Learning the many stories told in the Bible is an important facet of attending church and religious education. These stories are often used to accentuate important facets of the faith. For many centuries, education was not open to all people. Reading the Bible was impossible for most parishioners when churches first formed. Helping people of the parish remember the lessons of the Bible was done in many ways. Stained glass windows were often part of this process.
Since they first became popular, stained glass windows have been installed in many churches. They were often commissioned by church elders to illustrate important Biblical figures. While God is not often portrayed, Jesus and Mary are very popular. John the Baptist has also been a figure often portrayed in stained glass windows. The Adoration of the Magi is also a fixture in many churches. These figures and scenes were illustrated to remind people of the roots of Christianity.
The events leading up to the crucifixion and through the resurrection have often been portrayed in stained glass windows. Many churches have enough windows to illustrate all the Stations of the Cross. The windows are often set above a station marker where people could pray. Most modern churches now have written explanations for each station. This has always been a constant reminder to parishioners of the basis of the Christian faith.
Many stained glass windows in churches are now centuries old. Some leak and others have panels missing. It is not unusual for a church to have the windows taken down temporarily for repairs. Plain windows are often put in their place as repairs can take months. For churches that want to keep the beauty of their stained glass during these critical repairs, glass transfers or glass decals are often affixed to the new windows. It is a good option for continuity in the church while the antique windows are out for repairs.