Our beautiful church building has two sets of stained glass - the original stained glass at the front of the building, one piece of which was brought from the old downtown church in 1954, and the other, relatively new stained glass in our sanctuary
The stained glass at the front of our original building is in two sections. One section, called the 'Christ Window' contains the Christ the Good Shepherd picture along with the Alpha & Omega symbols. These were brought from the old downtown church to this location in 1954; the rest of the window is new. The other section called the 'Wesley Window' was newly purchased for this new building. The following description of the "Christ Window" was written by Pastor Gilbert A. Weisshaar (Pastor in 1954).
There are four essential symbols which compose the Christ Window. When taken together they say much about the central figure in the Christian faith. The first, starting at the bottom center of the window, is the traditional 'IHS' (standing for the first three letters of the Greek word for "Jesus") with emanating rays of the sun diminishing in intensity the further from the center one goes. The total symbol stands for Jesus as the "Son of Righteousness". His historicity and humanity are affirmed in using his human name - "Jesus". He stands as the one whom God raises up in human history to fulfill the longings of the prophets as typified by Malachi 4:2 - "But for you who revere my name, there will arise the sun of righteousness, with healing in its wings", or by Isaiah 11:5, as he contemplates the character of the Messiah - "Righteousness will be the girdle round his loins...".
The Christian views Jesus as the righteous one of God who has come to deal with the spiritual wounds of men.
The second symbol, more a picture than a symbol, depicts "CHRIST, THE GOOD SHEPHERD". It, and the Alpha and Omega monogram, was preserved from the old church for inclusion in this window. The words in the gospel of John, the great shepherd passage, are vividly recalled. The following are brief extracts: "I am the good Shepherd, and I lay down my life for the sheep, and I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they will heed my voice." John 10:11a, 15b, 16a. The Good Shepherd reminds us of the everlasting mission of the Church - to express concern for and to reach out toward the very last sheep (man).
The third symbol, in the upper left-hand corner is the Chi Rho monogram (standing for Christ), slightly turned, with an "N" in the background. The "N" comes from the Greek word "NIKA" which means "VICTOR" (or Nike meaning Victory). Hence, the symbol in its entirety means - "CHRIST THE VICTOR". The moving words of St. Paul in I Corinthians 15 describing the victory which is ours because Christ overcame sin and death, immediately come to mind - "Thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." I Corinthians 15:57.
Fourth, is the "Alpha and Omega" monogram located near the Good Shepherd figure. In Revelation 22:13 we find the words - "I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end." The monogram is composed of the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. It reminds us of the eternity of God. But it also serves to counsel us that God is eternally present in Jesus Christ. God speaks today and tomorrow even as He spoke yesterday in the Word made flesh. In man's perennial access to a loving, faithful God lies humanity's hope in this world and the next. - By Gilbert A Weisshaar, Pastor
The description of the 'Wesley Window' was written from information supplied by Pastors Dave Seyller and Ray Miller (former pastors of First UMC) and a Chicago Tribune article from 1955.
The Wesley Window has three symbols displayed on it and a picture of John Wesley preaching. The music symbol is displayed to represent the significance of music in the Wesleyan revival. It also reminds us of Charles Wesley who wrote over 6000 hymns. and Wesley preaching. The ship with cross symbol signifies that the ship is a symbol of the church. This symbol may have been patterned after the ark of Noah, which bore God's faithful to safety through the Flood. Jesus' calming of the storm also helped to make the ship a symbol of safety and refuge. St. Ambrose compared the church to a ship, with the cross as its mast. The ship is also used as an attribute of several saints, such as St. Jude the apostle, Vincent and Nicholas of Myra (St. Nicholas). The central seating area of a large church is called the "nave", which is Latin for 'ship'. The Greek work 'Oikoumene' literally means "the whole inhabited world". This word comes from the same root word as 'ecumenical'. For United Methodists it reminds us that John Wesley said, "The world is my parish. "The 'horseback rider' symbol portrays John Wesley who traveled more than 250,000 miles on horseback to carry the Gospel throughout England.
The picture of John Wesley preaching is a symbol that may be a copy of a picture in the John Wesley Chapel in England. John Wesley is standing on the top on the tomb of his father, Samuel. When John was refused permission to preach to the congregation (because he was preaching Justification by faith) in what had been his father's church, he stood on his father's tomb outside the church and proclaimed the 'radical' gospel.
The stained glass in the present sanctuary is dedicated to the glory of God in memory of Marjorie & Charles Baugh, Mary Anna & Otto W. Seidenstricker, Dorothy Mae Brandeau, and John W. Buckner. These windows were designed by David Wixton & Associates and were dedicated on June 23, 2002
This stained glass design emphasizes the shape of the brickwork between the openings; the design forms a cross.
In the two upper sections, angels and trumpets are portraying worship in heaven which is to be imitated on Earth. The angels are kneeling in adoration to God; their wings symbolize their divine mission. The trumpets are symbolic of the heavenly choir.
In the lower left section, the Sacrament of Baptism is represented. The scallop shell, dripping water, is a symbol of baptism. In the Baptism of Christ, the scallop is held by John the Baptist. When Jesus was baptized, the heavens were opened and the Spirit of God descended upon Him like a dove.
In the lower right section, the Sacrament of Communion is symbolized by the wine and the bread. The wine represents the Cup of Salvation which is the Blood of Christ. The bread represents the Bread of Life which is the Body of Christ. They are depicted next to the kneeling Lamb identifying the submission of Jesus to His Father's will. The title of "Lamb of God" was given to Jesus by John the Baptist, "Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (Jn. 1:29).