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Church refurbishes stained glass window of Good Samaritan

April 7, 2018

GREENVILLE, Miss. (AP) — As parishioners leave St. James’ Episcopal Church, the last image they will see just before they walk out the front doors is the parable of the Good Samaritan.

The image depicted in the recently refurbished stained glass window in the back of the church’s sanctuary shows the good Samaritan administering to a traveler who had been stripped of his clothing, beaten and then left along the side of the road, said St. James’ pastor, Father Brandt Dick. Also pictured in the stained glass window, he said, is a priest and a scribe, both of whom are ignoring the injured traveler.

“Jesus is making the point of, ‘Who is your neighbor?’” Dick explained. “Those two — the priest and scribe — were supposed to, expected to, help him. But it’s this guy who helped him instead. . It’s a great window to have over the door for people when they’re leaving church. Each time you walk out, you see the Good Samaritan. It’s a good example of how you’re supposed to live out love. You’re supposed to love your neighbor as yourself.”

This particular stained glass window has been in the South Washington Avenue church since it was built in 1950. However, it’s been long overlooked, Dick said.

Years ago, that portion of the church, where the stained glass window is, was home to the organ loft. There were pipes, a grate for the organ and a free-standing brick wall, which made the visibility of the window rather nonexistent.

In the early 2000s, the parishioners built a new organ near the altar, which freed up the loft space.

Yet, the brick wall still hid the beauty of the window from parishioners and those driving or walking down South Washington Avenue, Dick said.

“During the day, it was so dark because there was no light coming from inside. And, at night, the light was inadequate,” he said, adding the large magnolia tree in the front lawn also hindered the window’s visibility. “You couldn’t see it from the road.”

A few years back, the church hired Pearl River Glass Studio in Jackson to evaluate the stained glass windows to see which ones needed work.

“They went up (in the loft) and said in their opinion, it was one of the nicest windows we had. Yet, you couldn’t see it,” Dick recalled.

So, the parishioners asked him if it would be possible to take out part of the wall and do some reconfiguring so the window could be seen — and they offered to pay for the project.

Of course, the father was on board.

The project has been a few years in the works, with a structural engineer, architect and glass studio all helping to uncover and refurbish the decades-old window.

Robert Hudson, with Pear River Glass Studio, said last fall, they pulled the window out to begin working on it.

“That window had aged pretty bad. So, we pulled it out of the opening and took it back to the studio,” he said.

Back in Jackson, they dissembled the window.

“We took out all the lead and then put all the pieces back together and put the lead back in it,” Hudson said, as he explained over the years, the lead gives way.

The process is one that is time consuming, but is worth it, he said, especially given the original stained glass was still in good shape.

“It’s a gorgeous window and we are so glad more people can see it now,” Dick said.

The newly refurbished window was officially dedicated to the late J. Russell Flowers, who was often referred to as one of the leading pioneers in the river transportation industry, during this morning’s Easter service, Dick said.

“Russell passed away this past year, and so his wife, Jill, continued with the project in memory of him,” he said.

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Information from: Delta Democrat-Times, http://www.ddtonline.com

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