FRIENDS and parishioners of St Bestius’ Church in Killeter have a date with history on Sunday when a new stained glass window celebrating the parish’s links with the famous hymn-writer, Cecil Frances Alexander, will be revealed in all its glory.
The ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’ window depicts different aspects of Mrs Alexander’s most famous hymn. It will remain under wraps until Sunday’s ‘big reveal’ but the local Rector, Rev Peter Ferguson, is delighted with the new feature.
“I have seen the window and it is a thing of beauty,” he explained.
“It’s something our entire community can be proud of. I believe that for anybody doing a visit or a day trip to Killeter, this window will be a ‘must-see’ part of any visit to our area.”
The ‘Giving Day’ in Killeter will mark the culmination of phase one of the Parish of Derg and Killeter’s ‘Bright and Beautiful Campaign’ which aims to restore St Bestius’ Church to its former glory – albeit with a few improvements.
“We’ve now completed phase one of the project, which involved essential work to the exterior of the gable wall, where there was severe water ingress. That area has been completely and lovingly repointed, the stonework has been blasted and brought back, it’s been lead-lined. And then a major and signature aspect of this whole project is our newly-commissioned and installed stain glass window.”
The parish’s ‘Bright and Beautiful Campaign’ celebrates its links with the Alexanders – Mrs Alexander and her husband, Bishop William Alexander – whom Rev Ferguson describes as “beloved characters” in the Killeter community.
“This project was launched in 2018, on the 200th anniversary of Cecil Frances Alexander’s birth” he explained.
“As a community, we’ve grown together and we’ve also grown in our knowledge, our understanding, our appreciation, our respect, our celebration of the Alexanders and what they brought – not just to the Church of Ireland community here but to everybody in the community and further afield – through her beloved hymns and poems. So, this project will see St Bestius’ Parish Church completely restored and some innovative and exciting community ideas as well.”
During the next phase of improvement, a newly-designed, multi-purpose, fully-glazed room will be provided in the church, complete with a new coffee and tea dock, baby-changing facilities, and a new fully-accessible toilet.
The Rector says the room will be made available during the week to groups in the community and will be adapted, as required, for worship on Sundays and on other occasions.
“It is fully part of the church – the sound system will be fed into the new room – and extra seating can be moved in as and when required.”
The ‘big reveal’ of the new window will happen during a ‘Bright and Beautiful Giving Day’ in St Bestius’ Church between 2-5pm on Sunday, April 18.
“Church wardens will be on hand to ensure a Covid-safe environment,” Rev Ferguson explained.
“Our procedures have been approved by the Police, and I will be there in person to receive donations and to share details of the parish’s plans.
“We need St Bestius’ parishioners and supporters to be generous and to contribute according to their means.
“I’m encouraging them to ask their family members for donations – I’ve done that with my own family members on both sides – and I’m hoping that St Bestius parishioners will get behind this and do the same.”