Faith · Beauty · Justice

Graduation Sermon

Preacher: The Rev’d Dr Victoria Johnson
                 Dean, St John's College, Cambridge       

The text of the sermon may be downloaded here.



Student Chapel community

The Chapel of St John’s College is one of the most recognisable buildings in Cambridge and is home to a lively, welcoming and inclusive community. We aim to provide something for everyone, no matter how great or how little your faith and whatever your background or church denomination. 

St John’s College has a distinguished tradition of religious music and, since the 1670s, has possessed a world-famous College Choir, whose main duty is singing the daily services (Tuesday to Sunday) in the College Chapel during the University Term.

Chapel services


We are always delighted to welcome you to Chapel for services. Services are held in Chapel during University Full Term dates. Tickets are not required for our services.

Please note that during term time visitor access to the College is limited to the Chapel only, for services. Please enter the College via the Great Gate or Forecourt Gate.


St John's Chapel as seen from First Court
Special services

In addition to the regular services, the Chapel organises a number of special events and services which take place during the year.

Advent Carol Service

The Advent Carol Services will be held on Saturday 30 November 2024 at 6.00pm and Sunday 1 December 2024 at 3.00pm.  The Sunday service will be broadcast live by BBC Radio 3. 

Please note that priority will be given to members of the College. Applications for seats will open in the October. This service is unsuitable for babies and toddlers.  For more information and to apply for tickets please follow this link.


Epiphany Carol Service

These highly atmospheric candle-lit services are planned for Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 January 2025 at 6.00pm.

This Candlelit Service of readings and music celebrate the season of Epiphany. 

This service, owing to the hand held candles, is unsuitable for babies and toddlers. Applications for seats will open in the November. Please note that priority will be given to members of the College.   For more information and to apply for tickets please follow this link.


Ash Wednesday Evensong

This service of Evensong is planned to take place on Ash Wednesday, 5 March 2025 at 3.30pm (time tbc).


A Lenten Meditation  

These highly atmospheric services of readings and music for Lent and Passiontide is planned for Saturday 15 March 2025 at 6.00pm.

This service is unsuitable for babies and toddlers. Applications for seats will open in the December. Please note that priority will be given to members of the College. 


Ascension Day

Ascension Day next falls on Thursday 9 May 2024. Every year on Ascension Day, after a Choral Eucharist in Chapel, the Choir ascends the 163ft Chapel Tower and sings the Ascension Day Carol. 


Forthcoming events in Chapel...

Chapel Collections

There is a Collection Box and a Contactless giving machine in Chapel to enable those who wish to donate to Charity. Various charities are chosen throughout the year and we are grateful for the generosity of our congregations in supporting them.


Should you wish to make a donation online you may do so by following this secure link.
Donate now


The Charity that the Chapel is supporting currently is:



WC Wintercomfort is a support hub, creating opportunities all year round for homeless individuals.
Since 1991, Wintercomfort has supported people who are homeless or at risk of losing their home in Cambridge. They provide practical welfare support, counselling, advice, training and opportunities to help bring long lasting, positive change to the lives of the most vulnerable within the community.



Service List

Last Term's Chapel Service list

To download a copy of last Term's service list please follow this link



Sunday Evensong Sermons

Easter Term 2024We have invited preachers last term on Brave New Worlds

Last term our preachers will address an aspect of the future: considering what the future might hold in a number of vital areas of life. 

Last Term's Sunday sermons may be found following this link.


Sunday Eucharist Sermons

Sermons Preached at the Eucharist last term may be found following this link.


Each term the Sunday Evensongs have a theme and guest preachers from best-selling novelists like Salley Vickers to eminent scientists like John Polkinghorne have encouraged us to think more deeply.

For a selection of our most recent themed sermons, click here.

The College Choir

The College Choir Coronation Service


The Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge is one of the finest collegiate choirs in the world – known and loved by millions from its recordings, broadcasts and concert tours. The Choir is directed by Christopher Gray, who was previously Director of Music at Truro Cathedral. We are part of the Church of England, and Evensong (from the Book of Common Prayer) is sung every day during Term, with a Sung Eucharist (Common Worship) on Sunday mornings. You can find out more about the Choir at its dedicated website.

