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Window features Jesus riding waves

The stained-glass art at St. Andrew's was done after termites damaged the church

By Bob Sigall
Special to the Star-Advertiser

LAST UPDATED: 2:27 p.m. HST, Aug 5, 2011

Which Honolulu church has Jesus surfing in stained glass?

Many churches have intricate stained-glass windows with biblical scenes portrayed in brilliantly colored mosaics of light. But only one might show Jesus on a surfboard. The church is St. Andrew's Cathedral on Beretania Street.

The entrance to the church facing the street and the fountain is a 50-foot-tall wall of glass.

When installed in the late 1950s, it was one of the largest ever constructed in the United States. John Wallis of Pasadena, Calif., was the designer.

When asked why he put Jesus on a surfboard, Wallis just smiled. The window portrays more than 30 biblical scenes, including the birth of Jesus, the Last Supper, Mary and Joseph, and John the Baptist. King Kamehameha IV and Queen Emma, the founders of the cathedral, are also shown in glass.

Some of the credit for building the wall is given to termites that ate much of the former wooden structure, necessitating a restoration. One was "honored" at the bottom right of the wall in glass.

Bob Sigall, author of "The Companies We Keep 1, 2 & 3," looks through his collection of old photos to tell stories each Friday of Hawaii people, places and companies. He welcomes your comments and suggestions at

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