Featured Windows, July 2010
First Congregational Church of St. Johns
Building: First Congregational Church of St. Johns
City: St. Johns
First Congregational Church of St. Johns, MI. Built 1899. Ernest W. Arnold of Battle Creek, architect.
First Congregational Church of St. Johns, founded on April 1, 1860, is celebrating its 150th anniversary throughout 2010. The present church home, constructed in 1899, was designed by Battle Creek architect Ernest W. Arnold, who was the designer of many Michigan municipal, institutional and collegiate buildings. Most of its stained glass windows were created by the H. M. Hooker Company of Chicago and installed in 1900. These include two large windows on the north and south walls of the nave, two rose windows on the east and west walls, and numerous smaller windows. Four additional windows were created in 1995 by Tom Sutton of St. Johns. The large nave windows and two other windows were restored in 2008.
Center panel of south window, “Hope.” Right:
South window, “Hope.” H. M. Hooker Co., Chicago, IL, 1900.
The two large nave windows are 16-1/2 feet high by 18 feet wide. Primarily ornamental, they are almost identical except for their center pictorial panels. In the south window, the center panel depicts a seaside scene with an anchor and rock in the foreground. The banner above is inscribed, “Hope.” The anchor recalls biblical words: “We have hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure” (Hebrews 6:19); the rock refers to words of the Psalmist: “The Lord is my rock and my fortress” (Psalm 18:2).
Center panel of north window, “Faith.” Right:
Signature of the H. M. Hooker Co., inscribed on the north window.
The center panel of the large north window shows a rock surmounted by a cross wound with vines, to symbolize the Crucifixion and Resurrection, as told by the Gospel writers. An overhead banner reads “Faith.” Flanking the center panels of each large window are panels holding torches and lilies, Christian symbols for the Betrayal, Passion and purity of Christ. These and other windows in the church are good examples of the many turn-of-the-century stained glass windows that have been registered in the Michigan Stained Glass Census.
The H. M. Hooker Company was active in Chicago from 1855 to 1967, producing windows for churches and other buildings of several states. The monogram “HB” refers to H. Bjorncrantz, an artist with the Hooker firm whose monogram has been found on other Michigan windows made by Hooker.
East Rose Window. H. M. Hooker Co., Chicago, IL, 1900.
The ten-foot diameter Rose Window on the east wall is one of two rose windows in the church. Its center medallion depicts a jeweled crown, representing the ”Crown of Life.”
First Congregational Church of St. Johns was registered in the Michigan Stained Glass Census by the Reverend Matthew Olson, with photography by Gary Larsen, both of St. Johns, MI.
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Text by Betty MacDowell, Michigan Stained Glass Census, July , 2010.