Chapel Stained Glass
Since its dedication in 1992, the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus has served as the site of thousands of daily services and numerous special events. It was intentionally constructed in the center of campus — reflecting the Seminary community’s emphasis on worship as the central activity of its life and being.
Thanks to a generous gift from the Eugene E. and Nell S. Fincke Memorial Trust, established by the sainted Finckes, stained glass windows are being installed throughout the entirety of the chapel — chancel, transept, nave and narthex — in 2020. The new windows will depict the humiliation, crucifixion, resurrection, exaltation and second coming of Christ.
The Finckes were generous supporters of the Seminary. In addition to setting aside funds specifically for the installation of new stained glass windows in the chapel, the couple also provided gifts that established endowed professorships and scholarships for students.
When the chapel was designed, it was built with the capacity for stained glass throughout the building but the funding was not available at the time. As such, the only stained glass windows in place in the chapel have been in the chancel since the 1992 chapel dedication. The Finckes’ earmarked gift will fulfill the original plans for the chapel.
A stained glass design committee worked for two years in preparation for the new stained glass windows. The committee is comprised of nine members: President Dr. Dale A. Meyer, Dean of Chapel Dr. Kent Burreson, Chairman of the Practical Department Dr. David Schmitt, Chairman of the Historical Department Dr. Erik Herrmann, Seminary Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Louis, Dean of Chapel Emeritus Dr. James Brauer, Dovetail Creations Artist Rev. Bill Matzat, Director of Campus Facilities Martin Hague and C&W Services Site Director Ray Allen.
The committee selected the Te Deum Laudamus (Latin: Holy God, We Praise Your Name), a historic text of praise to God, as the thematic touchpoint and framework for the windows. As a written piece, the Te Deum is rich in theology. It fills the hearts and minds of worshipers with images and figures from Scripture that lead to joyous eternal praise of the Triune God. The stained glass project will forge windows whose light, color and design invite worshipers into several activities: the joyous praise of the Triune God by the created world and human creatures; the remembrance of Christ’s saving work that draws everyone to the Father as Christ rules over all creation until His return on judgment day; and the purpose of the Seminary — to prepare ministers, deaconesses and church workers who with Word and Sacrament carry the Good News of Jesus Christ wherever they are sent.
The committee presented the results of their careful study and received approval from the Seminary’s Board of Regents to proceed with the project.
Lynchburg Stained Glass of Lynchburg, Va., was selected to design and install the new windows. The faceted stained glass window in the chancel of the Chapel of St. Timothy and St. Titus was removed in October 2019 to make way for new stained glass windows that are being fabricated out of leaded glass, which has a longer life span than faceted glass. The original chancel window had reached the halfway point of its life span; while the new leaded glass windows are projected to last at least 100 years. A specialty of Lynchburg Stained Glass is the artistic use of clear and stained glass to allow in the natural light from the outside, emphasizing God’s creation.
The committee decided the original stained glass window in the chancel, featuring Sts. Timothy and Titus, will be relocated elsewhere on campus so that the resurrected Christ will be the central window, just as He is and remains the center of our worship and praise.
The new windows will divide the worship space into two main areas: the nave, and the chapel and transepts. In the nave, the windows will celebrate the Te Deum’s opening emphasis on the praise of God by all creation in heaven and on earth. The chancel window is part of the second main area. The transept and chancel windows, functioning as a type of triptych, will lead worshipers into the Te Deum’s closing emphasis on the ministry and work of Christ, tracing His life, death, resurrection and enthronement until His return to judge the living and the dead. At the center of that triptych is the theme of the resurrection and reign of Christ, represented in the chancel window. The worship space, thus, moves from the praise of all creation to the praise of God’s people specifically for God’s saving work, the mystery made known most fully to us in the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
As Christians sing the Te Deum and confess the work of Jesus Christ, they celebrate how “Thou didst open the kingdom of heaven to all believers.” As one enters the chapel, the chancel window offers a vibrant and glorious view of the risen Savior. Father, Son and Spirit are represented to the viewer, along with Word and Sacrament, the means whereby God makes His saving work known among us today.
At first glance, one sees the image of the resurrected Savior rising above the altar in 22 leaded glass panes. Christ is the dominant figure in the window, outlined through the contrasting use of clear glass and colored glass around Him. Below Him is the darkness of the tomb, the dark power of death having been broken, and a pomegranate, a traditional symbol of the resurrection, with the blood red seeds bursting into life. Above Him, to the right, is a hand representing the hand of God the Father reaching down from above, raising His Son from the dead and offering Him to the world, as radiant beams flow from His fingers and envelop Christ in brilliance. Christ’s hands are open in invitation to all to come to Him. Angels play golden instruments in exaltation of God the Son. From the Son, one sees the Holy Spirit being sent forth into the world. The phoenix rising from the flames recalls the resurrection, while the Spirit descending into the flames anticipates Pentecost.
As one looks more closely, one begins to see the Word and Sacraments, the means whereby God works among us today. In the center of the window, the Word is represented in the sword of the Spirit that is held by the Son. The hilt of the sword has a cruciform shape, like the gilded crosses of the church. But the true beauty of the cross is not the jewels but the wounds of the Son. So, the wound in Christ’s hand becomes the jewel in the hilt of the sword that leads one to the Spirit, proclaiming the saving work of Jesus Christ to the world.
Along the sides of the window, one sees the Sacraments of the Lord’s Supper and Baptism. On the left is the eucharistic wheat, found among the flowers of the new creation. On the right is the chalice with grapes. Near the bottom is the water that flows in a baptismal stream (a river that will flow through all of the north side windows), reminding viewers that they have been baptized into the death and resurrection of Christ.
Visitors will notice the intentional use of clear glass at the top of the chancel window to maximize natural light in the chapel, which becomes a mix of yellow, green, orange and blue glass in the lower panes.
Clear glass windows will remain in place until the installation of all of the new stained glass windows is completed throughout the chapel. The original chancel window, featuring Sts. Timothy and Titus, will be repurposed elsewhere on campus although the exact location has not yet been determined.
The name of the chapel will remain unchanged.
Once installation of all of the windows is completed, the new stained glass windows will offer a more complete display of the Lord Jesus Christ throughout the entirety of the chapel, culminating in the chancel window as a resurrected Jesus Christ takes central place in the worship space above the altar.
Check this page from time to time as updates and photos of the project are added while the installation progresses.