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Featured Windows, October 2003

Church of the Transfiguration Window

Building: Church of the Transfiguration

City: Ironwood

State: Michigan

This "Transfiguration Window," in the chancel of the Church of the Transfiguration, depicts an event in the life of Jesus, as recorded in the biblical books of Matthew, Mark and Luke. In these accounts, Jesus went up a mountain with three of his disciples, Peter, James and John. There his disciples saw him glowing with divine glory, with Moses and Elijah on either side. As they watched, a voice from overhead declared, "This is my beloved Son. Hear him." The central figure of Jesus is clothed in the glistening white robes described in the stories.

On the left, Moses carries the tablet containing the Ten Commandments he had received from God on Mount Sinai. On the right, the prophet Elijah holds a flaming wheel to symbolize the fiery chariot in which it was said he had ascended to heaven. The three major figures are encircled by a ribbon on which are inscribed the words heard by the disciples, who are pictured in the lower corners.

The Church of the Transfiguration traces its beginning to 1888, when some women of Ironwood formed an Episcopal Ladies' Society. In 1889 the Mission of St. Paul was organized and by 1890 the parishioners were meeting in a former Presbyterian church which they had moved to a new site. Designed by Fred Charlton of Marquette, the present stone building was constructed of local materials and completed in 1897. Its name was changed to the Church of Transfiguration at the service of consecration.

The first stained glass in the church was a rose window installed in 1937, followed by other windows added to the sides of the nave and in the chancel. The original chancel window was later replaced by the "Transfiguration Window," which was given in memory of Linwood I. Noyes and dedicated in 1964 during the 75th anniversary celebration of the parish. The windows were made by the Conrad Schmitt Studios, founded by Conrad Schmitt at Milwaukee in 1889 and now located in nearby New Berlin, Wisconsin, where it operates under the direction of president Bernard E. Gruenke, Jr., Heidi Gruenke Emery and Gunar Gruenke, the second and third generations of the Gruenke family to direct the studio.

The Church of the Transfiguration was registered in the Michigan Stained Glass Census by Evelyn Bedore of Ironwood.

(MSGC 1994.0128)

Text by Betty MacDowell, Michigan Stained Glass Census, October , 2003.