Tuesday, September 29, 2009

St. John's, Oak Harbor - the Windows

I was given a booklet written by Al Timler, the artist who designed these spectacular windows, describing them and giving an overview of the project to replace the original windows in the 1960's and 1970's. After the first of the windows were installed in 1967, the window project was put on hold while the focus was put on paying for a new organ. But once that was done, the windows again went front and center; and the final ones were installed in 1976, manufactured by City Glass Co. of Ft. Wayne. These include some scenes not often seen in church windows.

As you enter through the front door, you see these smaller windows, signifying the means of grace:

The ten clerestory windows (some not easy to draw a bead on, even from the front row of the balcony) depict various events in the life of Christ:

The Sermon on the Mount:
The wedding at Cana:
The baptism of Christ:
The child Jesus in the Temple:
The Crucifixion:
Christ before Pilate:
The Good Shepherd:
The Loaves and Fishes (detail closeups):
Christ healing the sick (detail closeups):
The four choir stall windows have a common theme of "Light", and pay tribute to Christian History, Education, Music, and Works of Mercy:

The Works of Mercy:
History (with a tribute to the Rev. George Cronenwett, a German Lutheran circuit pastor and leader who founded numerous churches in northwest Ohio):
Pentecost, west transept:
Ascension, west transept:
Christmas, east transept:
God's covenant to Abraham, east transept:The smaller aisle windows, that run along the arcades at the sides of the church, pay tribute to various Old and New Testament figures not often seen in church windows, as well as some early Reformation pioneers:
Okay, this next one was a bolt out of the blue -- the last thing I expected to see, at least outside of the Scandinavian strongholds of the upper Midwest. And I do understand that some Catholic historians may have a problem with this person being depicted in a church window. The historical facts here are that this Swedish king was a powerful defender of German Protestant forces under attack at the time, and also sent his country on the path to being the world power that it is today. It is also a sad, regrettable fact that the history of Christianity is bloody from those who attempted to force their definitions of the faith on others by means of the sword - and those who were instrumental in the defense against such attacks, even though they often became aggressors at the same time. I think we need to quit fighting the 500-year war, live in the here and now, and emphasize our common bond as followers of Christ, regardless of what definition of faith we use to do so.
The chancel windows, in the rounded apse above the altar (also not easy to focus on), depict the Holy Trinity:
The huge, ornate balcony window just has SO much going on! The central theme is the Resurrection:
Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome at the tomb:
The angel who rolled away the stone:
Jonah, of all people:
... and Adam with that fateful apple:
Stairwell windows:
In the sacristy:

Luther's seal ...
This wonderful window honoring the Eucharist:
These angels are in various places in the doorways, each with a different Biblical quote:
... and the side doors all show the Jerusalem cross.
My thanks again to St. John's in Oak Harbor, for being so hospitable and furnishing me with all the historical information that was so helpful in these features about their magnificent church!


  1. What fantastic windows! The brilliant colors and contemporary design are simply wonderful!

  2. Aren't they wonderful?! And if you like those - go here and look at Grace in Fremont Ohio. Best Lutheran church in this part of the state. Go top it.

    This one's going to take me til the end of the year to finish with!