St. Paul’s Chapel

The signature poem, “St. Paul’s Chapel,” for Johnson’s most recent
book of verse (now in its second printing) – St. Paul’s Chapel &
Selected Shorter Poems
– has been used since 2002 as the memento
card at St. Paul’s Chapel,
the little chapel that stood
after 9/11, becoming the
relief center (where
Johnson volunteered
during the clean-up
period) for the
recovery workers at
Ground Zero; the Chapel
has served as the
de facto memorial for
millions of visitors, who
have come to the World
Trade Center site since
the attacks. The poem,
extensively published both
here and abroad (also
translated into foreign
languages), has been called
the country’s most widely
read piece of recent verse.

A TIME & SPACE FOR REMEMBRANCE AND HEALING – Observance of the 20th Anniversary of September 11, 2001

“Healing means the damage no longer controls our lives.” Trinity parishioners share their 9/11 healing journeys.

Some people let go of that immediate reaction of horror and anger in the healing process. Some people are still in the process of it. In this video, seven parishioners tell stories of their healing journey in the last 20 years.

Courtesy of Trinity Church Wall Street

FIVE LIVES: Ten years after 9/11, individual interviews with three former volunteers (including J. Chester Johnson) at St. Paul's Chapel (relief center for the recovery workers and located within yards of the North Tower site), a construction manager at Ground Zero, and the real estate developer of the Ground Zero site.
Courtesy of the A+E Television Networks

RISING FROM THE ASHES: Individual interviews with three post-9/11 volunteers (including J. Chester Johnson) at St. Paul's Chapel (located within yards of the North Tower site), relief center for the recovery workers during the clean-up at Ground Zero.
Courtesy of the A+E Television Networks

J. Chester Johnson in conversation with Rowan Williams, who, at the time, was Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the Anglican Communion around the world; Dr. Williams is also a well-known poet and theologian. The conversation took place in St. Paul's Chapel in New York City where J. Chester Johnson's poem, 'St. Paul's Chapel,' has been the memento card since soon after the 9/11 attacks in downtown New York City. The Chapel was the relief center for the recovery workers at Ground Zero for the eight months of cleanup, ending in May, 2002.

The 9/11 Tribute Museum, formerly known as the 9/11 Tribute Center, has recently opened in 2017 on Greenwich Street behind Trinity Church Wall Street, only a few, short blocks from Ground Zero. The organization began serving the public in 2006 by commemorating the stories of those who lived and experienced the tragic events of 9/11. The Museum now presents videos, artifacts and personal histories, linking visitors who want to understand more about the attacks with those who experienced them. Comments by J. Chester Johnson, who volunteered at St. Paul’s Chapel at the same time he served on the vestry (governing board) for Trinity Church Wall Street, which owns and operates the Chapel, have been made part of the exhibits at the Museum. During the cleanup at Ground Zero, St. Paul’s Chapel served as the relief center for the recovery workers. Johnson’s words describe the way that the atmosphere and volunteers at the Chapel helped to uplift the spirits of those workers and provide some temporary comforts to those who had to return from the Chapel across Church Street to the Pile at Ground Zero, only a few yards away.


The Second Printing


St. Paul's Chapel & Selected Shorter Poems

by J. Chester Johnson

St. Johann Press

Available at: Amazon Books,

St. Johann Press

or at your favorite bookstore!

Reprint edition (March 31, 2010)

ISBN: 978-1-878282-61-3 $19.95

"These poems, like all authentic ones, bear witness to a truth.”

– Edward Mendelson

“With J. Chester Johnson, objectivity and passion coexist naturally. And language, rather than abstracting experience, breathes a direct connection to our tragedies, pettiness, bones and sweat and exaltation.”

– Jean Mellichamp Milliken

“My reaction to (Johnson’s) work, wholehearted as it was, did not come near to envisioning the scope and quality, the prodigality of (Johnson’s) accelerating career.”

– William Stafford

“Wherever my gaze fell I read good lines.”

– Isaac B. Singer, Nobel Prize for Literature

“Chester Johnson’s stunning book of poems, St. Paul’s Chapel & Selected Shorter Poems, is a powerful collection. Johnson writes with such elegance and honesty that his poems are riveting, hard to put down. I recommend this book wholeheartedly.”

– Elizabeth Powell