St. Stephen’s Lutheran Church of Beaver Dam has begun a restoration project. The first phase of the restoration focused on preserving the exterior, and in the last year the bricks were tuck-pointed, the roof was replaced, a new drainage system was installed, and the stained glass windows have new storm windows. In the process of replacing the storms, Van der Hoff studios of Melrose, Wisconsin discovered that the frames were deteriorating and that the lead in the stained glass was oxidized and crumbling. That meant a complete overhaul of the largest windows had to be done. New wooden frames have been built, all the glass has been cleaned and releaded, and this week, Van der Hoff studios will begin putting the windows back in place.
In the middle ages, churches had tapestries, frescoes and stained glass windows to tell the stories of Scripture. In an age before printing when few people could read, the art in churches was the bible for the common people. Even though the written word is everywhere in printed and electronic form, our culture seems to be moving toward being more visual and image oriented. Visually displaying scenes from the Bible still helps teach the stories and truths of the Bible.
St. Stephen’s north window depicts Jesus as the Good Shepherd, holding a lamb. This focuses our thoughts on our Savior’s care and on St. Stephen’s emphasis on Christian education of the young.
The south window shows Jesus praying in Gethsemane, reminding us of Jesus’ passion, and how he not only taught us to pray “Your will be done,” he prayed it and carried out his Father’s will even when it meant his own suffering.
The Lutheran emphasis on the Sacraments as means of God’s grace is seen in the smaller windows near the altar showing Jesus’ baptism in the Jordan River and his institution of the Lord’s Supper.
The east window by the organ has three emblems of an open Bible, a torch with the words “The Lord is my light,” and an anchor with the word “hope.”
Photographs of St. Stephen’s windows are from: http://welsstainedglass.org/StStephensBD/StStephensBDPage.htm
Van der Hoff Studios website: http://www.vanderhoffstudios.com
News release: St. Stephen’s Window Project © 2015 St. Stephen’s Ev. Lutheran Church and School, Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. All rights reserved.