In 1909, the cornerstone was laid for a new building for St. Paul’s Church in Millis, where an earlier church building had been destroyed by fire. The interior of the building, designed by Henry Ware Eliot, Jr. (brother of the poet T.S. Eliot), was small and slightly rustic in style. “The new church,” in the words of the Christian Science Monitor at the time, “will minister to many Boston families who are buying summer homes in this vicinity.”
Over the years, parishioners and friends of St. Paul’s gave a series of stained glass windows that eventually filled every window opening in the church. All the windows were traditional and helped to give the church the feel of a small English parish church with their jewel-like colors creating a beautiful softly-lit interior. Generations of parishioners grew up with special affection for windows which they saw each week from their usual pews.
When St. Paul’s closed in 2010, the Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts wanted to ensure that all the artifacts in the building and particularly the windows were appropriately placed in other churches. Since several of the remaining households at St. Paul’s had become parishioners at St. Michael’s, the diocese approved the gift of six windows to St. Michael’s and gave a grant towards the cost of their installation. The remaining funds were raised by parishioners at St. Michael’s who had long hoped for stained glass windows to complete the original plans for the sanctuary.
The installation was completed by Bert Roy of Methuen who worked closely with a committee from St. Michael’s to create a suitable design.
The windows now at St. Michael’s all illustrate images from the Gospels. The highest windows represent Jesus as the Good Shepherd and as the Light of the World, images he used to describe himself in the Gospel according to St. John. The middle windows depict the beginning and end of Holy Week, from Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday to the resurrection on Easter Day. The lowest windows show two scenes of Jesus and the disciples on the Sea of Galilee.
These windows were officially commissioned in their new home at St. Michael’s on Sunday, May 12, 2013. The Rev Christine Whittaker was the celebrant. Bob and Helen Daly were the keynote speakers, and explained how much the windows meant to the parishioners of St. Paul’s and how delighted they are that the windows are now prominently displayed in their new place of worship.
Following is a brief description of the windows kindly supplied by Nancy Gittins, formerly of St. Paul’s:
Good Shepherd window
Given in memory of George Grant Hoff, by his wife, Anna Prentice Hoff. Mr. and Mrs. Hoff were founding members of St. Paul’s. The first services were held in their home at the corner of Lavender and Exchange Streets.
Light of the World window (Christ knocking at the door)
This window is designed after the William Holman Hunt painting which hangs at Keble College, Oxford University, and represents the words in Revelation 3:20: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” The window was given in memory of Anna Prentice Hoff, a founder of St. Paul’s, by her children, including Dorothy Hoff Walker. Mrs. Hoff died on November 29, 1932. Her daughter Dorothy was the first person confirmed at St. Paul’s and can be seen with Bishop William A. Lawrence in the photograph of the cornerstone laying ceremony.
Palm Sunday window
Given in memory of Lt. Stanley B. Pollard, Jr., (1914-1943) by his family and dedicated on April 11, 1965. Lt. Pollard gave his life for his country in the Pacific during World War II.
Given in memory of William G. Mallette (1912-1978) by his wife Jeanette “Jan” Mallette. Mr. Mallette served as parish Treasurer for many years.
Given in memory of Charles A. Smith, Jr. by his daughters, Mrs. Frank LaCroix and Mrs. Ronald Mallette.
Christ Stilling the Storm
Given in memory of Philip C. Hunter, by his sister, Mrs. A. Thomas King and dedicated on December 8, 1974.
The Palm Sunday and Resurrection windows were made by Charles J. Connick Associates of Boston. The Fisherman and Stilling the Storm windows were made by Whittemore Associates of Needham Heights. The designers and makers of the two other windows are unknown.