St John the Divine: Sign

We believe that Christian spirituality is connecting with the mystery of God revealed in Jesus Christ. At St. John’s it is our belief that church should be a place of welcome and enable individuals to discover for themselves, the significance of Jesus Christ in their lives. We seek to help you answer life’s questions with meaning, purpose and dignity.

At St. John’s we do not claim exclusive knowledge and answers to your questions but rather we encourage dialogue, prayer and soul searching as a way to understand God’s presence in your life.

Children, youth, middle-aged and older folks are all welcome and encouraged to get involved at St. John’s. We have a number of growing ministries in our parish and would like to share our gifts with you.

We invite you to attend one of our services or prayer groups and experience the “difference” at St. John’s Arva.

outside2_re1St. John the Divine was founded in 1822 on what was called the Proof Line (now Highway 4, Richmond St. North, Arva) located on the farm of William Geary.

The first clergyman was the Honourable and Reverend Charles James Stewart, son of the seventh Earl of Galloway, namesake of Bonnie Prince Charlie, and Master of Arts of Corpus Christi College, Oxford. He baptized families in the wooden Geary Barn, some of whose descendants worship with us today.

It was in 1829 that the Reverend Benjamin Cronyn arrived from Ireland on his way to the settlers in Adelaide Township. He was persuaded to remain in London and took charge of St. Paul’s in theSt John the Divine: Inside 1 village (now St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, ON) and St. John’s.

It was Bishop Cronyn that established the Diocese of Huron of which St. John’s is still a part of today.

From 1841-1872 St. John’s was under the direction of the Reverend Charles C. Brough, later Archdeacon of London.

On Easter Day 1873 Reverend J. Walker Marsh, entered upon his Rectorship of St. John’s succeeding Archdeacon Brough. It was under his guidance and leadership that the present brick St John the Divine: Sanctuarychurch of St. John’s was built and consecrated by Bishop Hellmuth on December 12 1975.

The last marriage performed in the old wooden church was that of Mary Jane Lawrence and Richard Ambrose Powell. The first marriage in the new church was of Tena Smibert and Chas. Powell. These were of the family of Late Bart Powell who was a prominent and active member of both the Church and Cemetery.

Clerestory Windows: TrumpetInspired by Archdeacon Roy Beynon (Priest-in-charge, 1973-1982) and designed by accomplished stained glass artist Christopher Wallis, St John’s Clerestory Windows are a visual representation of Psalm 150. A project which came into fruition in the Spring of 1986 following six years of development, the beautiful stained glass imagery depicts angels engaged in the worship of God in Heaven upon seven musical instruments.

The first instrument named in the Psalm, the Trumpet, is assigned to the pair of junior angels in each window. The remaining instruments are depicted once, held in each case by the central angel: Lute, Harp, Timbrel & Dance, Pipe and Cymbals. Finally, representing the Strings, the last window features  angels playing both the Lyre as well as the more modern Violin. The wings of all the angels are deliberately spread outwards so as to link up in harmony with each other from window to window. The identical colouring of their robes achieves the same effect.

The role of angels in Christianity cannot be understated: they act as God’s messengers and Clerestory Windows: Harpministers, offering us comfort and strength in our pilgrimage as God’s children. Angels play a significant role in many important events in both the Old and New Testaments. The occasions may be rare, but in Christian history there are people of faith who claim to have been strengthened by the perceived presence of luminous spiritual beings other than human.

