Church Stained Glass Inspection & Restoration


The Rahauser Memorial Church in Tohoku Gakuin was completed in 1932 and registered as a tangible cultural property on December 19th of 2014.  As part of the memorial service to be held in celebration of the 130th year anniversary of the founding of Tohoku Gakuin, the stained glass on the north side of the church is now undergoing a thorough inspection and restoration.  The richly colored stained glass depicts Jesus ascending to Heaven after he gave the last blessing to all of his Apostles except for Judas.  Mr. Takeo Hirayama, a representative of the renowned stained glass ateliers Hikari Stained Koubou, is in charge of the inspection. 


Mr. Hirayama came to Tohoku Gakuin University (TGU) on June 13th to inspect the stained glass.  He was assisted by TGU, Department of General Humanities Professor Michitaka Suzuki (specialist in Christian art and European culture) and Professor Miyako Demura (specialist in Greek and Roman culture and philosophy), as well as TGU staff from the general affairs division. Unfortunately, however, the inspection (including the taking of details photographs) had to be postponed due to rain.

The history of this stand glass is as follows:
According to an article appearing in Vol. 100 of the newsletter “Tohoku Gakuin Jiho” (June 1st, 1932), a dedication ceremony was held during which “the stained glass was presented by Maul and the Weber sisters, close friends of Mrs. Schneder” and that “it cost more than 4,500 yen not including import tax from Britain.”  From this, it can be assumed the stained glass was made in Britain.  Upon close inspection, the words “HAETON BUTLER &BAYNE LONDON” can be seen in the bottom left portion covering two frames of the stained glass.  This name refers to the stained glass atelier founded in 1852 by Clement Heaton (1823-82) and later joined by James Butler and Turnill Bayne in 1862, since then known as “Heaton, Butler & Bayne.”  This atelier, located in Covent Garden London, is famous for having been a supplier of the major architects of the Victorian era.  They also took a leadership role in Gothic revival in Britain.  The works of “Heaton, Butler & Bayne” can be seen not only in churches in Britain, but also in the United States and worldwide.

A protective glass covers the stained glass on the outside of the church.  To restore the brilliance of this historic piece, there are plans to clean the protective outside cover as well as to restore the whole stained glass itself.

As part of the 130th anniversary of the founding of Tohoku Gakuin University, this November an event with two lectures on the stained glass will be held in Rahauser Memorial Church by stained glass researcher Takeo Hirayama and by an art historian who will provide an artistic analysis of the piece.  Details regarding the event will be posted as they are known.


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