St. John’s is the only remaining church in Chewton still used as a place of worship. It is part of the Anglican Parish of Castlemaine. Located at 11 Church Street, St John’s is set on a hill among gum trees and overlooks the township. St John’s is typical of a small country church as the stone slab for a back step demonstrates, yet the stained-glass windows allow a play of light when the sun streams through.
The church, supported by the generosity of local people throughout its history, was struck by a cyclone in 1901. A letter from the Archdeacon of Bendigo, J.C. MacCullagh, to The Argus in November of that year states “The church exists no longer. The late cyclone levelled it with the ground. It is an utter ruin - church, organ, furniture, all wrecked. Mr Lamb, the honorary secretary, an old and faithful member of the church, was crushed to death beneath the ruins of his house.” Today, local residents continue to support the church. Artists donate their time and talents at a monthly concert where all proceeds from the AUD5 entrance fee go to the upkeep of the church.
A Eucharist service is held every Saturday at 18:00. Into the Silence meditation and silent prayer takes place every Monday at 15:30. Sunday services are held at Christ Church in Castlemaine, which also holds a healing service each month on a Sunday afternoon at 17:00.
A wedding is one of life’s great moments. St John’s has been celebrating weddings in Chewton since its foundation, and it is a popular destination for many couples, especially those requiring a more intimate worship space. The Celebrant for your wedding will assist in the planning of your ceremony. At the wedding, the priest uses the services authorised by the Anglican Church of Australia. The priest welcomes everyone present and reminds them of God’s purposes in instituting marriage. There is a reading from Scripture, and a short address is given. The bride and the groom promise to give themselves to one another and wedding rings are blessed and exchanged as a sign of the vows that have been taken, and that the commitment is unending. The priest blesses the married couple. Prayers are offered by everyone present for the couple and their future together. You can personalise the service for your special day, through the choice of readings, music and prayers. Photographs and videos are a wonderful way to record your special day, and your photographer and video operator are welcome and should introduce themselves to the Celebrant before the wedding.
Concerts are held in the church in the afternoons on the last Sunday of the month during autumn and winter. Concerts start at 14:00 until 16:30. The concerts are informal affairs with local singers, poets and musicians donating their talents to help raise funds for the maintenance of the church.