Story of the Chalice Stained Glass Window
Written by: Anita Gosney, Church Historian
The First Christian Church’s Chalice Stained Glass window located up in the south end of the Christian Life Center (CLC) was the result of a promise.
The promise was made to church members attending the early morning praise service in the CLC.
When Lyman Hannah was attempting to raise money for the restoration of the stained glass windows in the church’s sanctuary, he said that if they would support the effort to restore the church’s stained glass windows, and we were successful in securing enough donations for half of the amount needed for the restoration, he would see that the clear glass window in the south end of the CLC was replaced with a stained glass window.
In a few weeks, the generous donations of church members approached the goal, and Lyman realized that he was indeed going to have to come up with a stained glass window for the CLC.
He started by searching the internet looking at stained glass window designs. None of the designs found on the internet met with his approval, but he decided that since the red chalice with the white Saint Andrew’s cross was the Disciples of Christ’s icon, it would have to be the focal point of the design for the stained glass window for the Christian Life Center.
With the chalice as the focal point of the window design, the next problem was to determine the size of the existing clear glass window that was to be replaced. It only looked to be a couple of feet in diameter, but an accurate dimension was needed for the design.
After two failed attempts to get an extension ladder long enough to reach up to the existing window for an accurate measurement from inside the CLC, Rick and Truman Reith climbed onto the roof and measured the window from the outside. The window opening measured 49.5 inches in diameter. It was much bigger than it looked from inside the CLC.
With the size of the window determined, it was time to sit down at the computer and develop the design for the stained glass window.
It was felt that the chalice should stand out because it was filled with Christ’s blood with the power of God behind it. If you look closely at the chalice in the window, it appears to be closer to you than the remainder of the window. There is power in the word of God, and this power is represented by the circle of light behind the chalice. The power is most visible when the sunlight strikes the window and the chalice is projected onto the wall or floor of the CLC.
You can follow the chalice’s image as it moves down the west wall in the morning, across the floor during mid-day and up the east wall in the afternoon. God’s word is the light of the world, and his word is to be spread throughout the universe bringing light to the darkest corners of the world. The spreading of the word of God throughout the universe is represented in the window by the golden spears radiating out from the power of God behind the chalice.
Since the “Word of God” is golden and is not spread uniformly throughout the world, the spears spreading the word are of varying shades of gold. The blue circle being penetrated by the spears represents the sky that surrounds the earth. The triangles of alternating shades of green were meant to reflect the earth in all of its variability. The outer ring is made up of bluish-purple triangles.
Purple or blue represents royalty or important people and is used to represent “God’s People” or the “Disciples of Christ.”
With the design of the Chalice Stained Glass window complete, it was time to consider the construction of the stained glass window and its supporting frame. Lyman sought the counsel and advice of Ray and Pat Cook who had previously worked with stained glass. Ray suggested, considering the size of the proposed window, that we should seek the assistance of a stained glass window professional that he had worked with before.
So Lyman, Claudeen, Ray, and Pat made a trip to Lee’s Summit, MO to a stained glass shop. They looked at various glass samples and selected colors that were appropriate for the design and were advised that a stained glass window of the size being proposed would have to be reinforced with steel bars or it would collapse due to its own weight, which would be significant.
The feeling that steel reinforcement bars would spoil the design meant that the design would need to be modified to incorporate the reinforcement into the design. Not being satisfied with the design after the reinforcement modifications, Lyman sent the original design to Gene Higgins, owner, and CEO of Epiphany Studios in Fort Royal, Virginia, for his suggestions.
Mr. Higgins liked the design and had some suggestions for its reinforcement and the framing for the window that would strengthen the window and not detract from the design. Since Epiphany Studios was restoring the FCC’s other stained glass windows, he agreed to make the window, deliver it and install it since they would be making the trip back to Warrensburg when the restoration work was complete.
The new chalice window was installed on the 24th day of August in 2017 at a cost of $5,187.46, which was anonymously donated by a church family. The picture shows the window in place with the technicians moving the reinforced glass cover in place. The worker in the orange shirt is Gene Higgins, owner of Epiphany Studio. He was extremely proud of the window and wanted to make sure the installation was completed to his satisfaction.
Upon completion of the installation, he said,
“It is fantastic, to me, the design represents that through Christ we are to go out into the world and preach the Gospel.”