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Featured Window

Window of the Month
Our Lady of Grace, Dearborn Heights, Michigan

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Featured Windows, January 1999

Mariners’ Church, Detroit, MI

Building: Mariners' Church

City: Detroit

State: Michigan

The great Western Rose or Browning Compass Window at Mariner's Church symbolizes tenets of the Christian faith as well as the special mission of this church to serve sailors of the Great Lakes. At its center is a ship, an ancient Christian symbol, filled with the haloed heads of the twelve disciples. The ship's mast and crossbar form a cross, echoed by the window's four main compass spokes, in which are found the symbols of the four Evangelists: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. A ship's wheel, encircled by the waters of life, is seen behind the points of the compass.

Designed by Buffalo architect Calvin N. Otis in the Gothic Revival style, the church was built in 1849 with funds and on property bequeathed by sisters Julia Anderson and Charlotte Taylor, who intended it to be especially for Great Lakes mariners. As part of this mission, the church holds an annual "Blessing of the Fleet" and memorial service for those who have lost their lives on the Great Lakes. Its stained glass windows, made by the J. and R. Lamb Studios, were added in 1955 after the stone building was moved two blocks to make room for Detroit's new Civic Center. The Compass Window above the organ and choir loft was given by the Browning family, which for many years operated freighters and ferries on the Great Lakes.

(MSGC 1992.0007)

Text by Betty MacDowell, Michigan Stained Glass Census, January , 1999.