First Baptist Church, Huntsville, AL
Monday, April 21, 2014
The Stained Glass Windows
The Sanctuary at First Baptist Church contains large stained glass windows that were designed to influence, to inspire, and to stimulate the worshiper . This is possible not only because of the sheer magnitude of the windows, but also because their designs tend to draw the viewer inexorably into the swirling colors and shape that express the Christian message.
The windows may be experienced on several levels. Upon entering the church, the viewer may initially be struck by the movement of the windows. The flow is toward the pulpit. The intersecting parabolas of the designs open forward, thus directing the viewer's attention to the focal point of the sanctuary.
Though reflecting a similar overall feeling, the windows possess individual character and significance. The south window is surcharged with excitement and a sense of urgency, bursting upon the viewer's consciousness with an impression of change, of turmoil, of "becoming". Here is the shattering glory and beauty - even the pain - of creation and of the creative process. The radiance near the center suggests the brilliant, intense light of God. Around it, like a river of fire, flows the creative flux. Distant bursts of light suggest the creation of galaxies in the far reaches of space. Unknown planets and stars emerge. A strong suggestion lingers of order evolving out of disorder as the will of God is imposed upon the matter of the universe.
The faceted stained glass windows in the sanctuary were replaced with nearly exact duplicates of the original windows during the renovation of the Sanctuary in 1997. Deterioration of the epoxy filler encasing the pieces of glass made their replacement necessary. The hand-crafting of the reproductions was done by Statesville Stained Glass Company of Statesville, North Carolina.
The stained glass window in the baptistry, depicts the cross of Christ and was added in the recent renovation. It unites the original windows aesthetically and theologically. The great wonder of God's creative power and the glory of his eternal presence are joined in the cross of Christ. The redemptive work, the new creation God wrought in the cross of Christ, is the centerpiece of history. Bridging the space between the windows on either side of the sanctuary, raised high for all to see, and backlit to ensure its radiance, the baptistry window is a visual reminder of the centrality of Christ in our worship and in our pilgrimage of faith.