Church's stained glass a welcome addition blessed
Grace Episcopal Church in Concord has a new stained-glass window above the alter. The window, constructed by Susan Pratt-Smith of Northwood, will be officially unveiled and blessed by Bishops Gene Robinson and Robert Hirschfeld on Oct. 28 at 3 p.m. as part of the chruch's 130th anniversary. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
CONCORD — Grace Episcopal Church's vicar, the Rev. Jason Wells, is amazed at the difference a new stained-glass window has made in the house of worship that has stood since 1914.
The lattice work of metal and yellow-colored glass is gone, replaced by a spectrum of colors in an image of Christ leading black and white sheep from a darkened forest to mountains bathed in sunlight.
After years of fundraising, planning and, finally, building, the new window above the altar on the eastern wall has been in place since early September.
Grace parishioners are scheduled to celebrate the upgrade during a special service Sunday with outgoing Diocese of New Hampshire Bishop Gene Robinson and newly ordained Bishop Robert Hirschfeld, who will replace Robinson after he retires. The window will be blessed during the service, which starts at 3 p.m. Sunday in the small church on Concord's east side, at 30 Eastman St.
It is the official unveiling of the scene Wells and his small congregation have enjoyed for almost two months.
“It was just stunning. I got to see this window come together,” Wells said.
The church raised $20,000 for the project, half of which came from the family of Ellen Ahlgren, who started and ran the ABC Quilts program for children. A plaque will list the other families and donors who funded the new window, crafted by Northwood artist and jeweler Susan Pratt-Smith, and the rebuilt wooden frame that holds it.
The church was founded in 1883, when the Grace congregation would gather for services in the upstairs room of the old general store. The church has grown enough in recent years that the Diocese is bumping it up from a mission church to a parish. The change in status means more independence for the church as well as a promotion for Wells, who will go from vicar to rector.
“It's sort of a sign of our church's growth and our strength,” said Wells, who has been at Grace since 2007.
“We have grown a lot with some new families. Things have really changed here over the last five years.”
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