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Our Lady of Grace, Dearborn Heights, Michigan

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Featured Windows, December 2004

Grosse Pointe United Methodist Church Windows

Building: Grosse Pointe United Methodist Church

City: Grosse Pointe Farms

State: Michigan

These two windows are among the sixteen stained glass windows created for the new sanctuary of Grosse Pointe United Methodist Church, which was founded in 1945. Completed in 2000, the sanctuary was designed by Constantine George Pappas, AIA Architecture/Planning of Troy, Michigan. A longtime Detroiter and graduate of the Lawrence Institute of Technology, Pappas is nationally known for his religious architecture and in 2002 was elected to the College of Fellows of The American Institute of Architects (AIA). AIA Detroit has recognized the new sanctuary with an Honor Award for design excellence.

Guided by liturgical consultant Father Mark Joseph Costello of Chicago, the window selection committee chose the eighteenth-century hymns of Charles and John Wesley, founders of the Methodist Church, as the unifying theme of the windows, a theme that also reflects the congregation's great interest in music. Six windows on the left side of the sanctuary, based on Old Testament events, are paired with six windows on the right side, representing events described in the New Testament. Each pair of windows is associated with one of the many hymns written by the Wesley brothers. The square window designs appear to "float" in surrounding colorless glass, which allows views of the out-of-doors. Four other stained glass windows are located above the altar, in the narthex and at the rear of the sanctuary. The new windows were dedicated at the New Building Consecration held on Sunday, October 15, 2000.

The paired windows shown here represent "The Creation" story, as related in the Book of Genesis, and "The Nativity" or birth of Jesus, recorded in the Book of Luke. The Creation window on the left includes imagery suggesting the light of day, the dark of night, the land and waters of the earth, and the hand of God the Creator. It draws inspiration from opening lines in Charles Wesley's Hymn 88: "Maker, in whom we live, in whom we are and move/the glory, power and praise receive for thy creating love." This window depicting the first beginning is linked to its opposite window that symbolizes the beginning of Christianity. The Creation window was a gift to the church from Howard and Marie Draper, in honor of their children and grandchildren.

The Nativity window on the right features the infant Jesus surrounded by angels with the guiding Christmas star overhead. It too is based on lines from Charles Wesley's Hymn 88: "Let all the angel throng give thanks to God on high/while earth repeats the joyful song and echoes to the sky." The Nativity window was a gift to the church from Evelyn Griffith, in honor of the Griffith family.

All of the windows were designed by Rich Buswell and fabricated by Lynchburg Stained Glass of Lynchburg, Virginia, a studio founded in 1983 by Bob Speake and his two sons, Mark and Jeff. Buswell, a native of Brookline, Massachusetts, graduated from the New England School of Art and Design in 1975 and has designed stained glass for several large studios. He has been the Art Director at Lynchburg Stained Glass since 1986.

Grosse Pointe United Methodist Church was registered in the Michigan Stained Glass Census by Marianne Kiess with photography by Bert Prisk, both of Grosse Pointe Woods.

Bibliography: Show Bibliography

(MSGC 2004.0013)

Text by Betty MacDowell, Michigan Stained Glass Census, December , 2004.