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Bright idea

15 August 2014

I DON'T know who it was on the PCC of Little Dewchurch and Ballingham, in Hereford diocese, who had the idea, but it was bright in both senses. The Victorian east window of St David's, the parish church in Little Dewchurch, needed to be removed for repairs, and the PCC seemed faced with either boarding up the window aperture, which they felt would give a negative image of the church, or filling it with plain glass, which would make the sanctuary too harshly lighted.

So someone had the idea of strengthening the links between the church and its small church primary school in Little Dewchurch. They could install a temporary polycarbonate plastic window, and get the school to design and paint the panels.

The school, which has only 69 pupils, took up the idea with enthusiasm, and, because the top class had been studying the First World War, they decided to use the theme "From war to peace". The leading teacher, Andy Richards, designed the window, and the children joined in to paint it.

Peter Mitchell, one of the churchwardens, was a driving force in the completion of the project, and the Revd Peter Houghton, the member of the South Wye Team Ministry with responsibility for Little Dewchurch, hailed the scheme as a demonstration of how the church could strengthen the community through its links with the school.

The window is a triptych, with images of barbed wire and helmeted soldiers in the left-hand window, and the River Wye, with daffodils illustrating peace, on the right. The central window has a soldier with the cross, and poppies. It was dedicated at a special service on the last day of term, when the church was packed with the school, family members, and others from the community.

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