Her Majesty The Queen attended a Service of Celebration at Bath Abbey on Thursday to mark the 850th anniversary of St John’s Foundation. Queen Camilla, who is Patron of the Foundation, had tea with residents of St John’s almshouses in the Chapel of St Michael Within, before walking through the city to the Abbey.
St John’s Foundation provides shelter and support for older adults in the city and works with children locally. Many of the people the Foundation supports were among those invited to the service at the Abbey.
Bishop Michael, who preached at the service, said of the day, “The Queen’s visit brought great joy to everyone who gathered in Bath Abbey – from children at schools supported by the St John’s Foundation, to those who live in the accommodation it provides, to staff, trustees and partners of the Foundation and many more. Together we gave thanks for the St John’s Foundation’s 850 years of service and committed ourselves to its future. It was an inspiring and memorable day for everyone who took part.”
A spokesperson for St John’s said, “Over 600 school children from five of the local schools St John’s Foundation work with through our Foundation Fund, greeted Her Majesty outside the Abbey. Inside more than 600 guests gathered for the Service of Celebration that paid tribute to the Foundation’s history and impactful legacy. Attendees included many of our direct beneficiaries, including older adults residing in our Chapel Court and Combe Park almshouses and local school children supported by our initiatives.”
During the service Bishop Michael spoke about the work that St John’s Foundation has undertaken to support children, older adults and those who are in financial crisis, he said, “…we know that all such activity is considerably more complicated than the headlines sound. For to truly honour and care for another, or gracefully to be a recipient of care, is to put yourself in the place of the washing of feet. It’s about being willing to stand in a place of mutual vulnerability. It’s to enter a world turned upside down – or perhaps that should be the right way up - where the first shall be last and the last first.
“This is the mission of the St John’s Foundation. Care, honour, mutual vulnerability. These are the hallmarks of both giving and receiving the Foundation’s work - practical ways of living out Jesus’s example – that we should do, as has done for us.”
Photos Anna Barclay & Beata photography