An important part of our church are the stained glass windows of Angelica. The information below was prepared by Angelica member Kip Flood before he was called to be with the Lord. He always wanted this information completed for the enjoyment of all members and visitors. Now we thank God for the gifts He gave to us through Kip Flood’s participation and contribution to the life of Angelica Lutheran Church. This information can also be used as a written guided tour of our church.
When people come to Angelica, whether to worship, visit, attend a meeting or special function, they have a choice of several entrances into the church, parish hall, and office area. Two of these entrances face Park Avenue, two face Leslie, and one faces Niver Street.
The entrances from the parking lot
One can enter the church building through two entrances on the parking lot side of the building. These main entrances feature canopies that are very helpful and protective, especially in rain or snow.
The entrance closer to Park Ave leads directly into the Narthex.
In these two doors are two symbols that show Greek letters. They look like a miniature table and a horseshoe.
They really are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. They are the ALPHA and OMEGA windows. They remind us that Christ is the beginning and end of life and this symbolism is based on Revelation 1:8.
The entrance closer to Niver Street provides access to the offices, meeting rooms, fellowship hall, and educational facilities of the church.
The Park Avenue entrance doors
People attending any of our worship times can also find easy access to the church through the original entrance on Park Avenue. As one approaches those front doors one can see the invitation carved in stone above the front door, “Come, let us adore Him.” This sums up the purpose of all times of worship, namely, the adoration of Jesus Christ.
In the two Park Avenue front doors one will notice the significant symbols. One will see two identical symbols that are done in red on a blue stained glass background. They are called FLEUR-DE-LIS. The fleur-de-lis is a symbol for the Trinity because of the three divisions: each representing one Person of the Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This immediately identifies our church as one that believes in the Trinity. We Lutherans believe and confess there are three distinct Persons (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) in one divine essence (God). We believe each Person is separate and is equal to the other, yet there is only one God.
As one moves through the entire church interior, one will see many detailed symbols. These are pictures, or drawings, that are used to express the various teachings and confessions of our church. Some are in leaded, stained glass windows, an art developed by Christian’s churches in the past generations in Europe, especially in Germany and Italy.
As one enters the building from Park Avenue or from the entrance from the parking lot near Park Avenue, one steps into the area called the NARTHEX. This is the vestibule – a wide one – across the front end of the church and separate from the Nave. The Narthex provides space for greeting visitors, fellowship, and an area for coat racks. The narthex is equipped with speakers for listeners to hear the service in that area.
As one enters the church from the parking lot entrance near Park Avenue one should notice the four sections of stained glass on the right side.
The first section of the window is called the TRINITY window as it has the symbol in the form of a triangle. The triangle is one of the most popular symbols of the Holy Trinity. Each side of the triangle represents one Person of the Godhead. One line represents the Father, another – the Son, and the third – the Holy Spirit. Each line is equal forming an equilateral triangle. The circle indicates the eternal nature of the Trinity.
The TRINITY window proclaims the fact that we are a church that believes that God is three Persons in one divine essence, who has created us, saved us, and brings us to faith.
Adjacent to the Trinity window is the LUTHER COAT OF ARMS window which is a reminder that we are a Lutheran church that preaches and endeavors to practice the doctrine set forth by The Bible, God’s Word as explained by Dr. Martin Luther. The coat of arms has become the symbol of the Lutheran Church. It is a cross upon a red heart from which extend golden rays. This is placed upon a five petaled, white rose on a field of blue, surrounded by a golden circle. The cross stands for the suffering sacrifice of our Lord. The red heart is for the faith of the believer, a faith that produces joy, comfort, and peace indicated by the white rose. This is all the beginning of heavenly joy indicated by the field of blue, and surrounded by the golden ring of eternity showing salvation endures forever.
The next window includes the window for HOLY MATRIMONY. The symbol is a reminder that God brings the husband and wife together for love for life. The cross (symbol of the Savior) signifies His blessing on the two rings (emblems of the marriage vows). The candles symbolize the light of the new home. The colors have the background of the shield – white; the border, the cross, and the flames – red; and the rings – gold.
