Stained Glass

Click on the thumbnails below, to enlarge the photos.

The story behind the creation of these two stunning seven-foot-high stained glass windows, is as moving as the art itself. Titled Our Rainbow Ark and The Tree of Life, this stained glass work is perhaps the last colour creation that artist Beth Jenkin will be able to design and fully see. The 29-year-old recent graduate of the Algonquin College Illustration program is rapidly losing her sight to a condition called retinitis pigmentosa.

Jenkin is a member of the church, and her light box stained glass windows now grace the high ‘ship walls’ of the sanctuary in the landmark building on Maitland Avenue in Ottawa, known as the Trinity United Ark. Designed by renowned architect James Strutt in 1962, Trinity United is among Canada’s top 500 buildings of architectural significance. The colourful modern ‘windows’ Jenkin drew enhance its architectural features and include many symbols that allude to the history and values of the progressive spiritual community of Trinity.

Towards the end of the window design process last Spring, Jenkin was no longer able to fully distinguish the shades of colours she had chosen. Another member of the project team, Alexandra Dunn, worked with Beth in her studio to ‘be her eyes’ – painting colours into the black outlines for each of the individual pieces of glass.

Over the summer and fall of 2013, a team of volunteers trained by Trinity’s in-house engineer and stained glass maker Chris Humphrey, hand cut, ground, fitted, and soldered the over 700 pieces of glass that compose the windows. The beautiful glass images were then framed in blond oak cabinets to match the pews, and fitted with energy efficient LED back lighting.

The making of the Trinity windows has been documented in photos at every stage, including a recent procession down Agincourt Road from Humphrey’s garage workshop to the church, balanced on a creatively engineered table-on-wheels and pushed – very carefully! – by a half dozen people.



When people’s Spirits are fed in a genuinely loving and accepting community, all kinds of creativity gets unleashed. With this stained glass project, the passions of a few people ignited a creative learning process that excited dozens of others and ended up expressing something of who we are as a community.

Our Rainbow Ark speaks to our special building, James Strutt’s famous ark, which has been a spiritual home and refuge for 50 years now. In the waves upholding the ark, we see the hand of God working through nature. The rainbow of hope expresses our commitment to inclusivity. The dove of peace flies as the flag for Trinity’s social justice work.

The Tree of Life speaks to our spiritual journeys through life, blessed and upheld by the green of our city. Our journeys are rooted in the earth that we must help to sustain, as we reach out to live in the kin-dom of heaven on earth. The tree hangs on our Trinity cross logo, with its wide open corner, making space for open minds and opening hearts.

These new light box stained glass windows are the latest expression of how Spirit Matters! at Trinity. They are an artful outpouring of community gratitude that will inspire us to celebrate the Holy here for many more years.



Stained Glass in the News!

CTV Ottawa:Regional Contact 
Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa Sun
CBC News
Somerton Smith
The United Church Observer



More …

Trinity Topics (How Things Happen – page 7, Reflections and Challenges – pages 8 to 10)
Stained Glass Process and Timeline