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Worshipper's art takes pride of place at Iffley church
12:30pm Monday 16th July 2012 in Oxford
A PARISHIONER has designed and crafted a £27,000 stained glass window for his church.
Oxford artist Roger Wagner created his vision of the tree of life with the help of stained glass artist Tom Denny.
The window, at St Mary’s Church in Iffley, Oxford, was paid for by a charitable trust.
It will be dedicated at a ceremony to be attended by the Bishop of Oxford and the High Sheriff of Oxfordshire.
Mr Wagner said: “It was a rather daunting process, but Tom Denny, a good friend of mine, showed me the ropes. He is one of the greatest stained glass window makers in England at the moment.”
He added: “It took the best part of a year. The thing about stained glass is you’re not really in control of it, so you have to adjust your design to what the glass is doing.”
The window depicts the tree of life, with the crucifixion on one side, and blossoms on the other representing rebirth.
Vicar the Rev Andrew McKearney commissioned the window to complement one on the opposite wall which was left to the church by the acclaimed Oxfordshire artist John Piper.
In 2010 the Ashmolean Museum staged an exhibition of Mr Wagner’s work.
Mr McKearney said: “Roger is an artist of national significance.
“The Piper window, which was installed in 1996, depicts the birth of Christ. Opposite this was a blank window, which invited a response.”
Mr Wagner said: “I started out reacting to the nativity scene in the Piper window, but that did not work with the font, so I started asking people in the congregation, just to try and be inclusive.
“I was quite surprised by a lot of suggestions they came up, which sparked great ideas.
His only instructions were that the design should relate to the Piper window and the church’s 12th century font.
The dedication ceremony, on Sunday July 29, will feature a performance of a choral anthem called There is a May Tree, composed in celebration of the window by local musician Brian Todd.
There will also be a performance of a piece by composer John Rutter, written for the installation of the Piper window.
The church has produced postcards of the window, which it says are selling well, and the artist is producing a leaflet to explain it.
The window was paid for by the Critchley Charitable Trust.