Parishioners open windows of opportunity

GENEROUS parishioners have raised more than $30,000 in just over two weeks to restore collapsing windows at the heritage-listed St Paul’s Anglican church, Manuka.

The Rev Brian Douglas says he is “overwhelmed” at the response from the community, after the eight amber glass and lead windows, made in 1939 when the first stage of the church was built, began to collapse about two weeks ago.

The collapsing lead and glass windows

“It’s old age, lead does not last forever, it gradually decomposes in the atmosphere and as it weakens there is the weight of the glass pushing down on it, so eventually it will fall out,” he says.

“We knew we had to act quickly; there was a chance we could get heritage money, but we decided we’d launch an appeal immediately, because it was so urgent.”

With support from the National Trust of Australia (ACT), the Parish Council launched an appeal for donations in November.

Mr Douglas says the smallest individual donation was $5 and the largest $5000.

“Parishioners are committed to the place and want to see it preserved,” he says.

“Many people have celebrated important milestones of birth, relationship and death within the church.”

And this isn’t the first time parishioners have come together to help breathe new life into St Paul’s.

Since 2009, $250,000 has been raised to restore the crumbling organ.

Mr Douglas says he isn’t sure whether Christmas spurs on a little more generosity than usual.

“I think that’s the way they always are, it’s an opportunity for parishioners and the wider community to become part of the future and history of St Paul’s,” he says.

The windows, which sit on either side of the nave, will be restored in January.

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