5400 Belle Terre Parkway, Palm Coast, Florida 32137
Phone: 386-446-2300
dollyb@stthomaspalmcoast.com

 
Living and Proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ in Community, Eucharist and Servanthood

Sanctuary Stained Glass

In a feast of light, design, and color, the Saint Thomas Window and Rose Window celebrate our patron, Saint Thomas and stand as a testament to the Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The six side windows celebrate the ‘Seasons’ of the church as celebrated by the “western church-catholic”* 

Their sequence; from back to front, along the walls of the nave, represent an approach to the altar and to the cross. On each side, the first window represents a season of penitence and preparation [Advent & Lent]. The center windows on each side [Christmas & Easter] represent the primary dramatic events that we believe God took for our redemption. The last, those closest to the altar, [Epiphany & Pentecost] speak to outcomes, spiritual awakening and empowerment on an individual basis and collectively as ‘the church’. They speak to the revelation of God at work in the world; “God with us”. 

As you enter; Advent, Christmas and Epiphany are to your left. To your right are Lent, Easter and Pentecost. As such, they are not only beautiful aids to worship, but as we progress through the Christian year, they are mnemonic; that is serving to remind and encourage us in our Christian walk. Again, it is an approach to the cross. 

Against a rich background of blues and purple, each window is broken into a series of fields displaying design elements pertinent to that window. Woven through all of the windows and bordering each of the design fields is a border of oak leaves. Outlining each window is a border which symbolically suggests, elicits, and evokes a response for that season. 

The design elements draw from a rich tradition in the church and both ancient and contemporary heraldry and symbolism, ‘sacred monograms’ and a rich symbolism which has come be associated through the millennia, with flora; elements of ‘the creation’. 

Woven through all of the windows and outlining each field is a border of oak leaves which symbolically stands for ‘spiritual strength’, for faith and endurance. This speaks to our “Faith” and our “Hope”. 

 

The Saint Thomas and Rose Windows 


Stained Glass St Thomas
In the top field (apex), the traditional heraldic symbol for Saint Thomas is the spear and building square on a red field. One of the Apostles, he is said to have built a church in India and is considered the patron of builders. The spear was the instrument of his martyrdom. From the Bible in the central field, springs our belief in God’s continuous revelation of himself through Scripture. The Alpha and Omega in the bottom field represents the ‘monogram’ for God the Father…. ‘I am the Beginning and the End.. The First and the Last.’ [jhwh, Elohim, Abba, Father, daddy.]Wheat and Grapes in the second field generally denote the Eucharist. The Bible is also symbolic of Christ as the ‘Logos’, ‘the Word’. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was God, and the Word was with God”. The Bread and Cup in the fourth field represents the central expressive act in Christian worship! “This is the Body and Blood which [is] given for you, take [them] in remembrance of me.” … The IHS on the bread is a ‘sacred monogram’ translated to Jesus. Sitting in the wheat and grapes is (from our historic memory) a small bird, a flicker which accompanied St. Thomas’ worship for years, punctuating the sermons of Fr. Bob Stuart. 

Stained Glass Dove

The descending dove in the Rose Window above is a symbol for the Holy Spirit in its preferred heraldic form. Bordering both windows is a Celtic chain, the links of which together proclaim the unity of the parts, the triune nature of God as we understand.  

 

The Seasons 

Stained Glass AdventAdvent  In the top field is the Great Scroll of Isaiah who prophesied the coming of the Messiah…. Immanuel. The scroll is the traditional symbol of Advent. In the central field is depicted the Annunciation, portrayed by the ‘monogram’ for Mary upon which the Angel Gabriel is shining down. The Fleur de Lis in the lower field is a symbol for the Holy Trinity, but is also used as a symbol for the Virgin Mary. Surrounding the whole is a border of lily of the valley depicting humility and characteristic of Mary and an appropriate response from us. 