For information about applying for a Choral Award, click here.


What's on

Annual Highlights for students

Matriculation Service (Tuesday of Fresher’s Week).
Your formal welcome to the College, immediately after the Matriculation Photograph.

Advent Carol Services (Last weekend of full Michaelmas Term)
Broadcast live on Radio 3 and followed by Advent Hall, these are the most popular services of the year by far. Current students get priority.

Epiphany Carol Service (First weekend of Lent Term)
This is one of our most atmospheric services, lit only by candlelight.

A Lenten Meditation (usually the last Saturday of Lent Term)
A meditative service with music, poetry and singing.

Graduation Service (Graduation Day)
Just after the graduation photograph, this is a service to celebrate the end of your time at St John’s, and is open to visitors who come to support you at graduation.



Other highlights

Study and Reading Groups

Other than in the Easter Term there is usually a reading group or Bible Study group, convened by the Chaplain. The College also has a Christian Union.

Chapel trips and events

From time to time the Chaplain organizes visits or social occasions for students, which he advertises to them directly.



A children's choir from St John the Divine, Kennington


The Chapel has a partnership with the Parish of St John the Divine, Kennington in South London. This is one of the poorest parishes in the UK, but its church community is extraordinarily lively, with one of the largest children’s choirs of any Anglican parish church nationally. Its congregation includes people of over 50 nationalities, especially from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. 

The children’s choirs were founded in 2013 with encouragement from two Johnians in the congregation: Jeremy Martin and Tom Chigbo. Each July, the choirs visit Cambridge for a summer school, staying at the College school and singing for services in the Chapel. 

St John the Divine has two parish schools, located within the Lambeth education authority, with which the College has a special connection through the University’s Area Links Scheme

In September 2017, the Parish set up organ scholarships to provide opportunities for up to five of the most enthusiastic and talented children to benefit from professional lessons, practice facilities and opportunities to perform publicly, with support from the College.

Venue and facilities hire

The painted ceiling of the Chapel roof


The Chapel and its facilities are available to hire for a variety of different events. To enquire about hiring the Chapel, please contact the Chapel Clerk on 01223 338676, or by email. If you would like to get married in the Chapel, please contact the Dean by email

The Chapel can seat up to 247 people in the collegiate style benches and misericords. If desired, additional seating can be placed in the aisle to increase the total number of seats in the main body of the Chapel to 413 (at extra charge). It is also possible for an extra 100 seats to be set out in the Ante-Chapel, but these do offer restricted views.

Please note:  Owing to major building works scheduled to take place in the Chapel throughout 2025, the College is unable to accept bookings for concerts and services (including weddings) on dates between 1 January and 31 December 2025.  

Concert hire

The Chapel is used regularly for concerts due to its excellent acoustics and versatile space. The stage area has fixed tiering, which can accommodate around 45 instrumental players. The Chapel has excellent recording facilities; for an example of a recorded event, please visit the recent choir webcasts, available on the Choir website

Organ recitals

The Chapel’s four manual, Mander Organ is one of the finest instruments of its kind in the country. The organ can be hired for recitals or as accompaniment for choral or orchestral concerts.


The Chapel is available for hire as a recording venue when it is closed to the public. We do not have recording equipment for hire, but we can provide benches and chairs. 

Weddings in Chapel

The College Chapel is available for a Marriage Service and for services of Prayer and Dedication after a Civil Marriage at certain times of the year.  Members of the College who are within current residence (or out of residence for no more than five years) are entitled to be married in the College Chapel in accordance with the Standing Orders of the College and of the rules governing a marriage within the Church of England. Ceremonies are taken by the College Clergy and initial conversations about arrangements and wedding preparation should be had with them.

A date, if available, may be held for a couple of months, however no date is confirmed until an application has been received and approved by the College Council and therefore reception venues etc should not be confirmed. Please note that weddings do not usually take place during Term time or in August. If you are considering the College for your Wedding Breakfast, please follow this link.

A Marriage Service takes place under a Special Licence issued by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The College is not licensed for Civil Wedding Ceremonies.

