When you step into St. Paul’s Anglican Church, you are immediately struck by the magnificent collection of stained glass windows. The majority were designed and made by Robert McCausland Limited in Toronto. The original purpose of stained glass windows was to tell the Christian story to those who could not read it for themselves. The windows at St. Paul’s are no exception, with each one having its own unique tale to share.
The triple window over the altar is the oldest. The centre panel, Behold I Stand at the Door and Knock, is an excellent reproduction of William Holman Hunt’s painting entitled “the Light of the World”, which hangs in St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, England. A striking feature is the lantern Christ is holding – the light seems to literally be shining from it. This centre panel was installed in 1955. In 1964, the panels on either side were added. The Women’s Auxiliary raised the funds for the Virgin Mary panel, and the St. Paul’s Ladies Guild raised the funds for the Saint Paul panel.
The right side of the sanctuary features windows installed in 2011. An Angel of the Lord Came Down is a stunning depiction of the angel announcing the birth of Christ to the Shepherds. It is given in memory of parishioner Margaret (Peggy) Price. The Word Made Flesh is a beautiful depiction of the Holy Family, given in honour of the 1948 wedding of Marven and Shirley Strong that took place at St. Paul’s.
Continuing down the right-hand side of the church, in the Nave, is a double panelled window with both panels installed in 1990. The first panel, The Sower is in memory of Janet Annesley. In our window, the figure of The Sower is female. The second panel, Christ Blessing the Children, is in memory of Mary Heathcote. The window features the three Heathcote children sitting with Jesus under an arbutus tree. This caused quite a stir when it was requested as the designers in Ontario had never seen an arbutus tree! Many photos and descriptions crossed the country. A new day dawns as the sun rises over the beach.
The next window on the right hand side of the church is a triple panelled window. The middle panel, Mary Magdalene was installed in 1988 in memory of parishioner Doris Mercer. Mary is holding a box of spices in preparation for the anointing of the Lord’s body. Feed my Lambs, in memory of Edie Lazaruk, includes much symbolism. Edie and Sandy had five children. The window features five sheep. Edie was also head of the St. Paul’s catering committee for many years, hence the feeding theme. It is interesting to note that the background is west coast, rather than biblical. God Loves a Cheerful Giver, is in memory of Sharon Wipper. It was designed using a photo of Sharon and her grandchildren on the beach in Lantzville. If you look closely you can see a tiny boat in the background.
Next to the triple panelled window are two more modern looking stained glass windows at the back of the church. The first depicts Jesus as the shepherd with His lambs. It is in memory of Del Aubert and was installed in 1991. It was designed and made by Glaskrafter Art Glass Studio in Nanaimo. The final window on the right hand side of the church is dedicated to the ministry of the Rev. Monty Cutts and his wife Nancy. It was donated by their son in thanksgiving for the healing ministry in which his parents participated. The window depicts Jesus healing a child. It was designed by a local artist and installed in 2015.
High on the left wall in the sanctuary is The Tree of Life, a “trefoil” window installed in 2004. It was to be in memory of Ernie and Hilda Stevens, long-time, very active members of St. Paul’s. Sadly, around the time the window was ordered, their grandson David was killed in a plane crash. Shortly after, his brother Darren died in tragic circumstances, so the window is in memory of all four.
Behind the organ is the St. Cecilia window, installed in 2004. St. Cecilia is the patron saint of music. This is a parish window with funds raised by various parish groups and individual donations. The window is in thanksgiving for St. Paul’s musicians, past, present and future.
Continuing down the left hand side of the church you can see four windows depicting the four Gospel writers. The St. Matthew window was installed in 1994 in memory of Robert Brondyke, a young man who drowned in the Nanaimo River in 1986 at the age of 18. St. Mark the Evangelist and Historian was the first window installed in the body of the church in 1988. It was given in memory of Mark Bate by his great-grandchildren. Mark Bate was the first mayor of Nanaimo and sang in the St. Paul`s choir. The face of the Saint is from an actual photo of Mr. Bate. Luke, the Beloved Physician was installed in 1994. It is a parish window in thanksgiving for all who serve in the healing ministry.
St. John the Disciple whom Jesus Loved was installed in 1996 and is also a parish window celebrating the 135th anniversary of the parish. Funds were raised by the 135th Anniversary Committee and added to by individual donations.