Stained Glass Windows of St. James

The stained glass windows of St. James Episcopal Church were designed and created by local artists using Chrismons rich in symbolism and the heritage, wildlife, and landscape of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Southwestern Virginia as the backgrounds.

These beautiful and inspiring windows are dedicated to the glory of God and in loving memory of Saints of James who have gone on before us.


(All images contained herein are the property of St. James Church and may not be reproduced in any form without the expressed written consent of the vestry and wardens of St. James Episcopal Church, Roanoke, Virginia.)

The Eva James Aheron Window

This is the spring window. The legend of the dogwood is that Christ’s crucifix was made of the wood from a dogwood tree, and since that time, the dogwood has never grown large enough to be used for that purpose again. The dogwood flower expresses the new life and hope of spring as well as the Resurrection. Spring is the end of the penitential season and the beginning of the renewal of life. Red, the color of the cardinals, denotes hope, life, immortality, and fruitfulness.

The George P. Lawrence Window

This is the summer window. The fish, mountains, and water represent summer. Water also represents baptism. Fish were the earliest Christian symbol. The dragonfly, like the butterfly, is a symbol of Christ’s resurrection and transformation. The dragonfly leaves the pupa and soars upward with a new body, so through Jesus Christ, His followers are borne to a new life. It also represents the journey of the soul from life on earth, through death and the emergence of eternal life. The lotus, with its roots in the mud, suggests that a Christian may rise above evil influences.

The Florence Madelyn Croft Window

This is the Easter window. The cross reminds us that our Lord was crucified on Calvary and rose again. The fleur de lys or iris is often called the flower of the Virgin Mary. The lily is the symbol of Easter and immortality. The bulb decays in the ground, yet from it new life is released. The tulip is mentioned in the Bible as being in the Resurrection Garden. Easter means the triumph of life over death and Christ’s enduring presence among his people.

The Rodney Sowder Window

“The desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.” (Isaiah 35:1) The rose symbolizes the Messiah, the nativity, the birth of our Lord. In addition, the rose is a widely used figure for our Lord’s mother, Mary. This association led to its also becoming a symbol for Christ’s human birth and His humanity. The red rose also symbolizes the blood of Christ shed for our sins. Blue, the color of the birds, denotes truth, constancy, justice, and God.

The Deena Marie Shepherd Window

This is the Christmas window. The angel of the Lord announced the birth of Christ to the shepherds. The star was the guiding light of the birth of Christ and symbolized Christ as the light of the world and his triumph over darkness. The evergreen is the symbol of eternal Life and points upward to God, the eternal giver. The snow represents the purity of the Virgin Mary. The poinsettia is a favored flower which adorns our church and homes during the Christmas season.

The Emery Fobare, Jr. Window

The good shepherd is used many times to describe Jesus Christ. The lamb symbolizes the sinner being rescued by Christ, receiving forgiveness. Lambs also symbolize the resurrected Christ. The spring lamb represents innocence and purity. Christ is the Lamb of God.

The Rev. Robert A. Croxson Window

The chalice, representing Christ’s blood, and the bread, representing Christ’s body, are the sacraments of the Lord’s Supper or Holy Eucharist. This communion was an early symbol of Christian fellowship and continues to be a source of spiritual nourishment that strengthens and sustains our relationship with God. It is a continual remembrance of the sacrifice our Lord made for each of us. “Take; this is my body… This is my blood…” (Mark 14:22-24)

The W. Otho James Window

The cross is a reminder of our Lord’s saving work of redeeming mankind through His sacrifice for our sins, bringing forgiveness and salvation. Dying, Jesus said: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Luke 23:24) Then came the Resurrection and Ascension. The cross reminds us of the triumph of life over death and Christ’s enduring presence among His people.