Inspired by Archdeacon Roy Beynon (Priest-in-charge, 1973-1982) and designed by accomplished stained glass artist Christopher Wallis, St John’s Clerestory Windows are a visual representation of Psalm 150.
A project which came into fruition in the Spring of 1986 following six years of development, the beautiful stained glass imagery depicts angels engaged in the worship of God in Heaven upon seven musical instruments.
The first instrument named in the Psalm, the Trumpet, is assigned to the pair of junior angels in each window. The remaining instruments are depicted once, held in each case by the central angel: Lute, Harp, Timbrel & Dance, Pipe and Cymbals. Finally, representing the Strings, the last window features angels playing both the Lyre as well as the more modern Violin. The wings of all the angels are deliberately spread outwards so as to link up in harmony with each other from window to window. The identical colouring of their robes achieves the same effect.
The role of angels in Christianity cannot be understated: they act as God’s messengers and ministers, offering us comfort and strength in our pilgrimage as God’s children. Angels play a significant role in many important events in both the Old and New Testaments. The occasions may be rare, but in Christian history there are people of faith who claim to have been strengthened by the perceived presence of luminous spiritual beings other than human.
In the witness of the New Testament angels are active as messengers of resurrection, bringing us hope of the fulfilment of this life in the world to come. They seem to hover over the boundary between Time and Eternity, enabling us to bridge the gap between Earth and Heaven; so it was, as we have seen, at the empty tomb of the Risen Lord. As St. John the Divine, in one of his greatest visions, accounts:
“Then came one of the seven angels…and in the Spirit…he showed me the holy city of Jerusalem
coming down out of heaven from God” ~ Revelation 21: 9
In addition to reflecting upon this important dimension of spiritual reality, the windows also act as memorial tributes to
Mildred Beynon and Sylvia Gwynne-Timothy (Dedication Ceremony: Sunday, December 21, 1986)
Joyce Stewart (Dedication Ceremony: Sunday, November 27, 1988)
Helen Palmer (Dedication Ceremony: Sunday, August 13, 1989)
Bob Packer (Dedication Ceremony: Sunday, October 8, 1989)
Sam Martin (Dedication Ceremony: Sunday, September 23, 1990) and
Archdeacon Roy Beynon (Dedication Ceremony: Wednesday, December 4, 1991) for his exceptional contribution to St. John’s priestly ministry.
~ Excerpt from Canon Morley E. Pinkney’s
“The Ministry of Angels: Celebrating the Clerestory Windows of the Church of St. John the Divine”