Second Reformed Church, Kalamazoo
When Second Reformed Church constructed its current building on Stadium Drive, the congregation chose a contemporary style stained-glass window design to match the modern architecture of the new church facility. The artistry and infusion of color that is the hallmark of the more traditional stained-glass church windows is eminently present in the beauty of our modern-style windows. Their kaleidoscopic colors provide a stunning backdrop to our sanctuary setting that enhances the reverence and peace of our praise and worship services. Designed by award-winning artist, Karel C. Dupre, a native of Veerle, Belgium, our sanctuary windows consist of five floor-to-ceiling windows, and one ceiling-mounted window.
Stained-glass windows always tell a story, and our windows are no exception. Here is the design explanation provided by the Willet Stained Glass Studios, Inc. of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania who fabricated the windows for us . . .
“The overall theme of the windows is light. God is the light of the world. The five side windows have been conceived as a whole, i. e., certain lines and shapes extend through more than one window. However, each window has its own sub theme. The pale hues enabling a great deal of daylight to enter and reflected color to reverberate underscores the overall theme.
Creation Window: The three primary colors, red, yellow and blue combine at the top of the window and contract into a white circle, which symbolizes the Creator who is the source of light. The beam from the source of light makes the earth visible as it is being created. A smaller white beam reaches up from the Creator and causes light on the stars.
Covenant Window: A rainbow stretches from the Creation Window into this one. When God made a covenant with Noah after the flood, he set a rainbow in the sky for a sign. Rising up from the end of the rainbow is the pillar of fire and cloud that guided the Israelites through the wilderness toward the Promised Land. Towering up in the center of the window, amid thunder and lightning, is Mt. Sinai. The light is on the top of the mountain and it represents the presence of the Lord coming from above in a beam of white light.
Redemption Window: At the center of the bank of five windows is Christ, the Light of the World. This figure is the least non-objective, the most recognizable form in all the windows. His halo shines with golden light, which extends downward toward a more abstract human figure. The gold turning red as it descends recalls that man is saved by the blood of Christ. His hands are extended in benediction over the human form, which kneels within a chalice as a symbol of purification drawn from Christ.
Church Window: In the upper part of the window is an unborn child. The child, before birth, walks in the dark. After birth, it will be baptized, made a member, in Christ, of the church. The child, as it grows, will then radiate his light among other people by doing good (helping hands), being just (scales), and charitable (heart), all at the bottom of the window. This propagation of conviction within a community is the Church, which is traditionally symbolized by a boat. Its sail circumnavigates the womb with the child as a continuous action of the Church. At the top of the window is the star (Christ) by which the ship is steered.
Eternal Life Window: This window is derived from the Book of Revelation. The golden temple rises all along the right side. Precious stones are incorporated into its foundation. It is the glory of God that provides all light for the Holy City. The plaques, an angular red shape, are collected together. There are two books in the window. In the middle is the golden book, the Book of Life, where the names of the blessed are inscribed. At the bottom, in purple, is an empty book cover containing the snake, which symbolizes the list of those not entered in the golden book.
This collection of windows is located on the north wall of the sanctuary. While a picture is worth a thousand words, the best "picture" is to see these windows in their actual setting.
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The Holy Spirit Window (Ceiling Window): Because of the distance of the viewer from the window on the exterior, and because no one will see the window while seated in the congregation, a single symbol of larger scale is used. The window is colored more heavily in order to get a ply of colored light on the wall. The Holy Spirit is represented by a dove in a swirl of fiery tongues. Seven candlesticks represent the seven churches mentioned in Revelation."
This window is actually best seen at night. You can see it lit up as you travel east on Stadium Drive or when you pull into our parking area for an evening service.
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Photos courtesy of Willet Hauser Architectural Glass, Inc./Associated Crafts.