A new stained-glass window has been installed at Blessed Robert Grissold Catholic Church to commemorate last year's 25th anniversary of the church being built.

The previous church building, St Philomena’s, was demolished to make way for the new building, which won a Solihull Design Award the following year. The new church was named after a local martyr who had lived in nearby Rowington, and was ready in time for the first service to be held on Christmas Day 1994.

To commemorate the anniversary, a new stained-glass window for the church was commissioned and installed, to replace an existing plain window.  It was funded entirely through donations by parishioners, whose dedications to their families and deceased loved ones are recorded on a plaque next to it.

The window was created by glass artist Sasha Ward, whose previous commissions include hospitals, schools, private residences and even The House of Lords.

The theme of “Eucharist” was requested by Parish Priest Fr Frank Smith and the church’s Parish Council, to complement existing painted glass windows in the church which represent baptism and confirmation. 

Sasha’s design features a chalice and host, with grapes and vine leaves in the lower panels.

The window was created by Sasha in her studio in Marlborough, using coloured enamels which were painted onto the glass through hand-cut stencils and fired in her own kiln. Sandblasting between the painting stages allowed Sasha to add texture to certain parts. 

“I feel fortunate that this modern brick church wanted a painted window and that they found me to design and make it,” said Sasha.

“The focus of the window is the chalice, so I was particularly pleased that you can see it from outside (even through the textured glass that was left in place) and that it shows up so well from a distance”.

The new window was the brainchild of parishioner Ian Clarke, who then masterminded the whole project, from finding our glass artist, through collecting donations and dedications from parishioners, to co-ordinating the installation of the window and its commemorative plaque.

It was installed at the end of October last year, and was blessed at Mass on Sunday 3 November by Bishop William Kenney, Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham.

Photos by Ian Clarke, Pam Martin and Sasha Ward:

One: The new window installed

Two: Glass artist Sasha Ward with Bishop William Kenney beside the newly-blessed window

Three: The lower panels of the window at a very early of stage - the left is the first coat of enamel, the second after first firing in the kiln

Four: Detail of lower portion of window with next coat of enamel painted and then with stencils removed

Five: Top panel of the window unfired orange painted on after first stage firing of the yellow, and then the tablecloth enamelled in ruby