by Chris Knauss, The Star Democrat
February 22, 2009
Watching workmen install the new stained glass window at St. Mark's United Methodist Church, the Rev. Gary Moore couldn't help but be overwhelmed by the vision before him.
The "Christian Service Window" installation this week in the church's new chapel represents the culmination of a well-traveled collaboration between Moore and lay leader Jim Denny. "It really doesn't get any better than this," said Moore. "For me, it's like you're watching the first day of creation unfold because you've got all of this beauty, artistry that you're able to see because of light. It transforms the room. It transforms your own spirit as you watch it, and as you imagine what's going to take place in here for the next 100 years and all the folks that are going to see that and respond to that."
Moore, the church's senior pastor, and Denny,began researching the design and construction of the window in August 2007. The final design represents Jesus' service to man, the history of Methodism and its arrival in Easton, service providers of today, and the iconic industries of the Eastern Shore.
The two men visited many churches and were leaning toward a twowindow system, but that changed when they toured The Church of Pilgrims in Washington, D.C.
Writing about the visit, Jim said, "When we entered the balcony area, the window we saw held us both in awe. The imposing figure of Christ filled our hearts and as we "read the window," which was about service and included Jesus' words in Matthew 25:35.36. This window represented everything any church should aspire to provide. I turned to Gary and said, 'We have found our window.' He immediately agreed."
While the overall design is based on The Church of Pilgrims window, many local features make the St. Marks' window one of a kind.
Moore suggested the flow of Methodism from England to Easton be depicted in the window's top panels. The panels include Susanna Wesley, the mother of Methodism, and her son John Wesley, the founder of Methodism in England. Francis Asbury, Wesley's missionary to America, also is portrayed, as is Joseph Hartley, the first Methodist minister to preach in Easton.
One detail depicts Hartley's jail stay in Easton. Holding a small illustration of the window, Denny said Hartley "was jailed for preaching without a license. He was licensed in Delaware, so he didn't know he needed a license in Maryland. He preached the gospel from the jail windows and down here is a little picture of Easton's jail wall. One of the town founders at that time saw that he was gathering all these people and converting them into Methodism and he said, 'We have to let him out of jail before he converts the whole town.'"
The window's other themes include Youth, Family, Missions, Faith, Love, and Hope. Local industry is represented by a tractor and a skipjack.
"We put the tractor under Faith because when you plant seeds in the ground you have faith that it's going to come up and multiply," said Denny. "We put Hope over the sailboat because when you go fishing you always hope you're going to catch something."
Public servants illustrated include a doctor, a fireman, the church's current Youth and Family Minister Darlene Dixon. Moore, retired from the Delaware National Guard, is presented in a military uniform.
"We have the firemen representing all the service people in uniform because he's a very recognizable figure," said Denny.
The window was produced by Willet Hauser Architectural Glass, based in Philadelphia.
Looking at the window's installation, Denny thought ahead to the generations of people who would appreciate the illuminating work of art.
"I see in this window every mission of St. Mark's Church and its value to the community, and of course its value to the congregation and the fact that it's going to be here forever."