Stained Glass Windows
by Rev. James Elliott
Our present church building was built and dedicated in 1916. There wasn’t enough money to purchase stained glass windows for the new church, so the church leaders decided to offer the members the option of donating memorial stained glass windows for the new church, and several families responded. The notation on some of the windows, “zum andenken an”, loosely translated means “in memory of…”.
When the members of the congregation built the present structure in the early 1900’s, they were immediately determined to include such stained glass windows that they realistically thought they could afford. Such windows are expensive to purchase and expensive to maintain. But with proper care, they can last for a very long time.
Read on to find out more about our beautiful windows!
The major theme window shows Jesus as “The Good Shepherd”, tenderly caring for his flock of sheep. This is one of several favorite themes for major theme windows in churches, picturing the tender, caring nature of Jesus for his followers, and thus by implication, the tender, caring nature of the heavenly Father. The sheep learn by association that their shepherd will lead them to places where there is food to eat and water to drink. The sheep, because of this long term association, learn to trust the shepherd routinely.
In the window nearest the lectern, we find a white lily, a traditional symbol of resurrection and eternal life. Live lilies typically grace most of our churches as part of our Easter celebration, and St. Johns Church also uses this tradition at Easter time.
The Harp (or lyre), common to Old Testament times, was a small stringed instrument which a shepherd could carry on his back to create songs or to possibly soothe the sheep as they prepared to sleep for the night. David used the small harp to help create at least some of the Psalms that many people remember and treasure.
The Cross and the Crown are traditional symbols indicating that if we want to receive the ultimate crown of eternal life, we must be prepared to possibly suffer for our faith. This window was given in memory of George Hoflander. His wife was left with six children in the family home when he died. Financially, she didn’t have a lot of resources, but with the help of her son, Henry, they managed to raise enough money to pay for the memorial window.
The dove, pictured at the top of the north window, is pictured flying horizontally. In most traditional symbols, the dove, when representing the Spirit of God, is pictured as descending. In this particular window, it probably was intended to symbolize the dove which was set free by Noah during the flood, and when it returned with an olive branch in its mouth, Noah knew that dry land was nearby and they would be safe.
The wheat bundle (or sheaf or shock)…this half window symbol located in one of the upper windows on the east side. The wheat not only represents basic food, but also reminds some people of the wheat becoming bread, which Jesus then uses for the sacrament of communion: “I am the bread of life. This bread is my body. As often as you eat this bread, do it in remembrance of me.”
The Anchor Cross was originally located in the south wall of the worship area. When the building was expanded, and the chancel was remodeled several years ago, this stained glass window was moved to the “new south wall”, which is now located in the Sunday School room. Because of its present location, most people never see it and probably aren’t even aware that it is there.
The Lamb with the cross, is a small glass insert at the top of the east windows, serving as a reminder that the “Lamb of God” (or Christ) received the final crown of eternal life again because he endured the suffering of the cross.
The “10 Commandments”…this small symbol, inserted at the top of the east windows, serves as a reminder that God gave Moses a set of important rules, concerning proper reverence toward God and proper respect for other people.
The Greek Cross, with arrows pointing out from the cross, again suggests going out into all the world with the message of the cross. As with the Anchor Cross, this window was originally located in the worship area, but with the expansion of the church, it was moved into the room known as “The Chapel.” A few people see it regularly, but most people never see it.
The Bible window, above the altar, has arrows pointing into all the world, suggesting the instruction given by Jesus that we are to spread the “good news” into all of the world. This window has “back-lighting” to help highlight the colors during church services.
Our beautiful stained glass windows are badly in need of repair. Years of weather and sunlight have damaged all of the windows, especially the windows on the west side of the church. The estimated cost to repair all of the windows is around $50,000. At the 2017 Annual Congregational Meeting, a committee was established to find the best repair service and raise funds to complete this project. We are asking members, former members and friends of the church for donations. You may donate by check or by using the PayPal button on this page. Checks should be made out to the church (St. Johns United Church of Christ) with the words “window repair” in the memo and mailed to the church’s address: 14191 Billingsville Road, Boonville, MO 65233. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of the Church Council members.