Used book shop reopens in Oak Bay church, takes a crack at glass history

98-year-old author writes of church’s storied panes, some nearly as old as herself

Elizabeth Laugharne, 98, plans to be on hand July 9 to discuss and sign copies of her newly-published book, Messages in Glass. (Courtesy Churchmouse Books)

Elizabeth Laugharne, 98, plans to be on hand July 9 to discuss and sign copies of her newly-published book, Messages in Glass. (Courtesy Churchmouse Books)

Churchmouse Books reopens with an author appearance and a dip into the history of the Oak Bay building’s stained glass.

Elizabeth Laugharne, 98, plans to be on hand Saturday to discuss and sign copies of her newly-published book, Messages in Glass. The book is the result of research into the histories of the 54 stained glass pieces that grace the Church of St. Mary the Virgin, the Oak Bay church that hosts the book shop.

Messages in Glass includes a brief history of St. Mary’s and interprets each panel. Most were designed to convey common biblical themes, but some are unexpected. The Ascension portrays Henry Corbett, a young Canadian pilot killed over England in 1940. Corbett is poignantly depicted wearing his flying suit and a life preserver, kneeling and looking up.

St Mary’s was founded in 1911 and the first stained glass windows, made in England, were installed in 1924. Profits from the sale of Messages in Glass will be used for preservation and restoration of the windows.

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“One of the most striking things about the worship and bookshop space at St. Mary’s is the kaleidoscope of light and the message that the windows provide,” said the Rev. Canon Craig Hiebert. “They cover the gamut of biblical stories, as well as ongoing human endeavour. Past, present and future beam into the space.”

St. Mary’s launched Churchmouse Books in 2015. The volunteer-run used bookshop operates Saturday mornings at 1701 Elgin Rd.

Book sales support the food bank at St. John the Divine, Our Place Society and Threshold Housing. After several months closed due to the pandemic, Churchmouse Books is open Saturday, July 10 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., with safety protocols in place. Messages in Glass will be available for purchase.

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c.vanreeuwyk@blackpress.ca

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