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New stained glass windows bring colour flooding into church

PUBLISHED: 07:30 25 November 2018

Thomas Denny and Elizabeth Hippisley-Cox working on the installation of the new windows at St Felix Church Picture: KEITH MORRIS/rcdea.org.uk

Thomas Denny and Elizabeth Hippisley-Cox working on the installation of the new windows at St Felix Church Picture: KEITH MORRIS/rcdea.org.uk

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A pair of beautiful new stained glass windows have been installed at St Felix Church in Felixstowe, following a bequest from a congregation member.

Thomas Denny and Elizabeth Hippisley-Cox at St Felix Church Picture: KEITH MORRIS/rcdea.org.ukThomas Denny and Elizabeth Hippisley-Cox at St Felix Church Picture: KEITH MORRIS/rcdea.org.uk

When parishioner Marlene Strachan died last year she left £10,000 to pay for a stained glass window in the church, on the theme of The Divine Mercy.

Looking to fulfil the request, Fr John Barnes had seen some of the work of renowned craftsman Thomas Denny at nearby Stutton Parish Church, where he had created a Millennium Window.

Fr John said: “I thought it was one of the best pieces of contemporary stained glass that I had seen, and resolved that if ever I had a hand in commissioning a window, then the artist who had created this one, Thomas Denny, would be the man whom I would want to use.

“Ecclesiastical art and artists’ expert Dr Peter Burman agreed that Thomas would be the right artist to approach. I was delighted when he agreed, and found him a most charming and amenable person to work with.”

The stained glass window KEITH MORRIS/rcdea.org.ukThe stained glass window KEITH MORRIS/rcdea.org.uk

Mr Denny has created more than 60 stained glass windows including ones for Durham, Hereford and Gloucester cathedrals, Tewkesbury Abbey and Malvern Priory. He was responsible for the Richard III windows at Leicester Cathedral and Wisdom Window at St Catherine’s College, Cambridge.

Working with craftswoman Elizabeth Hippisley-Cox, Mr Denny spent a week in St Felix installing the stained glass, which had taken several months to create, in windows with lots of natural light coming through.

He said: “The commission was to make a pair of windows on the theme of The Divine Mercy visions experienced by St Faustina, a Polish nun who had extraordinary encounters with Christ in the 1930s.

“In one window her vision of Jesus is depicted with red and blue light emanating from his heart, the light representing the Divine Mercy. He is standing on a shingly shore, reminiscent of the shore of Felixstowe with a curved bay and headland behind, where St Felix might have arrived in Suffolk.

“In the other window is the figure of St Faustina in her wooden boarded monastic cell in Poland and Lithuania in the 1930s. She is aware of the presence and reaching out to it and being affected by it. The narrative reaches across from one side of the church to the other.”

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