Stained Glass Christmas

Christmas  The central field illustrates recognizable elements of the Incarnational Nativity; the Manger, shepherd’s crooks, palms and the Star of Bethlehem. IHS is a ‘sacred monogram’ for Jesus. The traditional symbol for Christmas, in the lower field, is the Glastonbury Thorn which traditional has that Joseph of Arimethea carried to England. The upper field is the Mystic Rose, a symbol for both the Virgin Mary and for Jesus. A border of holly envelopes the whole and signifies the passion of our Lord, Jesus Christ. 

Stained Glass Epiphany

Epiphany  The traditional symbol for Epiphany is the Star of Bethlehem in the top field. Recognizable in the central field are the Crowns and Gifts of the Magi. The travel of the kings from afar to worship the child Jesus offers a portent of the universal implications of the Messiah. Bulrushes (cattails), in the lower field, are symbolic “of the hope of salvation to the faithful” (Job8:11-13). This is also the season of Jesus’ baptism by John the Baptist. The border of daises, used in early sixteenth century painting, depicts adoration and innocence of the Christ child. 

Stained Glass Lent

Lent  With a foreknowledge of the events of Holy Week [not generally considered in Lent] and Christ Jesus’ sacrifice for us, Lent is a penitential and preparatory season. The Chalice (cup) and Cross (upper field) depict Gethsemane where Jesus retired with the disciples after the Last Supper. The Cross and Crown of thorns, in the central field, is the traditional symbol for Good Friday. The nails in the foreground of the cross symbolize “the Passion, the Crucifixion”, INRI meaning, “Jesus Christ, King of the Jews”, the palm branches, in the lower field, symbolize spiritual victory and remind us of Palm Sunday. A border of Iris symbolizes ‘earthly sorrow’ and “sorrow for the Passion of our Lord”. 

Stained Glass Easter

Easter  In the center field, against the rising sun of a bright Easter morning flies the Banner of Victory, symbolizing Christ’s triumph over sin and death. Lilies in the foreground symbolize purity. The pomegranate in the bottom field is the traditional symbol for Easter, symbolizing the ‘hope of immortality’ and of ‘resurrection’. Because of the unity of many seeds in one fruit, it is said to resemble the church. The butterfly (top field) signifies transformation, metamorphosis and rebirth. A border of laurel symbolizes ‘triumph’ (1Cor 9:24-27) and is suggestive of eternity. 

Stained Glass Pentecost

Pentecost  The olive branch, in the lower field and symbolizing peace, ushers in Pentecost. Following the Resurrection, when Christ came into the upper room, he said to his disciples “Peace be with you, as the Father sent me, I am sending you, Receive the Holy Spirit”. (John 20:21) The central field with dove and tongues of fire symbolizes the Power, Baptism and Gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is the traditional herald for Pentecost. The top field depicts the “Ship of Faith” spreading the “Good News” and embracing being sent out. The border of Columbine is said to resemble a dove and is a symbol for the Holy Spirit. 

 

The Memorial Gifts of each window were made in the loving memory of loved ones by individual members of Saint Thomas and are commemorated at each window by a memorial plaque. The Saint Thomas window was given to the Glory of God by the people of St. Thomas and the Rose window was given in the memory of Father Don Wilson. 

The concept and selections, with thanks to God for spiritual inspiration, was the project of the Stained Glass Committee with Barney Rolsma as chair and Johnathan Gerber, Judy Gilruth, Joan Guiness, Mary Kinney, Deacon Dolores Steele and Edith Wells as members and approved by the Vestry. 

The final design, renderings and execution are the product of Paul Pickell and craftsmen at Pickell Studios in Vero Beach, Florida. 

Credit was given to the work of W. Ellwood Post for his book Saints, Signs and Symbols published by Morehouse-Barlow: New York for the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine. 

*The study of church seasons is an interesting one. Their celebration has been different through time and in different times and locations. Its celebrated chronology has begun at different points during the year in different parts of the world. The current representation represents an approach as accepted by the western church-catholic. 

Descriptions prepared by Johnathan Gerber

 
 
 

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  • St. Thomas Episcopal Church
  • 5400 Belle Terre Parkway
  • Palm Coast, Florida 32137
  • United States
  • Phone: 386-446-2300
  • Fax: 386-446-2303
  • dollyb@stthomaspalmcoast.com