In the witness of the New Testament angels are active as messengers of resurrection, bringing us hope of the fulfillment of this life in the world to come. They seem to hover over the boundary between Time and Eternity, enabling us to bridge the gap between Earth and Heaven; so it was, as we have seen, at the empty tomb of the Risen Lord. As St. John the Divine, in one of his greatest visions, accounts:

“Then came one of the seven angels…and in the Spirit…he showed me the holy city of Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God” ~ Revelation 21: 9

Clerestory Windows: CymbalsIn addition to reflecting upon this important dimension of spiritual reality, the windows also act as memorial tributes to Mildred Beynon and Sylvia Gwynne-Timothy (Dedication Ceremony: Sunday, December 21, 1986), Joyce Stewart (Dedication Ceremony: Sunday, November 27, 1988), Helen Palmer (Dedication Ceremony: Sunday, August 13, 1989), Bob Packer (Dedication Ceremony: Sunday, October 8, 1989), Sam Martin (Dedication Ceremony: Sunday, September 23, 1990) and Archdeacon Roy Beynon (Dedication Ceremony: Wednesday, December 4, 1991) for his exceptional contribution to St. John’s priestly ministry.

~ Excerpt from Canon Morley E. Pinkney’s “The Ministry of Angels: Celebrating the Clerestory Windows of the Church of St. John the Divine”


Rev. Wendy MencelName: Wendy Mencel


One word to describe St John’s: 

What brought you to St. John’s?
I was called to head the ministry at St. John’s nine years ago.

Favourite St. John’s special event:
Any event that involves food!

What do you like most about our Sunday Services?
I LOVE everything about our Sunday services ~ especially the music ~ but also the chance to worship with like-minded people who want to share the Gospel message of Love with the greater world.

Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired by individuals in our parish who have an abundance of life experiences ~ both good and bad ~ and who keep going with smiles on their faces.

One simple thing we can all do to make the world a better place:
Listen with “intent” with open hearts, and really hear each other.

Name: Paul TownshendPaul Townshend


One word to describe St John’s: 

What brought you to St. John’s?
History, tradition and beauty.  My Uncle was the organist here earlier on and I later found out that my grandfather was assigned here as a theology student.

I appreciate the fact that this church was the first Anglican parish to be established in the area and that it is even older than St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.

The beauty of its traditional style is very appealing to me, especially when the light shines through the stained glass windows.  The people at St. John’s too are dedicated to God’s work and worship in a friendly, neighbourly, family type way.

Favourite St. John’s special event:
Our Christmas Eve Service. I feel a strong spiritual connection with the “true meaning” of Christmas when we come in from a cold crisp night with gently falling snow to a cozy warm church full of people joyous with anticipation.

What do you like most about our Sunday Services?
The fact that while our services are traditional, they are delivered in a more casual style with a sense of humour.  This makes me feel comfortable and supported so I am able to focus on worship.

Who or what inspires you?
I am inspired when working with a group of people focusing their efforts on finding ways to carrying out God’s work.

One simple thing we can all do to make the world a better place:
Care for one another.

Ian Nicholson

Name: Ian Nicholson


One word to describe St John’s:

What brought you to St. John’s?
The sense of community

Favourite St. John’s special event:
Paul Townshend’s recent presentation on Time Management.  It was a thoughtful and practical presentation aimed at both our church community and the broader community in Arva.

What do you like most about our Sunday Services?
I find the sermons regularly challenge me in practical ways to rethink how I live my life and inspire me to do more.

Who or what inspires you?
The Sermon on the Mount speaks to me in many ways, both in my life and in my work

One simple thing we can all do to make the world a better place:
Care for others as you wish to be cared for.

Muriel VincentName: Muriel Vincent

Sunday School Leader

One word to describe St John’s:

What brought you to St. John’s?
St. John the Divine reminds me of the church I attended as a child growing up in Ireland with its beautiful stained glass windows and traditional services.

Favourite St. John’s special event:
Our Annual Christmas Bazaar. I enjoy both helping out and shopping at this event. I look forward to it every year.

What do you like most about our Sunday Services?
For me, the ‘Sharing of the Peace’ is a special part of our Sunday service – it is a simple act of community that is both friendly and welcoming.

Who or what inspires you?
As a Sunday School leader and elementary school teacher, I am inspired by children every day – by their optimism, their honesty and their humour.

