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St Mary's Redcliffe
St Mary's Redcliffe
World News

Bristol church replaces stained glass depicting a slave trader to show Jesus with refugees

by Kelly Valencia

St Mary's Redcliffe in Bristol has officially replaced a stained glass window featuring slave trader Edward Colston with one depicting Jesus "in multiple ethnicities" and refugees in a boat.

The toppling of the trader's statue in the center of Bristol in 2020 ignited a widespread reckoning with the legacies of slavery across the UK, even within churches that hold plaques and memorials to enslavers and colonialists.

As part of this movement, four stained-glass windows at St Mary's Redcliffe, depicting Edward Colston, captured public attention. This led the church to temporarily replace the windows with plain panels, while a public competition was conducted to determine a new design.

Ealish Swift emerged as the competition winner, with a series of images portraying a 'non-white' Jesus in diverse scenarios. The Church of England's Bristol court, which granted approval for the window replacement in June, has overseen the successful installation.

A spokesperson from St Mary's Redcliffe remarked that the new designs reflect Bristol's "rich multicultural past and present".

Earlier this year, Vicar of St Mary Redcliffe, Canon Dan Tyndall, said: “The toppling of Edward Colston turned an international spotlight onto Bristol and its entangled history profiting, as it most certainly did, from human trafficking.

“The opportunity to reimagine how we can tell the story of the Good Samaritan was grasped enthusiastically by the church.”

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