When I said "Yes"
Little did I know where God would lead when I said“yes”. I had been asked to join the Building Committee and form a Stained Glass Window Committee at FCC to plan for a window in the new sanctuary we were building.
I said “yes” to the committee and “yes” to God with the fervent prayer that He would lead to a result that would honor Him. This was in 1977, and until 1981 we went through the most amazing process.
After forming a committee, the work began with prayer, research into congregational input, the type of material to use, the artist to design, and the studio to build and install.
The congregation submitted many ideas and artistic possibilities which were each considered carefully. We worked from the criterion that it must:
1. be a bold, uncomplicated statement,
2. be theologically sound,
3. reflect our chief purpose of existing as a church, (to know Christ and make Him known). Also, the many uses of the building needed to be considered; worship, weddings, memorials, concerts, children’s programs.
Every meeting was begun and ended with prayer for guidance and direction. Much time was spent considering biblical texts and to that end, we had input from Pastors and many in the congregation. As we can see today, the “Good Shepherd” was chosen with a sub theme of ”Living Water”.
Of the artists considered, Pat Haeger of San Jose was chosen. She has designed hundreds of stained glass windows for churches, commercial buildings and homes in the U.S.and Canada. Her work reveals an exceptional sensitivity to scripture and traditional symbols of Christian art. She suggested how the narrow windows on the sides could show the themes of the old and new testaments. Faceted glass was chosen. It is one inch thick slabs of antique glass which has been cut to the design, and faceted at the edges to capture light. It is set in epoxy and has structural strength.
The Hogan Studio of Santa Cruz, establishes in 1945, had worked with the artist before, and the owner was excited to be chosen to build and install our 31 windows. In case you have counted, there are four windows beyond the doors on the platform. They have less content, but were needed for the architectural design of the exterior of the building. The side windows each have a brass plaque underneath with the themes highlighted. There is also a brochure in the lobby which explains the content.
Now, forty years later as I look at the “Good Shepherd” window (John 10:11-16) each Sunday in worship, I see the representational post resurrection Christ offering living water to one of the sheep with the shadow of the cross above. It is part of my worship.
It was a hard assignment for a job that I knew nothing about in the beginning, but I grew in my faith as I trusted God to show the way. There were times when He redirected or encouraged as we sought guidance.
The lesson for me was, to be available when I hear God’s call or I would not know the blessing He has for me.
I am so grateful for the opportunity to experience that journey from saying “yes” to seeing God work through all of the people involved to the outcome we all have all these years later.
To learn more about the stories portrayed in the stained glass windows, read Phil’s story here: www.oaklandfcc.org/stories/phil-story.