Windows of St Bede’s – St John the Baptist
The John the Baptist window is the generous gift of Mrs. Merle Marten to St. Bede’s Church, Semaphore. The John the Baptist window is dedicated in loving memory of Merle’s late husband, Roy Marten.
Squadron Leader H.C. Roy Marten served King and Country in Burma , China , and India as a member of bothx the RAF and RAAF during the Second World War.
For over 25 years he enjoyed serving the local community as Mayor and Council Member of the City of Port Adelaide . He was the founder and benefactor of Marten Village for the Aged and served as President of the Port Adelaide Division of the St. John Ambulance Brigade until his death.
Roy ‘s association with a wide variety of community organisations made him one of Port Adelaide’s best known sons. In recognition of his long commitment to service Roy was invested as a commander of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II in 1981.
Roy Marten was a Knight of the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitaller, an organisation which continues the chivalric virtues of charity and compassionate service through its support of projects such as the Mary Potter Foundation. The Baptist window contains a roundel bearing the white Maltese cross against a red background, which is the emblem of the Order.
The John the Baptist window depicts John the Baptist, clothed in camel skins and with a leather girdle. His arm is raised as he proclaims, “Prepare the way of the Lord”. The sky is turbulent, as is the stream at John’s feet, to indicate that the old order is about to be disturbed by the coming of the Messiah. John leans on a prophet’s staff, which hints at the cross. The background of the picture shows the wilderness, and the border is, appropriately, Sturt’s Desert Pea. At the top of the window is the insignia of the Sovereign Order of St. John, to which Roy Marten belonged. The bulldog in the picture is a reminder of the bulldogs which were part of the Marten household for many years. The inscription at the base of the window recognises Roy Marten’s outstanding service to the City of Port Adelaide .
This window is linked thematically with Mary Magdalene because John the Baptist was last in the line of great prophets of the Old Testament tradition, was the herald of the coming of Christ. Mary Magdalene, as the first witness to the Resurrection, is the first in the line of faithful followers of the Risen Christ. She has been called the “apostle to the Apostles.” Both characters point away from themselves, towards Jesus.