A Window Into the Church's Soul: Congregation To Celebrate Renovation
Christ Church-Anglican in Southern Pines is on the verge of completing a new steeple and apse that will feature a stained glass window saved from the wrecking ball in Durham nine years ago.
For five decades, the window cast its soft northern light from behind the pulpit over parishioners in St. John's Chapel at St. Mark's Anglican Church on the former campus of the Methodist Retirement Center.
The Rev. John L. Sharpe, priest-in-charge at Christ Church, was rector at St. Mark's at the time and did not want the window obliterated.
"I couldn't bear the thought of that glass being destroyed," Sharpe said Wednesday. "It was more than I could bear."
So Sharpe contacted Carolina Stained Glass Inc. in Durham and asked if the window could be saved. The answer was, "Yes."
"We took the window down and they took it to their shop," said Sharpe, the retired curator of rare books at Duke University.
When Christ Church was working on plans for its addition earlier this year, Sharpe wondered if the window was available.
"I went to Carolina Stained Glass and asked, 'Do you remember the window?' I thought the likelihood of them having it wasn't very good," he said. "But they took me to a shed out back and it was in a crate."
Suzie Geyer, who works for Carolina Stained Glass, then restored the window to its original luster.
"She got it all fixed up so we can install it," Sharpe said. "She's an excellent restorer. She knows glass."
The window, which is 20 feet high and four feet wide, features a golden cross accented by a border of emerald green, sapphire blue and ruby red hues.
George Hillard, senior warden at Christ Church, said the restoration cost about $10,000.
"But to do it from scratch today would probably cost three or four times that," Hillard said. "It's in beautiful shape. It's going to look nice and will give us light into the church."
Christ Church purchased the nondescript rectangular building at 750 Fairway Drive three years ago.
"Now that we have a steeple and an apse, we look like a church," Hillard said. "The extra space also lets us do things the way the liturgy requires, such as placement of the tabernacle."
Christ Church is a member of the Diocese of the Holy Cross, and of Forward in Faith-North America. The Church provides traditional Anglican worship using the 1928 Book of Common Prayer and the 1940 Hymnal.
Hillard said work on the $45,000 addition began last October and was scheduled to be completed today after installation of the window.
"We've started growing because we have families with little kids now," he said. "We needed room to have a proper church, and we put up the steeple with a Celtic cross on top because that is historically the background of our church. It's part of our heritage."
So is the apse, which typically is a semicircular recess covered with a hemispherical vault or semi-dome. The Christ Church apse is not as large as its brethren in Europe, where the earliest surviving apses date to the 10th century.
"Our apse is not quite as fancy as some of the big ones," Hillard said. "For us, it was a question of space and light."
Sharpe said the inside of the church is going to change dramatically once the light filters through the inspirational artwork on the window.
"It makes a theological statement as well as an aesthetic statement," he said. "Hopefully, it will invite people to our worship services."
The Church will conduct its first service in the renovated space Sunday at 10:30 a.m.
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at (910) 693-2474 or tnatt@the
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