordance with the Standing Orders of the College and of the rules governing a marriage within the Church of England. Ceremonies are taken by the College Clergy and initial conversations about arrangements and wedding preparation should be had with them.

A date, if available, may be held for a couple of months, however no date is confirmed until an application has been received and approved by the College Council and therefore reception venues etc should not be confirmed. Please note that weddings do not usually take place during Term time or in August. If you are considering the College for your Wedding Breakfast, please follow this link.

A Marriage Service takes place under a Special Licence issued by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The College is not licensed for Civil Wedding Ceremonies.

Who's who

The Dean

MarkCanon Mark Oakley read Theology at London and Oxford before being ordained in St Paul’s Cathedral in 1993. He served his title at St John’s Wood Church and then served as Chaplain to the Bishop of London, Rector of St Paul’s, Covent Garden (known as ‘the Actors’ Church), Archdeacon of Germany and Northern Europe and, from 2010 to 2018, Chancellor and Residentiary Canon of St Paul’s Cathedral. He is a Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, Kings College London and Visiting Scholar at Sarum College. Since 1996 he has also been a Deputy Priest in Ordinary to HM the Queen. He was appointed Dean in 2018.

His duties as Dean include the final responsibility of the conduct of the services in the College Chapel and oversight of pastoral care provided by the Chapel within the College community. He is also responsible for the appointment of clergy to the College’s 39 livings (parishes) with which the College has long had official connections. He is an Ambassador for StopHate UK, Patron of Tell MAMA (supporting those affected by anti-Muslim hate crime) and a Trustee of the Civil Liberties Trust. His interests include poetry, theatre and human rights.

 

The Chaplain

 

AndrewAndrew Hammond was an undergraduate at Clare College, and then worked in classical music for nearly twenty years: first as a singer, then in arts administration. He was ordained in 2007, and has worked in two London parishes and at St Paul’s Cathedral. Before coming to St John’s he was Chaplain at King’s College.

The Chaplain supports the College Tutors who are the primary point of pastoral care for the 900 Junior members of the College (undergraduates and research students). The Chaplain is available to everyone in College – Fellows, Students and Staff.

 

 

 

Director of Music

AndrewPerforming as a conductor and organist in North America, South Africa, Far East, and throughout Europe, Andrew Nethsingha has been Director of Music at St John’s College, Cambridge since 2007.

Andrew received his early musical training as a chorister at Exeter Cathedral. He later studied at the Royal College of Music and at St John’s. He held Organ Scholarships at St John’s, before becoming Assistant Organist at Wells Cathedral. He was subsequently Director of Music at Truro and Gloucester Cathedrals.

 

 

Director of St John's Voices

GrahamGraham Walker studied mathematics as a Choral Scholar at St John’s College, Cambridge, and was subsequently awarded a scholarship and bursary to study cello at the Royal Academy of Music in London. Graham has performed as a cellist across Europe and North and South America.

Graham is a highly respected choral conductor, and directs several choirs and orchestras. Alongside his work with St John's Voices, Graham is Precentor and Director of Music at Magdalene College and Musical Director of two other choirs.

 

 

Chapel Clerk 

StephenStephen came to St John’s in April 2007, having previously served as Verger at Romsey Abbey and St Marylebone Parish Church in London. He has been a Verger since 1999. His responsibilities are for the care of the Chapel and associated administration under the direction of the Dean.

In August 2016 Stephen attained the Diploma for the Church of England Guild of Vergers. Stephen currently serves as General Secretary to the Church of England Guild of Vergers

Contact

General enquiries

Chapel

Chapel Clerk
Stephen Stokes
Tel 01223 (3)38676  
E-mail chapel@joh.cam.ac.uk
Address Chapel Office, Chapel Court

Stephen is the main contact for enquires about the Chapel, Services and any enquiries about booking the Chapel as a venue for a Wedding or a Concert

 

The Dean
The Rev'd Canon Mark Oakley
Tel 01223 (3)38633
E-mail mdo26@cam.ac.uk

The Chaplain
The Rev'd Andrew Hammond
Tel 01223 (3)38617
E-mail ach71@cam.ac.uk

 

 

Choir

The Choir Administrator
Caroline Marks
Tel 01223 (3)38718
E-mail C.F.Marks@joh.cam.ac.uk   
Address F2c Chapel Court

Caroline is the main contact for enquires about Choir activities

 

Secretary to the Director of Music and the Dean of Chapel
Juliet Francis
Tel 01223 (7)60193
E-mail j.francis@joh.cam.ac.uk

 

The Director of Music
Andrew Nethsingha
Tel 01223 (3)38683
E-mail an323@cam.ac.uk

 

The Director of the St John's Voices
Graham Walker
E-mail ghw22@cam.ac.uk