Two stained glass windows dedicated on June 15, 2014

St. Martin-in-the-Fields Episcopal Church has two new stained glass windows offered, created and installed by parish member Gil Kleinwechter. The windows were installed for Pentecost and dedicated on Sunday, June 15, 2014, with this prayer:

O Lord God, the whole world is filled with the radiance of your glory: accept our offering of these stained glass windows which we now dedicate to you for the adornment of this place and the inspiration of your people. Grant that as the light shines through in its many colors, so our lives may show forth the beauty of your manifold gifts of grace; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The story of the glass

Gil tells this story of the glass: “When in middle school, my daughter and I took a couple of stained glass classes at Hobby Lobby, and we learned basic techniques together. I watched my daughter create an amazing small stained glass piece for St. Martin’s Lenten Stations of the Cross art project in 2010. We brainstormed, “What if we made some large pieces for St. Martin?” and considered that the west windows on the church would have the most impact. We measured them, and talked to stained glass pros about what techniques to use and how to suspend large pieces. Then our family got busy with two kids in high school, so it was just an idea for many years.

In spring of 2013, St. Martin’s education director Corrie Cabes was organizing the Unbroken Circle, a fine arts gallery inviting participants from across the diocese, I got the stained glass bug again and created the first piece. The Unbroken Circle featured art from each liturgical season, and I chose Pentecost.  I sketched out my design and plan and ran it by our clergy, Father Jim Reynolds and Mother Amy Haynie, and got their thumbs-up that the symbolism was sound. I finished the first piece, a dove descending from heaven to earth, at the May 2013 gallery held at St. Elisabeth’s Episcopal Church in Fort Worth.

I had been considering what to do as the second piece, because I definitely wanted a “sister” piece that would look natural and cohesive beside the first, and to continue telling a story of God’s love. My wife saw an appealing picture of a cross with rays radiating from it on Pinterest, and that idea seemed a good fit with the story I had in my mind anyway – of Jesus, on the cross, bringing salvation to the world, bridging heaven and earth for us, filling the world with his glory. I ran that by Father Mike Wallens and Mother Amy Haynie, and this year I eventually got the second piece built. Then I had to make the frames, using the basic woodworking I learned from my father. ”

The stained glass work is rich in color to symbolize that Christ’s love is for all people and that all are welcome at St. Martin.  When asked about the depiction of Earth in the windows, Gil offered, “Yes, one could interpret the amorphous shapes as Pangea. The Episcopal Church has affirmed the compatibility of science and faith.”

Glenda Morehead is one of the many at St. Martin-in-the-Fields who appreciates the transformation the windows have brought. “The windows have gone from being a real problem, with the west sun baking through mini-blinds and bleaching the carpet, to being things of beauty and inspiration.”

Gil said, “I am humbled by the reaction of people at church. I ask each of you to consider what you can do at St. Martin-in-the-Fields.”

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