London’s first United Reformed church celebrated its 50th anniversary this weekend with music, food and song.

St John’s Church in Somerset Road held three days of celebrations to commemorate half a century since Congregational and Presbyterian worshippers in Barnet came together to form the church.

The celebrations started with an exhibition charting the church’s history, followed by the premier of a cantata called the “The Bridge”, which was written by the church's minister the Reverend John Templeton and set to music by local composer Richard Harvey.

Rev Templeton said the cantata, which was sung by baritone and soprano soloist and a choir and accompanied by a chamber orchestra was received with “rapturous applause.”

Celebrations continued on Saturday with a dinner for members of the congregation and the community, which Rev Templeton called a “very convivial, happy gathering.”

On Sunday, four United Reformed ministers led an anniversary service, which was attended by 150 members of the congregation and deputy Mayor of Barnet Councillor Kate Salinger, who represented the borough. Choir Unlimited, a  Barnet-based community choir, also sang

Rev Templeton said: “Everyone thought this was a very uplifting service.

“Former members of the church were able to return and reestablish friendships and it was a great boost for the current congregation as well."

St John’s Church was founded in 1963 when two churches, New Barnet Congregational Church, formerly in Station Road and St Augustine’s Presbyterian Church in Somerset Road came together. This was nearly ten years before the two churches formally merged to form the United Reformed church.

Rev Templeton added: “This was a wonderful occasion to look back and think how visionary and energetic the two churches that united in 1963 were.”