These complementary pieces were commissioned by Ann MacIsaac (1933-2016) in memory of her husband of 43 years Robert Forbes, both longtime members of First Church. The colors and designs of these pieces were inspired by the reredos and carvings at the end of the pews. The glass crystals at the ends of the font pieces are from a chandelier and represent drops of water.
THE BAPTISMAL FONT by Martha Wilson, Senior Deacon (April 2023)
There is a spirit of things made new that surrounds the Easter season, including anticipation about what is to come. Easter is a season of promise and hope.
For many of us, the birth of a child is a wonderful miracle. Parents and grandparents rejoice in a healthy delivery. Adoptive and foster parents are equally joyful as they begin their lives as loving families.
But for some, the expected birth of a child ends in sadness. That’s the case for the family who donated the baptismal font for First Congregational Church when the sanctuary opened on Dec. 6, 1931.
Few notice the small plaque on the front of the font.
It says, “In Memoriam, Stanberry Smith, Son of Mr. and Mrs. Wilbur Alan Smith, the gift of Mr. and Mrs. G. Edwin Smith.” Stanberry was born on March 18, 1930, and lived only one day.
Had he lived, Stanberry would have been Wilbur Alan Smith’s little brother. Wilbur was three when Stanberry was born and he grew up to become the program manager in the engineering technology department at Battelle. He was an active member of First Church and died in 2016.
Stanberry’s grandparents wanted First Church to remember the child who was so wanted and so wished for. A baptism signifies that the recipient is a member of the church and that parents promise to raise the child in the faith.
And although the Smiths did not get to raise their child to adulthood, they did reaffirm their faith for all children of God, whether they live for one day or 99 years, with the gift of the baptismal font. Stanberry Smith is buried in Green Lawn Cemetery.
The baptismal font was just one of many memorial gifts that were given to the church, including the Chancel Window, the East and West Transept windows, the Rose window, the Organ, the Pulpit, the Organ chimes, and the Chancel furnishings.