top of page


Each piece of our decor has a story to tell


A reredos is a large altarpiece, a screen, or decoration placed behind the altar in a church. It often includes religious images.

At a wedding at Eastern Point in the late 1890’s, The Rev. John Alvey Mills, our 8th Rector, received $100 for the church. This became the nucleus of a fund for the purchase of a reredos or screen, which stands behind an altar. This is one of the first designed by the famous church architect Ralph Adams Cram.


The figure of the Crucified Christ is the central theme with two rows of saints grouped around the central figure. The upper row, beginning at the left, contains the great saints and evangelists of the church: St. Peter, St. Matthew, St. Mary the Virgin looking at her dying son, and to the right of Jesus, St. John the beloved disciple who faces towards Jesus on the cross at Calvary, St. Luke and St. Mark.


The lower row, beginning at the left, contains the saints associated with the history of the Anglican Church: St. Edward the Confessor (1004-1066), King of England, whose great work was the building of Westminster Abby; St. Alban the Martyr (304 A.D.), the first Englishman to suffer martyrdom for the Christian faith; St. Paul the Apostle (died ca 64 A.D.), who in addition to his great work of propagating the Christian faith, is by some ancient tradition connected with the foundation of the Church of England. To the right of the central figure of Jesus are St. Andrew, Apostle and Martyr (1st Century A.D.), the first Apostle to be called by our Lord and also the Patron Saint of Scotland; St. Gregory the Great, Bishop of Rome (540-604 A.D.), who was responsible in the year 596 A.D. for sending the first missionaries from Rome to England under St. Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr; and St. Thomas à Becket (1118-1170), Archbishop of Canterbury and Martyr, a favorite saint of the Middle Ages who lost his life in Canterbury Cathedral in defiance of King Henry II of England and in defense of the liberties of the Christian Church.


The purpose of stained glass windows, however, is not to allow people to see outside, but to beautify buildings, control light, and often times to tell a story.

The set of theme windows is the third type of window that has been installed in the church. Previous windows were of small diamond-shaped yellow glass, in addition to which there were some lucent windows and stained glass in the Sanctuary and Baptismal area. The first of the newer windows was a Connick Studio design, Window # 14.


During an early 1950s major beautification project, windows with water and sea themes were designed by Wilbur H. Burnham, Jr., of Boston, who was a summer parishioner. The Biblical references and ideas incorporated in these windows were suggested by The Rev. H. Robert Smith, DD., our 15th Rector.


The windows on the left (Epistle) side of the church all have references to the Old Testament and our Jewish heritage. The windows on the right (Gospel) side of the church all have references to the New Testament and our Christian beliefs. The windows are registered with the Smithsonian Institution and are on record as being one of the finest examples of theme windows in North America.


The glass for the windows is called Antique and some of it came from England, France and Germany. A large portion of the glass was manufactured by the Blenko Glass Company of Milton, West Virginia. All of the windows in our church have been given as memorials. With ideas and designs put forth by rectors and parishioners, additional Burnham Studio windows # 4a, 4b, 11 & 13 were added between 1986 and 1989. Windows #1, 12, 22 & 23 were added from 1992 through 1997 and were designed and crafted by Burnham & LaRoche Associates. All of the additional windows have used the same techniques and style as the original 12 theme windows.


St. John’s Episcopal Church was founded on October 7, 1863 when a group of fervent Christians voted to constitute themselves as St. John’s Church.


Wardens are elected by the parish and serve as the chief liaison persons between the parish and the Rector assisting the Church in fulfilling its mission.

bottom of page