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Sanctuary Stained Glass Windows Glorify God

The Emerging art of stained glass windows in churches grew out of the practical desire to teach Bible stories and symbols to those who could not read the Bible in either the original languages or Latin translations. The stained glass windows in our sanctuary, completed in 1929, combine the intent of teaching Bible stories and symbols with the artistic beauty of master craftsmanship developed over the centuries. Our windows are among the most beautiful in the area, if not the United States.

There are three large windows in our sanctuary, one in each transept, and the largest one in the rear balcony. In addition, there is the beautiful Rose window above the choir loft, and a number of smaller pictorial windows on the side aisles. Other smaller panels in the narthex stairs and balconies provide light. We must not overlook the beautiful windows in the Chapel (located near the lower Scott Road entrance), which were designed with the theme of prayer and include the verses, "Pray without ceasing. In everything we give thanks. For this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

Christ The Good ShepherdThe figure of Christ the Good Shepherd is found on the upper south transept window (Mt. Lebanon side), which could be called the Gospel window since it features the four Gospel writers, an open Bible and lamp, and scenes from the ministry of Christ. This window was designed by Mr. Wilburt and created by the Pittsburgh Stained Glass Studios. The symbols below the four Gospel writers are bursting pomegranates, symbolizing the gift of everlasting life. Next to the Good Shepherd are other figures of Christ teaching, healing, feeding the multitudes, meeting with seekers, and washing the Disciples' feet.


Jesus Multiples
the Boy's Lunch
(John 6:9-13)

The Centurion's Faith
(Matthew 8:5-10)

The Fish Provides
Peter's Tax
(Matthew 17:24-27)

Jesus and Nicodemus
(John 3:1-21)

The north transept window (Dormont side) was done by Mr. Rudy of York, Pennsylvania, who considers it his very best work. Central to the upper window are two communion angels holding the cup and bread, and above them, six lancets or panels with the symbols of the crown and the cross, anchor, cup and grapes, sheaf of wheat, Palm Sunday palms and sword, and Easter lilies. In the upper center of this large window is a smaller round window with the symbols of the Trinity: the triangle, and three connecting circles. Below this are four cross and diamond shaded windows symbolizing the Four Gospels. Underneath the balcony are figures representing the six virtues of faith, hope, charity, purity, fortitude, and peace.


Angel and Cup

Angel and Bread

The Cross and Crown

The Anchor

Palms and Sword

Easter Lilies

The largest and most complex of all the windows faces Washington Road from the near balcony. It was designed and created by the Reeves Company of Philadelphia. The donor's desire that it should incorporate New Testament themes has been carefully followed. At the top is the figure of Christ on the Cross, flanked by the Alpha and Omega, with the four Gospel writers directly below. The main part of the window contains 21 scenes from the life and ministry of Christ, with the words underneath, "Heaven and earth shall pass away but my word shall not pass away." (Luke 21:33) The bottom seven panels deal with the mission of the church, with Christ commissioning the disciples and scenes depicting the spread of the Gospel through Peter, Stephen, Paul and others. Underneath are the words, "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature." (Mark 16:15)

The smaller pictorial windows on the lower two transepts and two side aisles consist of a variety of New Testament persons and stories, all identified with Bible verses. Going clockwise from the Mt. Lebanon transept along the side aisles, ending in the Dormont transept, these include: Mary (Luke 10:30), Martha (Luke 10:40), Luke (Colossians 4:14). Jesus the Healer (Mark 1:32-34), the Sower (Matthew 13:3-8), the Reaper (John 4:36), Phoebe, the first deaconess (Romans 16:1-2), Dorcus (Acts 9:36), Angel of Victory (1 Corinthians 15:57), Paul's ministry companions (Philippians 4:3), Jesus with children (Matthew 19:13-34), welcoming a child (Mark 9:36-37), Jesus with Nathanael (John 1:47), the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30-35), Ruth and Naomi (Ruth 1:18), Boaz and Ruth (Ruth 2-3).


Jesus and Mary
(Luke 10:39)

Martha
(Luke 10:40)

Phoebe the Deaconess
(Romans 16:1-2)

Dorcus's Acts of Charity
(Acts 9:36)

The rose window behind the choir is so named because the design begins in the center and flows outward like a fully opened rose. It is quite amazing that, though all the major windows were done by different companies with no consultation between the artists, all the windows blend together as a unit. They truly enhance the beauty of out Gothic sanctuary, modeled essentially after the twin-towered Yorkminster Cathedral in York, England.

I want to express my appreciation for the historical background on the windows provided by the late Margaret McCown Hood, daughter of the former pastor, Dr. Edward C. McCown, and for the skill of Sheldon Campbell, whose selected photographs of the windows are included. Let me encourage you to take a tour of the windows to view their beautiful portrayal of Bible personalities and history. Perhaps this brief description can provide a helpful guide.

Lawrence F. Selig
December, 1994

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