One simple thing we can all do to make the world a better place:
“Do to others as you would have them do to you.” ~ Luke 6:31

Nicole SaderName: Nicole Sader

Youth Program Coordinator

One word to describe St John’s: 

What brought you to St. John’s?
I was invited to work with the Youth Group.

Favourite St. John’s special event:
Everything that is put on is wonderful!

What do you like most about our Sunday Services?
Rev. Wendy always bring herself into her sermons. She makes our church a fun and inviting place to be.

Who or what inspires you?
Oprah Winfrey is my biggest inspiration. Her success demonstrates how far you can come in this world if you don’t give up and don’t let hard times stop you from being who God knows you can be.

One simple thing we can all do to make the world a better place:
Stop judging each other. I believe we are all equal and nothing can make one human better than another.

Ryan MarttalaName: Ryan Marttala

Music Director

One word to describe St John’s: 

What brought you to St. John’s?
The previous Music Director.

Favourite St. John’s special event:
Any event where I get to play with other collaborative musicians.

What do you like most about our Sunday Services?
Making music with others (Hurray for the choir! Join the choir!)

Who or what inspires you?
People who use their skills or resources for the continued life of others.

One simple thing we can all do to make the world a better place:
Learn, teach, and practice empathy.


Bible StudyDuring the Season of Advent and Lent we hold weekly Bible Study on Tuesday Mornings and Evenings.

This webpage will be updated to let you know when the next Bible Study begins.



Community BreakfastFrom our monthly Community Breakfasts to our Wednesday 10-12 coffee club (all are welcome) to our popular Christmas Bazaar and even the occasion Art Show hosted on behalf of the talented student population of Medway Highschool, St John’s Arva values being a member of the London and Arva, Ontario communities and is happy to give back.

In addition to our regular monthly and annual special events, we are pleased to regularly donate our time, talents and funds toward many important non-for-profit foundations including:

Garage SaleThe Daily Bread Food Bank 

Mission Services of London 

Sleeping Children Around the World 

The Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund

The parishioners of St. John’s Arva make a concerted effort to stay attuned to the needs of those within our community and beyond.

Kids' Club

Weekly during Sunday Service

Children ages three through 12 years are welcome in our Sunday School ministry, which takes place during our 10:30 am worship service from September through June. Bible stories, theme-related crafts, music, games, object lessons and science are all part of our Kids’ Club Sunday morning fun!

Our Godly Play program is also used throughout the year, the goal of which is to teach children to enter into biblical stories and relate them to their personal experiences. This wonderful program respects the innate spirituality of children and encourages curiosity and imagination in experiencing the mystery and joy of God.

Being ‘of service’ to others is an integral part of our Kids’ Club program as we work to teach children to ‘serve’ as Jesus served. By participating in several service projects throughout the year that focus on Christ’s call “to love our neighbours as ourselves”, children learn at a young age about the needs of our community, both local and global.

                            “Children are a blessing and a gift from the Lord”  (Psalm 127:3)

Youth GroupWeekly on Sundays at 10:30 am

St John’s Youth Group is a way for youth (ages 15-17) to connect with each other in our community.

Led by Nicole Sader, our group lessons are based on the Elements curriculum as well as real-world experiences.

Each Sunday opens with a “Word of the Week”. On the youths’ arrival they state one word that sums up their week which we then reflect on.  This is followed by bible study and life skills development.

In addition to our weekly Sunday meetings, St. John’s Youth Group meets once a month in the evening which frequently involves participating in community outings.

The third Sunday of every month, our youth participate in Youth Sundays in which they partake in our church services by greeting attendees and leading liturgy readings.

During August, the Youth Group embarks on an outreach mission to Taize.

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October 2019

Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
  • BAS Sunday Service
  • Ladies Friendship Group
  • BAS Sunday Service
  • BAS Sunday Service
  • Parish Council Meeting
  • BAS Sunday Service