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By Jeannie Dortch.

University Baptist Church, Charlottesville, VA

University Baptist Church. Photo from UBC website.

In 2010, Peter James Flamming, pastor of First Baptist Church from 1983-2006, was asked to speak at University Baptist Church in Charlottesville, Virginia. Never having been there before, Dr. Flamming was taken aback upon entering the sanctuary. He was inside a smaller version of the Richmond sanctuary, from the balcony to the stained glass portrait of Jesus’ baptism above the baptistery. He later learned that the same Virginia architects designed both buildings and that the Payne Spiers Studio of Paterson, New Jersey had been commissioned to make the same stained glass window to hang behind the pulpit. FBC was built in 1928 and UBC, in 1929. This unexpected surprise made Dr. Flamming feel right at home!

The Baptism of Jesus window

The Baptism of Jesus. Photo by David Powers.

But feeling at home in the FBC pulpit on Monument was destined to be only a dream for George White McDaniel, pastor of FBC from 1905-1927. Dr. McDaniel had invested much of his time and energy overseeing the plans for the new church building, but died just four months before the first worship service on December 10, 1928.

In Dr. McDaniel’s honor and memory, his family commissioned the Payne Spiers Studio to design and make The Baptism of Jesus, the Tiffany style stained glass window behind the pulpit. As a beautiful symbol, the window promised a new life – whether buried with Christ as was Dr. McDaniel or raised to serve Christ as FBC members would continue to do from their new location at Monument Avenue and The Boulevard. The Baptism of Jesus is the oldest and probably most familiar window of the twenty-five portraiture windows that hang in the church.

Editor’s note: Copies of the fully illustrated Memorial Windows written by Theodore F. Adams and The Open Door, the church’s history from 1780-2005, are available for checkout or purchase in the church library.


Jeannie Dortch

Jeannie Dortch joined FBC in 1974 after being lovingly mentored by the members of Buddy Hamilton’s Sunday school class. A grandmother of four, Jeannie has served as a deacon, taught in our children’s, youth, international, and adult Sunday school departments, but attends the Journey class presently. Recently retired from 16 years of teaching at Rudlin Torah Academy, Jeannie enjoys exercising, cooking, reading, tutoring New American students at Maybeury Elementary, and writing articles for FTF.

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