If the people of First Wayne Street are our heart, then the church building is our body, and the stained glass windows are our jewels. There are six large panels of stained glass in the sanctuary – three panels in the chancel, behind the altar, and three panels in the west nave. The chancel windows tell key stories from the Old and New Testament, from the creation of the world to Christ’s Resurrection. The west nave windows tell the story of the Church, from Pentecost to the time when the windows were installed.
The stained glass windows at First Wayne Street were designed by the Willet Studios of Philadelphia. All of the windows were created by using a technique (new at the time) which harmonizes well with the more contemporary styles of church architecture. Brilliantly colored glass, usually an inch thick but sometimes up to two inches thick for special effects, is cut to the desired size, then the inner surfaces of certain pieces are chipped or faceted to enhance the design, adding a jewel-like quality. When all of the pieces of glass are finished and in position, a matrix of epoxy resin is poured around the pieces, holding them in place and forming a structural unit of great strength. The thickness of the glass creates a breathtaking radiance and complete purity of color that is beautiful to behold.
The windows are memorials to Mr. Howard Meid, Dr. Mahlon Miller and Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Needham, Sr.
(The 18 photos at the bottom of this page are close ups of particular parts of the windows, referred to by number in the descriptions below.)
The chancel windows
The three panels of the chancel windows, behind the altar, contain key scenes from the Bible, ranging from the creation of the world, at the bottom of the window, to Christ’s Resurrection, at the top.
The left panel
In bottom of the left panel, God’s hand reaches from heaven in benediction (Photo 1, below), having just placed the sun, moon, and stars in the sky and plant and animal life on the earth. Above that, a serpent rings a tree trunk (Photo 2), symbolically expressing the entrance of sin into the world. Noah’s Ark, under the rainbow (Photo 3), is above the serpent, and above the Ark are the Tablets of the Law given to Moses atop Mt. Sinai. At the top of the entire window is David’s harp.
The center panel
At the bottom of the center panel Isaiah kneels while his lips are touched by the seraphim to enable him to prophesy (Photo 4). His vision of the Messiah is symbolized by a chi rho, sacred monogram for Jesus Christ. Dominating this window at its center is Mary holding the Child, Jesus (Photo 5), while above the roof of the stable, the Star of Bethlehem shines. At the top, under the descending dove of the Holy Spirit, John baptizes Jesus in the Jordan River (Photo 6). John’s staff terminates in a cross lacking one arm because the Crucifixion had not yet occurred.
The right panel
At the bottom of the right panel is the chalice and bread of the Last Supper and the grapes and wheat that are the natural forms of these sacramental elements (Photo 7). Next above, Christ hangs on the cross (Photo 8). At the top is the Lamb of God emerging from the empty tomb, bearing aloft the banner of the victory of life over sin and death which symbolizes His Resurrection (Photo 9).
The west nave windows
The three panels of the west nave windows tell the story of the Church from Pentecost to the present. Unlike the chancel windows, which are arranged from bottom to top, the west nave windows radiate outward in related circles. At the top of the center panel, descending with brilliant red tongues of flame, is the dove of the Holy Spirit (Photo 10). In the upper left, you can see Stephen, the first Christian martyr, kneeling and being stoned while seeing a vision of Christ in heaven with God (symbolized by a triangle within a circle) (Photo 11). The upper right contains Saul (later Paul), who has fallen to earth on the road to Damascus (Photo 12).
The History of the Church
In the next circle, the history of the Church is told through the symbol of Augustine of Hippo (represented by a flaming heart transfixed by arrows)(Photo 13) to show the memory of his sins and an open book in the rays of the sun to show that ultimately he found truth and shaped the doctrine of the Church as the first Reformer. In the center panel, Francis of Assisi is shown preaching to the birds, a lamb and a wolf (Photo 14).
The Reformation begins with Luther on the right, nailing his ninety five theses on the door of the castle church at Wittenberg (Photo 15). His seal, a heart within a rose, is included. On the left (below Augustine), Calvin is shown by his seal, a heart on an outstretched hand. John Wesley appears below Calvin’s seal, shown at his hour of decision at when in a meeting in London he felt “his heart strangely warmed” (Photo 16). Francis Asbury is shown at the center as a pioneer circuit-rider (Photo 17), which was typical of the frontier clergymen who travelled through the wilderness carrying the Word of God from one small settlement to the next. Near Asbury’s horse, silhouetted in the matrix, is the stockade of the original fort of Fort Wayne. This was included because one of the first Methodists in this area had his office there.
At the bottom right is the scene of Methodist Unification in 1939 (Photo 18): Bishop Edwin Holt Hughes, representing the Methodist Episcopal Church, Bishop James H. Straughn, of the Methodist Protestant Church, and Bishop John M. Moore, of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, met with clasped hands. The scene also represents the uniting of Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren in 1968 into The United Methodist Church. The clasped white and brown hands symbolize reconciliation and brotherhood in Christ. In the background is the new building of the First Wayne Street United Methodist Church.