Future Meets Past
By Connie Denesiuk
Anticipation was in the air at Summerland Baptist Church, on July 21st, 2013. The congregation was about to view a piece of artwork, unseen for 36 years and temporarily concealed behind a curtain. At the parting of the curtain, murmurs of delight and applause welcomed the beautiful stained glass windows back to Summerland Baptist Church.
The softly coloured windows were a focal piece of art in Summerland Baptist Church back in 1910, when early church member, Samuel Bartholomew, created the stained glass panels as a tribute to his wife.
In the early 1960's, choir members began to complain of a draft coming in through the lovely windows behind them, as time and sun had caused the putty in the windows to shrink. The Care of the Church committee came up with a clever solution to the problem and built a wooden box around the window and replaced the natural light with fluorescent bulbs and tin foil lining. No further complaints of draft came from the choir!
Due to a major building addition in 1977, the windows were carefully removed and safely stored away. Lorne Bloomfield kept a watchful eye on the stained glass windows over the past 36 years as they have been shuffled about. Lorne has attended Summerland Baptist Church for 79 years, and recalls how, as a boy of 5 or 6, he would gaze at the windows, amazed by their brilliance. It is no wonder that Lorne would want to ensure the safety of the windows, in the hopes that one day, another little boy or girl might be struck by the beauty of the colourful display.
That "one day" has come. Allan Bedford lead the effort to incorporate the century old windows into the sanctuary, to display their beauty and remind folks of the church's hundred-plus year history of faith in Christ, worship and service in Summerland.
Focusing on the future is a priority at Summerland Baptist Church. The building, the programs, and more importantly - the people - are very children focused. Yet, while looking to the future, it is wonderful to celebrate and appreciate lovely things from the past.
After the unveiling of the stained glass panels, the congregation sang an old hymn written by Edward Mote in the early 1800's. I couldn't help but wonder if perhaps in the church's early years, those stained glass panels sent a colourful glow out to folks singing those very same words; "On Christ the solid rock I stand"? I'd like to think so. And it warms my heart to think that those stained glass panels will shed their lovely light on future generations.