The Mystery of St. Benedict’s Star of David
by Bill Holmes
My grandparents came to High River in 1886, and their son (my father), was born here that same year. As devotees of the Church of England, our family offered their home as a place for Anglicans to hold services when travelling priests were in the area. My grandfather and Harry Robertson were the first wardens when the congregation voted in 1902 to construct a church building. Grandfather and his 14-year-old son, also named William, were among the volunteers who helped construct the St. Benedict’s Church building. It was formally opened Nov. 6, 1904.
When I was a young man, I asked my father about the Star of David window above the church entrance. He said that Jesus was a Jew, so why not show recognition of that fact. In an opinion piece I found online, written by Jessica Brodie, I found this possible support for Dad’s statement:
“While the star of David doesn’t appear in the Bible nor is it advocated as an “official symbol” of Judaism, it is a meaningful representation of a faithful people and the oldest monotheistic religion in the world. While they are different in many regards, Judaism and Christianity are both devoted to God and His will in the world.
“Christians can indeed wear and use this symbol in honor of the Jewish roots of Christianity or in solidarity and honor for their Jewish friends and fellow lovers of Yahweh, God almighty, the God of creation. Christians should take care to wear the symbol with respect and sensitivity, acknowledging its importance to their Jewish friends and loved ones.”
Perhaps this is a simple answer to the question. However, quite recently, I heard another explanation. I was told that the bars of the window are iron and that these were used to reinforce against swaying of the steeple when the bell is rung. As I’ve never been up near the window I can’t confirm this theory, one way or the other. If the crossbars are wooden, rather than iron, I doubt they would have much value as a “torque reducer”.
It could be, that when the church was built, in the days before electric lights, the window allowed natural lighting of the nave — and the Star of David was simply a religious embellishment that fit the space without reducing, too greatly, the available light.
Personally, until another plausible reason comes along, I think I’ll accept Dad’s more ecclesiastical explanation.