The Windows of St. Johns Episcopal Church
Perhaps the most outstanding feature of the church are the extraordinary stained-glass windows, six along the nave of the church, two on either side of the sanctuary, and two small windows over the double entrance doors.
These windows are modern, having been donated by members of the congregation between 1989 and 1993. Yet they look as though they could have been built a century ago — or even older! When the vestry decided to recommend the addition of stained glass windows to further beautify the church, the theme of “God’s gifts to the people of Ouray” was picked. Each window embodies some aspect of that theme in ways which were meaningful in the life of each donor.
The windows were all executed by Virginia Laycock of Ouray, an accomplished stained-glass artist who has built windows for other churches and who has taught various classes in her art. It took approximately six months to complete each window, once the design was finalized and the glass colors approved. All the windows are rectangular, but are bounded by a Gothic cathedral outline of clear ruby glass with a Cantebury Cross in both the upper left- and right-hand corners. Inside of the ruby glass is a thin border of light gray clear glass.
The individual designs then fall within the arched interior of this standardized border design. Although the window frames are rectangular, the lovely borders give the impression of a true Gothic church with pointed-arch windows. Each of the three windows on each side of the nave follow a design approach front-to-back, with the lowest design in the front, the middle pair of windows with a mid-height design, and the rear pair with a design which nearly fills the entire window.
Marion Grey McCoy donated the first window in 1988 in memory of her husband, Alvin S. McCoy. After her death in 1991, Marion Grey McCoy’s name was added to the window plaque by her family. Both of the McCoys were long-time, very active, members of St. John’s Church.
The McCoy window is located on the right front of the nave. For the McCoys, God’s gifts to the people of Ouray included its lovely little hummingbirds, flitting about the blue columbine, which an the state flower of Colorado. The ruby-throated hummingbirds and columbine are combined in a fluid design of intertwined motion.
The middle window on the right side of the nave was donated by Rosamond Zetterhoim, whose grandfather was one of the early vicars of St. John’s. She is a long-time ranching resident of Ridgway, the town neighboring Ouray to the north. The Zetterholm Window shows a view of Mt. Sneffies in the background, with three deer drinking in a pool, and various flowers, including pansies, on the lower border. All of this creation can be seen from the Zetterhoim Ranch windows and represents some of the most precious of God’s gifts to the donor.
Jan and P. David Smith donated the rear window on the right side of the nave in thankfulness for their three children, Tricia, Tami, and Stephen. The window is a beautiful fall scene of shimmering golden aspen trees, deep purple asters, red and bronze scrub oak leaves -all representative of the joys of God’s palette of Indian Summer given to Ouray’s residents and fortunate visitors — as well as several busy blue jays.
The front window on the left (street) side of the nave is dedicated by Virginia and Robert Laycock to the memory of their daughter Nancy, who died from a cerebral hemorrhage several years before the window was donated. The window, which is a low design to match the McCoy window on the opposite side of the nave, shows butterflies, hummingbirds and summer flowers. It remembers the happiness of a short life in the midst of God’s love and grace.
The middle window on the left was donated by Barbara Muntyan in thankfulness to God for bringing her to Ouray in the Spring of 1989. The window shows Mt. Abrams in the background, the mountain at the southern end of Ouray’s valley, which is the most visible landmark as one enters Ouray from the north. In the foreground are various summer flowers, including blue columbine and pink lady slippers. In the middle ground are a series of mineral specimens found in this area: pink rhodochrosite, white quartz, purple fluorite, and golden pyrite. These represent a special gift of God for Muntyan, who both serves as Director of the Ouray Museum and who is an avid collector of mineral specimens from the area.
The rear window on the left side of the church was donated by Claudia Brummett in memory of Julianane Cowden. Brummett and Cowden were long-time summer residents of Ouray, spending winters on a large ranch in Texas. The Cowden Window shows Twin Falls at Yankee Boy Basin in the background with several fat blue birds pecking at the red berries of a mountain bush. Various summer flowers cover the foreground. The treatment of the water is particularly well executed.
The Music Window was donated by the Marsh family, Ginnie, Dorothy, and Edward. For many years, Ginnie served as the organist at St. John’s, until failing eyesight forced her to retire from that ministry. Edward was instrumental in building the parish hall and was able to match the exterior stone with great diligence. The Music Window is located by the organ on the left side of the church sanctuary. It shows the golden pipes of an organ, a lute, and other musical instruments singing to the glory of God. A stream of musical notes, in the pattern of the Doxology, flows on a banner across the mid-section of the window.
The window facing the Music Window on the right side of the sanctuary is called the Communion Window. It was made possible through a number of small contributions by many members of the congregation. Much of the gold-color glass used in this window came from the old church windows which were replaced by the new stain glass ones. The window depicts the elements of Bread and Wine of the Eucharist. In the background is a sinuous grape vine with bunches of fat grapes, which ties together the Chalice and the loaf of bread. A Dove descending, the Holy Spirit, is at the top center of the window, representing the Spirit of God present to those partaking of the Eurcharist.
Phyllis Mason of Montrose, and her daughter and son-in-law, Phyllis and David Nutting of Ridgway, donated the matching pair of windows over the double oak entry doors to the church. Unlike the other windows, the Mason-Nutting windows do not show a particular scenic representation of Ouray. Rather, these windows each contain a representation of the very beautiful altar cross, executed in white milk glass.
Ruby-red and royal-blue accents, as well as white fillies of the valley, are found in the intertwined garlands outlining the border of each window.