Adjacent to this is the window of HEAVEN that reminds us Christians of our final destination and eternal joy with our Lord. It is symbolized by the crown of glory, the palms of victory, and the stars of heaven. The colors are usually shown with the outline of the symbol, the rays and the stars in gold; the background – a heavenly blue; the palms – green; the crown – gold; and the jewels in it – red.
To the right of the Park Avenue entrance is the ST. JOHN window. It has the EAGLE as the symbol for John, because the early Christians said the Gospel of John soared on eagle’s wings from the beginning to the end.
On the left of the Park Avenue entrance is the ST. LUKE window. This symbol is a WINGED OX. In the Old Testament the oxen were sacrificed. Luke teaches us that Jesus was the Great Sacrifice for us. The ox reminds us of this. The wings tell us that Jesus rose from the dead after His sacrifice and lives forever. Luke was an evangelist and one of the Gospel writers. This symbol is used because his Gospel gives us the fullest account of Christ’s sacrificial death on our behalf.
At the north end of the Narthex is the ANCHOR OF FAITH window.
In the upper left hand corner is a LAMP. This is the symbol for the Bible, God’s Word. It is a reminder that God’s Word lights up our paths and shows us the way to eternity.
To the right is the symbol of a SHIP. The ship is a symbol for the Church. It reminds us that Jesus is with us even in the troubled storms of life and He brings comfort to calm the storms.
In the lower left hand corner is the symbol of a TORCH. It is a symbol for the Gospel and for enlightenment, a reminder that God gives the Church the Gospel to spread to other people.
On the lower right side is an ANCHOR, the symbol of HOPE. Since the Church really is a ship, it needs an anchor. The anchor holds the ship firm in the storm. Christ is our anchor of hope to hold us firm in our faith. The symbol is based on Hebrews 6:19.
The Nave Windows
As one moves forward to the front of the Nave one becomes aware that they are surrounded by stained glass windows. The windows were designed for Angelica to symbolize the Seasons of the Church Year. The use of symbols in the arts of the church are to stimulate further study for all Christians.
Looking to the left as one faces the altar the ADVENT window is seen. This is the first Season of the Church Year when Christians prepare for celebration of Christmas. A ceremony used during this season is the lighting of candles on an Advent wreath, an additional candle for each of the four Sundays. In the window this wreath encircles the staff of John the Baptist. Jesus’ baptism by John in the Jordan River took place when Jesus was an adult at the beginning of His ministry. However, the event of John prophesying the coming of the Messiah is read before Christmas. The upper section of each window contains a different cross that also symbolizes the Season. The TAU CROSS (T-Shaped) is known as the Old Testament cross or the cross of prophecy. It is associated with Moses’ staff raised in the wilderness to heal the Children of Israel (John 3:14). It is similar to John’s staff which terminates in a cross lacking one cross arm to show that the crucifixion had not yet occurred.
Christmas is shown by a Chi Rho (XP), Greek initials for Christ, standing in a manger flanked by shepherds’ crooks. The Crux Ansata is the CROSS OF LIFE. It is used for Christmas to show the Messiah is born. This cross has a pre-Christian origin.
Many times the wise men are shown at the manger of the newborn Christ. This is not the main point of the Epiphany Season. The manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles is the theme. Wise men or Magi followed a star, which led them to Bethlehem. They were probably astrologers; a study of the stars and planets which connected meaning to life here on earth. Three gifts are mentioned in the Bible but not three visitors. Later tradition made them kings, gave them names, and often shows them of various races. This further emphasizes that Christ came to all people, not just to the Jews. The EPIPHANY CROSS is made up of four crosses and represents the four corners of the earth. The symbols of Lent are in the Cross in the Chancel wall and will be described later.
