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The Windows on The Resurrection

Jack Steel May 21, 2022 4

Windows on the Resurrection 

 

From the 23rd to the 29th of May, Sanctuary First will be at St Cuthbert’s Parish Church in Edinburgh showing a new Art Installation ‘Windows on the Resurrection’.

Together with a team of volunteers, we have created a series of stained glass painted windows each depicting an image inspired by the story of Christs resurrection. Combined with an ambient sound scape and voices of prayer, we hope this will be an immersive experience for people to get involved with and feel closer to God and their faith.

The Windows will be available to see in person from the 24th to the 29th at St Cuthbert’s Parish Church in Edinburgh where there is a Digital Guide including the prayers and reflections.

Windows on the Resurrection: Digital Guide

We will also be creating a film of the exhibition so that all the Sanctuary First community that live further afield or couldn’t make it along to the exhibition, will still be able to view and enjoy the project.

 

Jack steel tells all about the origins of the project and how it came about

Out with the old and in with the new

 

As with many things in life, change is necessary but not always welcomed.

In this case the change was most certainly welcomed. Our house was standing open to the elements, and in place of what was once wooden framed windows was now a stripped out and refreshing hole. Slowly the man fitting the windows was working his way methodically round the building and replacing each frame with a new – and draught free – PVC window.

Gone were the draughty wooden frames that now sat gathering in their numbers on our driveway. The more the old windows piled up, the more it seamed odd for these windows that we had been looking through for the best part of 30 years to be thrown away – they were after all not completely functional to guard against the elements any longer, but surely not complete scrap?

It dawned on us that a unique opportunity had presented itself in the form of an aging house having its old wooden windows replaced. Perhaps we could fashion a final use for at least a few of these windows so that they might be looked through once more before their inevitable way out.

As we looked at the oddly surreal sight of a stack of plain old house windows catching the light of the afternoon sun an idea formed…. What if we were to paint these plain old windows full of vibrant colours and images? After all what is a window but a frame – not too far off that which would hold art? A frame in which we all look out and into the world every day.

With a combined effort by the Sanctuary First community and the Stirling4Community charity team we hoped that we could certainly fill these frames with artwork that could inspire and help us to look out through these windows once more but now with new eyes.

The plan was simple (or so we thought at the time), we would take 12 windows and through them dwell of the story of Christs resurrection, each window looking into a chapter of the resurrection story, and each one painted with a different image and with its own prayer and reflection. The windows would be staged around a large space, dramatically lit to best show their colours and we would create an ambient sound scape of music, prayer and spoken word to fill the space and guide people in their reflection. Visitors would be able to come and go as they pleased, move around the space lit up with the colours of the stained glass and hopefully, find a moment of spiritual connection.

 

The images of the resurrection

We began, as is the best place to start with many an undertaking - by reading the Bible. Reading through the various passages and versions that told of the story of Christ’s resurrection and the events that took place upon His return, with hopes to find inspiration for the artwork…

In turn we settled on the following vignettes to focus on:

Christ being laid in the Tomb,

The resurrection,

The stone that rolled away,

The folded face cloth that the disciples found in the empty tomb,

Mary crying and encountering the two angels,

Mary mistaking Christ for the Gardener,

The story of the road to Emmaus,

The breaking of the bread and wine when Christ reveals himself,

The story of Doubting Thomas,

Jesus frying the fish on the beach as he calls out to the disciples in their boat,

Jesus asking Peter three times ‘Do you love Me?’,

and last, but not least, Christ’s ascension.

In each of these stories there is many a learning that can be gleamed, and not all of which could be captured in one window alone, but as the Apostle John, says ‘There are many other things that Jesus did. If they were all written down one by one, the whole world could not hold the books that would be written.” And so, we too would only relay so much, and instead focus on one or two aspects of these stories, perhaps the small detail of the facecloth and its significance in our modern lives today, or in Christ’s response to Peter’s questions; ‘Feed my Sheep’.

 

The task at hand

And so, we set about our task - First things first - the windows were to be stripped back to the bone. Brackets removed, sanded and buffed down, the glass cleaned, and with the help of some willing volunteers, we were then able to give each frame a new lease of life with a new lick of black paint.

Next our carefully considered designs were to be stencilled and drawn free hand onto the glass with chalk pens, this would be the template for our 12 volunteers to follow when applying the colours.

And at last, we were able to come together in North Parish Church in Stirling and start painting! 12 volunteers came along, and each was given a window of their own to be painted. A long day of strained eyes and concentration, but by the end we had 12 mostly complete windows, newly filled with colour and paint!

A special thankyou to the Stirling4Community art group and all of the Sanctuary First community who has come together to help bring this project into being. May it touch and reach as many people as God wills and give a moment for people to connect to the story of the resurrection, in their modern lives.

 

Thanks

To John and Raymond for helping to prepare the windows.

To Jim for the construction of the frames for the windows to free stand,

And to all our fabulous painters who brought the colour to the windows.

Sally

Natalie

Klaire

Lorna w

Lorna S

Denise

Albert

Martha

Ishbel

Colleen

Jane

Paula

Thank you to Allan Hewitt who created and recorded the wonderful sound scape and music that will accompany the installation.

And thank you to Stirling North Parish Church for letting us use your halls to paint in, and of course thank you to St Cuthberts Parish Church for hosting the Art work and giving a space for them to be seen and enjoyed.

The Windows will be available to see in person from the 24th to the 29th at St Cuthberts Parish Church in Edinburgh, where there is a Digital Guide available, including the prayers and reflections.

Windows on the Resurrection: Digital Guide

We will also be creating a film of the exhibition so that all the Sanctuary First community that live further afield, or couldn’t make it along, will still be able to view and enjoy the project.

Join us in person:

St Cuthberts Parish Edinburgh