Who's who

The Dean

The Rev'd Dr Victoria JohnsonVictoria Johnson came to St John’s from the Metropolitical Cathedral Church of St Peter, York, known as York Minster, where she was Canon Precentor, overseeing the musical and worshipping life of the Cathedral. Prior to this she was a Residentiary Canon at Ely Cathedral, and a priest in Manchester Diocese being ordained there in 2007. She read theology and religious studies at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, and studied at the Institute of Sacred Music and Divinity School in Yale, USA. Prior to ordination Victoria worked as a Post-Doctoral Cancer Research Scientist at Manchester University after gaining a BSc and PhD in Biochemistry from Leicester University. Her research interests span Liturgy, Music, Homiletics, Religion and Science, apologetics and mission theology, and she has recently published her first book, On Voice: Speech, Song, Silence, Human and Divine, (Darton, Longman and Todd, 2024)  As Dean, Victoria oversees Chapel life and contributes more broadly to the life of the College community.



The Chaplain

AndrewAndrew Hammond was an undergraduate at Clare College, and then worked in classical music for nearly twenty years: first as a singer, then in arts administration. He was ordained in 2007, and has worked in two London parishes and at St Paul’s Cathedral. Before coming to St John’s he was Chaplain at King’s College.

The Chaplain supports the College Tutors who are the primary point of pastoral care for the 900 Junior members of the College (undergraduates and research students). The Chaplain is available to everyone in College – Fellows, Students and Staff.




The Director of Music

Chris GrayChris Gray is new to St John’s, having moved to Cambridge after Easter. A native of Bangor, Northern Ireland, he read music as an undergraduate at Pembroke College Cambridge before spending a year as Organ Scholar at Guildford Cathedral while studying postgraduate performance at the Royal College of Music. In 2000 Chris moved to Cornwall to be Assistant Organist at Truro Cathedral, and in 2008 he was made Director of Music, with responsibility for the cathedral choir and its six sung services each week. He has broadcast and recorded extensively, as well as commissioning new works from many of the UK’s leading composers; and as Musical Director of Three Spires Singers and Orchestra he has conducted most of the large-scale choral repertoire. A Fellow of the Royal College of Organists, Chris has given recitals on many of the finest organs in the UK and further afield. 

At the heart of Chris’s responsibilities at St John’s is direction of the College Choir: he works with the Choristers, Choral Scholars, Lay Clerks and Organ Scholars to provide music that enhances the liturgy of the beautiful Gilbert Scott chapel, upholding a tradition that dates from the 1670s. 






Chapel Clerk 

Stephen StokesStephen came to St John’s in 2007, having previously served as Verger at Romsey Abbey and St Marylebone Parish Church in London. He has been a Verger since 1999. His responsibilities are for the care of the Chapel and associated administration under the direction of the Dean.

Stephen is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Chapel building, he oversees the administration of the Chapel and is the prime contact for all external hirers of the Chapel.

In August 2016 he obtained the Diploma for the Church of England Guild of Vergers with honours. Stephen currently serves as General Secretary to the Church of England Guild of Vergers

In 2020 Stephen was appointed as the Ostiarius of the Convocation of Canterbury, an honorary role with the House of Bishops in the See of Canterbury.

In 2021 the Church of England Guild of Vergers bestowed upon Stephen the Fellowship of the Guild, this is the highest honour that can be given by the Guild.


Assistant Verger

John Boulter works with the Chapel Clerk and assists at many of the College's services. John Boulter



General enquiries


Chapel Clerk
Stephen Stokes
Tel 01223 (3)38676  
Address Chapel Office, Chapel Court

Stephen is the main contact for enquires about the Chapel, Services and any enquiries about booking the Chapel as a venue for a Wedding or a Concert


The Dean
The Rev'd Dr Victoria Johnson
Tel 01223 (7)69975

The Chaplain
The Rev'd Andrew Hammond
Tel 01223 (3)38617




The Choir Administrator
Andrea McDermott
Tel 01223 (3)38718
Address F2c Chapel Court

Andrea is the main contact for enquiries about Choir activities


The Director of Music
Christopher Gray
for telephone enquires please contact
The Choir Administrator 01223 (3)38718