Book on Wakefield Baptist Church’s stained-glass windows appreciated

Published 5:06 am Saturday, July 23, 2011

Gayle Lanier, from left, Ralph Seeley Jr., Fay Savedge and Thomas Huber put together a book on Wakefield Baptist Church’s stained-glass windows. The book was dedicated July 17. -- MERLE MONAHAN | TIDEWATER NEWS


WAKEFIELD—Wakefield Baptist Church was filled Sunday to honor five residents for their part in researching and writing a book on the church’s stained-glass windows.

During the book dedication service, more than a dozen descendants of deceased church members whose names were on the windows were asked to stand to be recognized.

The choir honored former pastor, the Rev. Douglas Cotter, and his wife, Irene; the couple’s sons donated a window for their parents but could not attend the ceremony. Members stood when the Cotters’ names were called.

The book, entitled “The Memorial Windows of Wakefield Baptist Church,” was published in May. A history of the family on each window accompanies the 18 pictures in the book.

Researched and written by Fay Savedge, the book attempts to “bring to life” the names on the windows.

“She has done a wonderful job,” said the Rev. Jim Kerr, pastor of the church.

Kerr referred to the 95-year-old Savedge, a former Wakefield High School teacher, as a “real Southern lady.”

“She knows more about the history of this area than anyone,” he said, adding she has done much to preserve it. “Everyone knows she is the person to ask for the answer to a history question, as well as a genealogy question.”

The project began when church member Jackie O’Berry asked Savedge to write a history of the windows.

“I offered to do the typing, and the project just blossomed from there,” Gayle Lanier said.

Ralph Seeley Jr. took all the photos, while Thomas Huber assisted with research, proofreading and preparing the book for publication. Charles Traylor III prepared the drawing of the window placement.

“The book has been well received,” Lanier said. “In fact, I think it’s one of the most important things the church has done. To quote Mrs. Savedge, ‘If we don’t record our history, it will be gone forever.’”

The publication, more than two years in the making, has been dedicated to Savedge.

“She has an abiding love of history and genealogy and is respected and appreciated by all in the area for her work in preserving the history of their families, churches and communities,” Lanier said. “This publication would not have been possible without the time and effort she put forth in researching the history of the people who are honored by these stained-glass windows.”

Savedge, Seeley and Huber were presented with framed certificates of appreciation.