The use of stained glass windows as we are accustomed to today dates to the 10th Century in European churches. In these sacred buildings one could see depictions of Christ and Biblical scenes. Before recorded history of man, humans knew how to make glass and color it by adding metallic slats and oxides. A monk by the name of Theophilus wrote a "How to" book for craftsmen around 1100 A.D. describing the method of making a church stained glass window. The method he described has changed little over the 900 years. To Medieval man these windows made the church that special sacred dwelling place of our all powerful God. These picture windows, for centuries, would remind the illiterate Christian of the sacred Biblical Stories he had learned and retell the lives of saints who spent their lives proclaiming the Gospel of Christ and often died defending it.
The windows in our Sanctuary have served us well for almost 120 years! Few of us still have windows that old in our homes. Those left are drafty and inefficient. To simply replace them with clear glass is extremely costly. That is why our congregation made the decision about 20 years ago to start replacing them with stained glass windows. I am sure that our forefathers who gave generously and sacrificed to build our church in 1889 would have loved to have had the entire building adorned with stained glass windows. However, with the modest income of the majority of its members the plain frosted glass had to suffice with the exception of the Christ window in the Apse area. The infant congregation was able to splurge and spend an extra $14 to have at least one stained glass window in the sacred spot above the alter.
We have been blessed and able to refurbish 7 of the 9 windows on the main floor of the sanctuary. Only the large one on the Pulaski St. side and the one cut in half by the balcony is left. For sometime now we have been saving for the Pulaski St. window. This will be the crucifixion scene. The ultimate plan for the sanctuary is to see the Nativity lithograph on the North side, the Crucifixion on the West side, and the Resurrection on the South side. All this hopefully followed by a framed painting (on the blank wall spot) of the Ascension.
Stained glass is not a necessity for worship, but does help to add a feeling of reverence and sacredness to our sanctuary. To modern man, these windows can serve as a tool to turn our wandering thoughts during worship back to our Lord and the reason we are assembled to worship. To the left of the alter above the choir pews is an angel playing a harp. The largest window on the south wall is the dazzling depiction of the Transfiguration. Here we see Peter, James and John blinded by the light coming from Jesus with Moses and Elijah to each side of our Lord. Flanking this window is the two catechism windows, here in the circles are symbols of the six chief parts of the catechism, the Ten Commandments, Apostles' Creed, Lord's Prayer, Holy Baptism, holy Communion, and the Office of the Keys. On the west wall under the balcony are two windows containing the four Evangelists, St. Matthew, St. Mark, St. Luke and St. John. In the clouds beneath each is the symbolic winged creature that represents them. they are looking inward towards what some day will be the crucifixion window, depicting the climax of what their Gospels proclaim.
Our windows have been made by the Art Glass a local 4th generation owned company in Hereford, MD, that started downtown near the Fifth Regiment Armory. They have all been designed by the artist Tim Hirneisen.
Through the spoken Word, the sound of instruments and with voice of singing we proclaim the glory of God. Also, through the sacred architectural edifices, complimented with their interior works of art, we too through our home congregation proclaim to the community just how great out God is and the important place he holds in our lives. The stained glass windows we are adding are simply another witness to that fact.
At present we have $30,000 of the $60,000 it will cost to buy the crucifixion window. Anyone wishing to donate towards this fund to the glory of God as a gift or memorial simply ear mark your donation made out to St. Thomas Ev. Lutheran Church for this purpose. Thank you.
We are proud to say that the window will be under construction soon. All though the design of the window has been changed. The design for this window is now the resurrection scene.