Church replaces stained glass window of Robert E Lee with first Black female bishop…
In the quaint city of Boise, Idaho, there stood a church whose stained glass window depicted an image of the Confederate General Robert E. Lee, side by side with his great rival, Abraham Lincoln, and the first president of the United States, George Washington. However, a day came when the church members decided it was time for a change, to move away from the past and its support of the Confederacy.
The wise senior pastor Duane Anders led the congregation in their quest for change. The church agreed to remove the stained glass window, not knowing who would replace the visage of the Confederate General, but they were determined to find someone who would embody their values and beliefs. As a result, for a year and a half, the windows remained clear, allowing sunlight to pour into the sacred space, a beacon of hope for a brighter future.
During that time, the church members pondered over fifty possible candidates who could grace the new stained glass window. Finally, after much contemplation and discussion, they settled upon the late Bishop Leontine Kelly, a respected and influential figure within the Christian church. Bishop Kelly had passed away in 2012 at the venerable age of 92, having spent her life devoted to her family in Richmond, Virginia.
The church commissioned Willet Hauser Architectural Glass, a renowned company from Minnesota, to create the new stained glass window. They dipped into their endowment fund, spending a grand sum of $25,591, as they believed it was a worthy investment to honor a woman of such significance, steering away from their previous association with the Confederacy.
Bishop Kelly’s children, Angella Current Felder and John Current rejoiced at the news of their late mother’s likeness adorning the church’s window. They eagerly anticipated visiting the Boise church to witness the remarkable tribute to their mother.
John, who served as a senior pastor at the Hope United Methodist Church in San Francisco, held immense pride in his mother’s accomplishments. He marveled at her determination to rise within a male-dominated sphere, drawing strength and guidance from her faith in God. Indeed, Jesus himself had defied the customs of his time by engaging with women and including them in his entourage.
Bishop Kelly’s life was a testament to her deep-rooted connection with the Methodist Church. She was the daughter of a Methodist pastor, sister of a Methodist pastor, wife of a Methodist pastor, and mother of a Methodist pastor. Her unique legacy would now be immortalized in the vibrant stained glass, serving as a constant reminder of the powerful impact one person can have on the world.
“What she inherited there was a wooden church that had been built 100 years earlier, probably right around the time of the emancipation of the slaves, and a hole that had been dug for a new foundation for a new church,” Current said. “She, confronted with ‘Where do I go from here?’ responded, ‘God.’ It was a very male-dominated culture. However, Jesus did violate the customs of the culture in that he talked with women, shared with women. Women were part of the entourage of Jesus Christ. God calls whomever God would call.”
Thus, the church in Boise, Idaho, emerged from the shadows of its past and embraced a new beginning, celebrating the life and achievements of a remarkable woman who had left an indelible mark on the Christian church. The brilliant stained glass window now shone with the spirit of Bishop Leontine Kelly, a beacon of hope, faith, and determination for generations to come.
WATCH the video below for more details: