Splendor in the glass

This stained glass arch in St. Andrew’s Presbyterian dates to the original 1841 church, and is believed to be the oldest window in Sarnia.

When the congregation of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church gathers for Easter services some members will be bathed in light from stained glass as old as the nation.

The cornerstone of Sarnia’s oldest church was laid on the very day of Canada’s Confederation, and a few of its windows date to that period.

In fact, according to legend, somewhere in the church’s walls is one of the original documents of Confederation signed by the founding fathers on July 1, 1867.

The first of the Gothic church’s many memorial stained glass windows was installed in the 1950s, some of them gifts from local families.

But the oldest window, which today faces west onto Front Street, was salvaged from the original church built slight to the east on the same lot starting in 1841.

That window, which was vandalized once and sent for restoration in Toronto, is believed to be the oldest in Sarnia.

Stained glass windows are made from glass that’s been coloured by adding metallic salts in its manufacture, or from glass in which colours are painted and fused in a kiln.

Rev. Lloyd Murdock notes that many of St. Andrew’s beautiful windows feature children, and all of them are based on scripture.

“I have preached a sermon on almost every one of these windows,” he said. “They all tell a story.”

– George Mathewson