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  • St Anne’s Church

    September 1st, 2011

    The architectural style of St. Anne’s Church is based on the Roman basilica (law court), which was adapted by the early Christians throughout the empire for use as a Christian place of assembly, and subsequently used as a basis for the construction of new churches. The original basilicas would have used thin sheets of marble, called alabaster for large windows before glass became available, and seldom if ever used a pictorial or figurative style of stained glass that came with the development of the gothic style of architecture.

    The design for the new windows for St. Anne’s has therefore been based in the basilican tradition of simple coloured glass panels allowing soft and colourful light to illuminate the gathering space (the Nave) and the Sanctuary with a spiritually uplifting atmosphere. The recent technical advances that have become available with the manufacture of glass, have allowed the designer some latitude in their construction, and made available the opportunity to take this style of window design to previously unavailable presentations. So we have in the new windows not only beautiful coloured glass, but panels arranged in such a way that themes and representations can be distinguished.

    The nave in which the people assemble has its windows representing the theme of a field of wheat. Jesus used this reference a number of times in his parables to represent the people of God. Panels of blue represent the waters of baptism (at the font end) nurturing the wheat field, and the Holy Spirit is represented by swirling strokes in the glass blowing the fields to spiritual maturity and strength.

    The two windows on the eastern side of the sanctuary have the fields of wheat coming to maturity (golden brown), and continuing to have the influence of the Holy Spirit’s wind strokes. The field is nurtured by gifts from God, including water (blue) sent from heaven (purple.) This gift is particularly treasured in this driest of lands. The symbol of the fish is reflected in the shimmering water, being an historical connection between this modern basilican church and its twenty-first century congregation and the early Christian Roman community that used this symbol as a means of identification and communication in original Roman basilica times.

    The two windows on the western side of the sanctuary also have the fields of wheat coming to maturity (golden brown), with the continuing motif of the strengthening influence of the Holy Spirit blowing a wind through them. The field (people of God) has been redeemed by the shedding of the blood of Christ (red) which is re-enacted during the Mass and daily recurring in this Sanctuary. The divine nature of the redemption is indicated by it emanating from heaven (purple) and it is identified by the name of Jesus reflected in it (in the original Greek language of the gospels – IHS).

    Designed by Leslie Baxter and Mark Howard and manufactured by Architectural Glassworks.

    Click here for more photos of this installation, and other ecclesiastical work.