SJWT-100th: The Story of the Colours

One of the most significant developments in the history of St. John's current building has been the installation of the vibrant colours on its walls. We have been described as "the technicolor church" and after more that 20 years since the colours were applied, their visual vibrancy, and what they say about who we are as a congregation, continue to resonate as we move forward.

The May 2002 edition of the "St. John's Journal" included several articles related to the SJWT colours project. There was an Open House on May 11, 2002, at which the new interior, along with a large and colourful banner outside, was first unveiled. You can read the full issue here,

St. John's Journal - May 2002

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The story behind St. John's colours was told by Rev. Gary van der Meer in his "Incumbent's Message" on the front page, the key part of which is quoted here:

"The process of coming to these colours happened within the existing community of people at St. John's. The place was looking shabby. Someone made the comment, 'We are not a beige congregation.' Not to malign beige paint, which has an elegance that graces many churches and many of our own homes, but this is a naming statement. Whatever the community at St. John's has been, we have become people who together asked for something to represent who we feel ourselves to be. Stuart Reid brought out the words for us by asking how we want to feel about being in our church. We used words like inclusive, transformation, paradigm shift, life, dialogue with tradition, relevance to the culture, energy, Easter. Stuart took these words and came back with a proposal that he said would harmonize the competing elements of our space, dialogue with our origins as represented by the biblical scenes in the windows, acknowledge that we use different parts of our space for different purposes, and express Easter.

 

"In terms of naming, this adds to our current understanding of ourselves as informal, inclusive, community-oriented. Now, rather than say we want to feel transformation in our space, it will remind us weekly to embody what we said. Our identity has had further tuning. To be who we say we are, and who our surrounding walls say we are, is an issue of integrity. We have to be transformed people, with energy for our neighbourhood, and relevance to the people who live here, living out the good news of new resurrection life with all the boldness implied by the colours. To be able to continue to say 'We are not a building' requires us to live it. Not all will resonate or be impressed. Not to worry, God has provided an abundance of spiritual expressions here in our neighbourhood, each with their own integrity. They are our partners. Through our distinctness we offer Christ."

 

If you're interested in joining the SJWT-100th Team as we develop plans to celebrate the 100th anniversary of St. John's current home, contact Christopher Rutty: hhrs@healthheritageresearch.com.

Of particular interest is collecting photos of the church, events and people that date as far back over the past century as possible.

Originally published in the St. John's Newsletter on November 5th, 2022