Featured Windows, October-November 2011
Hartford Memorial Baptist Church
Building: Hartford Memorial Baptist Church
Hartford Memorial Baptist Church. Built 1945. Merritt and Cole, Architects.
Hartford Memorial Baptist Church was founded in 1917. Throughout its history, this African-American church has been actively involved in the civil rights movement and struggle for equality. Notable among those who have spoken from its pulpit are W.E.B. DuBois and Paul Robeson. Led by its third pastor, Dr. Charles Gilchrist Adams, the church moved from an earlier building on Hartford Avenue into its present home in 1977 and has since grown to become one of Detroit’s largest church congregations.
The present church building, designed by Merritt and Cole of Detroit, was constructed in 1945 and enlarged in 1962. Its nave and chapel windows were designed by Bernard Graff (1922-2004) and fabricated in the 1950s and 1960s by the Willet Stained Glass Studios of Philadelphia, PA. William Willet (1856-1915), an artist and leader in the American Gothic Movement, founded the Willet Studios in 1898. For over a century the studio has created windows for numerous churches and cathedrals in the United States, including many churches located in Michigan. In 1977, the company became a division of the Hauser Art Glass Company and changed its name to Willet Hauser Architectural Glass. The stained glass at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church includes eleven windows in the sanctuary and ten windows in the Rev. Charles A. Hill Chapel, named for its second pastor who served the church for 48 years.
The Nativity Window. The birth and boyhood of Jesus are depicted in this three lancet window. The central panel shows the Holy Family above a scene of the Visit of the Magi. Side panels portray the Annunciation, the Flight to Egypt, the boy Jesus in the Temple and other related events.
Our Baptist Window. This window recognizes contributions made to Baptist church history by Baptist leaders Adoniram Judson, John Bunyan, William Carey, Roger Williams, and Charles Spurgeon. John Milton, author of Paradise Lost, also is included in the lower right corner.
The Gold Star Window. Honored in the side panels are martyrs of the Christian faith: John Huss, William Tyndale, Martin Luther and John Calvin. The figure in the center lancet honors nine young men, members of the previous church congregation, whose lives were lost in World War II.
The Good Shepherd Window. This balcony window presents three familiar scenes: Jesus with the children, Jesus as the Good Shepherd, and Jesus with Martha and Mary.
The Music Window. One of ten windows in the church chapel, the Music Window depicts King David, musician of the Old Testament, and sixth-century Gregory the Great, for whom the Gregorian chant is named. The church is widely known for its large pipe organ and its music ministry.
Hartford Memorial Baptist Church was registered in the Michigan Stained Glass Census by Dr. Anita Moncrease and Kiera Allen, with photography by Curtis Kilpatrick (MSGC 96.0131).
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Text by Betty MacDowell, Michigan Stained Glass Census, October , 2011.