New stained glass window completes cathedral's Chapel of St. John the Evangelist

A new stained glass window in the Cathedral Church of St. Paul--its one and only--now beckons, in brilliant blue, to passersby looking in from the street and to worshipers looking out from the sanctuary.

The window was unveiled, blessed and dedicated on Feb. 21 before a congregation of about 100 people gathered for a special early evening service, which carried light as its theme.

The window is the finishing touch to the new glass-walled chapel built into the northwest corner of the cathedral church as part of a major renovation project completed last fall.

"The new front windows of our cathedral face out onto the sidewalks of our city, the Boston Gates at window dedication Tracy J. Sukraw Bishop Gates at the window dedication service. Common and the State House atop the hill.  It is no accident that they are windows of clear glass, inviting us as they do to connect the life and faith nourished in this building to the needs of the world around us," Bishop Alan M. Gates said in his remarks.  The new stained glass window, he said, "is filtered and energized by colors and beauty, informing our view of the world with its symbols and imbuing it with the very grace of God."

The cathedral's dean, the Very Rev. Jep Streit, called the completion of the new chapel "a dream come true," explaining at the close of the dedication service that the diocese's previous bishop, the late Rt. Rev. M. Thomas Shaw, SSJE, had wanted the cathedral to have an intimate chapel space where people could come in and pray.

The new chapel is dedicated to Shaw's memory, and its name honors the former Church of St. John the Evangelist on Bowdoin Street in Boston. 

Begun as a mission of the Society of St. John the Evangelist in 1883, St. John's served, among others, the poor and unemployed in Boston's West End and Beacon Hill neighborhoods.  It was made a parish of the diocese in 1985, continuing in its Anglo-Catholic liturgical tradition while embracing women's ordination, and extending outreach and hospitality to people in need and to other marginalized groups.  As the diminished size of its congregation in recent years made it no longer self-supporting, St. John's was closed and the building sold last year to partially fund the renovations to the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, where the merged congregations now worship.

Chapel window Tracy J. Sukraw Detail of the new window in the cathedral's Chapel of St. John the Evangelist

The cathedral's new stained glass window, positioned behind the chapel's altar, reflects that history.  The names of St. Paul and St. John adorn its upper corners, and outlines of the gothic-style Bowdoin Street church building and its storied Connick windows have been worked into the background.  A chalice modeled after one used at St. John's forms the window's central image, haloed by stylized representations of wheat and grapes.

Andrew Young and Pearl River Glass Studio in Jackson, Miss., designed and crafted the new window.

--Tracy J. Sukraw