2016 saw the beginning of a new chapter in the life of St. John’s, Sharow, when it became only the fifth Church in the Diocese of Leeds to gain an ECO Church Award.
In 2017 an extensive programme of restoration work on the stained glass and wall paintings was put in hand, alongside the construction of a new kitchen, toilets and car park and the installation of disabled access facilities. Following the completion of this second phase of work (the first phase included underfloor heating and new lighting), the Church was officially re-opened by the Dean of Ripon on 29th April 2018. In his address on that occasion the Dean spoke of the enhancement of the building “…as a place of worship… as a place of quiet reflection and prayer…as a venue for music, culture and the arts, and as a centre of the community”.
This is now your building, to be looked after for future generations.
The body known as “The Friends of St. John’s, Sharow” provides a focus for those of any faith (or none) who cherish this place. The Friends will help to maintain and preserve the building (along with its contents and the churchyard belonging to it) and to improve and develop the experience of all visitors. The churchyard is of some significance – it has been designated a ‘North Yorkshire County wildlife site’; the church is regarded by Caring for God’s Acre Charity as one of the finest in England, and Charles Piazzi Smyth (1819-1900), Astronomer Royal for Scotland, is buried here, his tombstone being a Pyramid surmounted by a cross. The Arts Society North East Area has listed the Hedgeland East Window as one of fifty ‘Hidden Treasures of the North East’.
The building has enjoyed the benefit of much financial support from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Yorkshire Historic Churches Trust and other donors in connection with the restoration and refurbishment works that have been carried out. However, further financial resources will be continuously needed to sustain the building within the life of the community, so that it may continue to provide spiritual sanctuary and remain a source of inspiration both for the present generation and generations to come.