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Church to bless new stained glass

Chip Ellis
The new stained glass windows at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church are similar to one that once hung in the original stone building of the church.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- If the new stained-glass windows at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church seem old, that's on purpose.The windows, which Father John Hagan will bless during a service Sunday morning, were inspired by a stained glass window of Jesus which once hung in the original stone church building of St. Matthew's. The old building was torn down in 1960 to make way for the current church on Norwood Road."These are more contemporary," said Fred Belden, a church member who coordinated the window project. "All the colors in these are to complement the color uses in the old window."The new windows depict a cross, a dove that symbolizes the Holy Spirit, and a chalice, which symbolizes the Eucharist.Before the windows were installed in three archways in the church's portico, the entryways led down from the church to Bridge Road below. There were steps, too, but the church had them removed."We took the steps out because they were dangerous and nobody used them anyway," Belden said.The church members were tired of looking at traffic from the road and nearby houses, he said.Members of the church paid for the glass project. Three families donated to the work in memory of loved ones.
Amanda Short, a lifelong resident of Kanawha City, designed the pieces for the church from scratch.Short, 34, owns Amanda's Glass Art at the 3800 block of MacCorkle Avenue, and recently designed the glass fixtures lining the main entry of the governor's mansion."I've always been around art, and when I got involved in glass, I realized how versatile it was compared to every other art medium I've done. I fell in love, and I haven't done anything since," she said.Belden said he wanted the windows to have contemporary look and to allow for light in the portico, where the church members often congregate after services."We wanted as much light to come through as possible, so you've got various textures of clear glass to give that effect," Belden said.One of Short's priorities for the project was to use West Virginia-made glass, Belden said.Mountaineer Glass installed and insulated the windows and also installed the frames.
"We are very proud of these new windows," Hagan said in a prepared statement. "They add so much to our entrance." Reach Lori Kersey at or 304-348-1240. Reach Mackenzie Mays at or 304-348-4814.
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