St. Paul Lutheran Church in Imperial, Missouri
How Pearl River Glass found its way to Missouri is just one example of how many of our projects happen. Eric Held, Elmer Held’s son, is a member of Christ Lutheran Church in Jackson, Mississippi. Elmer is a long time member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Imperial, Missouri. While visiting with his son and family, he admired the windows created by PRGS for Christ Lutheran Church here in Jackson. For some time St. Paul’s has wanted a stained glass window in the chancel behind the altar. After receiving an inquiry from St. Paul’s I traveled to Missouri to see St. Paul’s Lutheran Church and to meet with Reverend Charlie Schultz, their minister and to determine the scope of work for this project.
The narthex of the church displays a beautiful stained glass window depicting Jesus Christ in the Glory of His Ascension. The window was installed when the church was built in the mid 1950’s.
My thought for the new stained glass window was to tell more of the passion story. The window depicts the empty Triumphant cross draped with purple robes. The Gospel tells us that the Roman centurions cast lots for his garments before crucifying Jesus.
This theme emphasizes the miracle of the Easter story as a focal point in the sanctuary. The design was prepared to indicate heavy lead lines in the background. The particular technique of employing variations in the thickness of the lead came, along with a random pattern of vertical lines in the background, reinforces the narrative depicted in the window. The first horizontal lead line created a cross symbol that was carried
throughout all the other bold vertical and horizontal lines into crosses completing the design was complete. The multitude of crosses became symbols for martyrs, saints, fallen Christian soldiers, and anyone in the church viewing the window.
The glass artist that selects and cuts the glass for our stained glass windows has a lot to do with the success of our work. Our glass cutter and artist Amelia Key did a remarkable job of finding all the subtle color variations called for in the rendering. The stained glass window is made in nine separate sections, each supported by a steel superstructure and backlighted with LED flat panels. The steel frame is installed and hinged to open like double doors so that the light panels can be maintained at a future date if needed.
The window was dedicated to celebrate the 500 the anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 theses on the doors of Whittenburg Castle Church in Germany. Details in the window emphasize with pastel colors the 95 lines. On my visit to the church I drove down the highway as it cut through steep hills and exposed striations of stone structure. The bands of pastel colors in the window is a reflection of this visual. In the early 90’s I studied with the German stained glass design master, Ludwig Schaffrath. He explained many times how the themes chosen for his windows often represented some aspect of the environment where the window exists.