Standing directly in the center of the aisle of the Nave and looking to the right as one faces the altar, one will see the EASTER window. Your eyes will see what appears to be a strange creature. It is the picture of a bird called phoenix. The phoenix is an old symbol for resurrection. The ancients thought that this mythical bird, instead of dying when old, set fire to its nest and rose rejuvenated from the flames. The Easter symbol in this window combines the phoenix with the sunrise, the empty tomb and the banner of the victory of life over sin and death. The cross is THE EMPTY CROSS draped in a winding sheet.
The middle window on the right side is known as the ASCENSION window. Jesus’ ascension into Heaven, which is celebrated 40 days after Easter, is shown here by a Chi Rho seated on a heavenly throne which is flanked by martyrs’ palms. The triumph of Christianity is inherent in the CROSS ENCIRCLED BY A CROWN.
The last window on the right side can be easily seen by its brilliant red color and is the PENTECOST window. After the Ascension on the Festival of Pentecost when the faithful were gathered in an upper room, they experienced the coming of the Holy Spirit with the sound of a rushing wind, and flames of fire illuminating each face. These flames, seven are shown, symbolize the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit – blessing, glory, wisdom, thanksgiving, honor, power, and might (Revelation 7:12). The origin of the tradition of the dove as a symbol for the Holy Spirit is in the account of Christ’s baptism. The TRIPARTED CROSS is a rather obscure Trinity symbol. In this version the central members end in flame shapes.
Left Transept Windows
Before the worshiper enters the area of the Chancel, one should take note of the stained glass windows located in the left transept area. On the left side are the 2 long-slit windows with the symbol of the harp reminding us to praise God in song. The other window has the Bible, a reminder to each one of us of God’s Word. The open Bible is the symbol of the Word of God that endures forever.
The left transept also has the ST. MARK window. It is located directly behind the console of the pipe organ. The symbol is a winged lion. The lion as king of beasts represents the royal character of Christ. The Gospel of Mark opens with the description of the voice of one crying in the wilderness.
The Right Transept Windows
The right transept is graced with the 2 symbols of the Means of Grace. The left symbol is the symbol for Holy Baptism. The shell is used for the Sacrament by which faith is created in the heart of the baptized. Three drops of water indicate Baptism “in the Name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit.” The color of the shield is heavenly blue; the shell and the drops are gold.
The symbol on the right is for the Lord’s Supper. This symbol is a picture of grapes. On the occasion of the Lord’s Supper, Jesus instructed His disciples to eat the bread and to drink the wine receiving His true body and blood as a guarantee for the forgiveness of sins. The grapes are deep red on a background of blue.
The right transept also has the ST. MATTHEW window. The symbol is a winged man. The Gospel according to Matthew begins with the human ancestry of Christ.
The Chancel has been designed to draw the attention of the worshiper to the focal point of all our worship. This is the altar and the cross. In Lutheran teaching, salvation is offered by the Lord to sinful people, and the greatest need is the cross of Jesus Christ. It was on the cross He died to make complete and perfect payment for all sinners for all time.
The stained glass cross window located in the wall of the Chancel is called the PASSION window and symbolizes our Lord’s suffering during Holy Week. It has 7 symbols which tell the story of our Lord’s Passion on our behalf. Each symbol is placed on a shield with red background.
At the very top is the symbol of the CHALICE AND CROSS. This is the symbol for Christ’s agony in the Garden of Gethsemane
In the left arm one can see the symbol of a CROWING ROOSTER. It reminds the worshiper of Peter’s denial at the palace of the High Priest and the complete trial of Jesus before Caiaphas.
In the right arm of the cross is a LANTERN. It is the symbol of the betrayal by Judas in the Garden as recorded in John 18:3.
In the bottom section of the cross, the lowest level, is the symbol know as the PILLAR and the SCOURGES. They are representative of the trial of Christ before Pilate and of His condemnation. John 19:1 records that Pilate took Jesus and had Him scourged.
Moving up the cross toward the area where the bar crosses, but directly below the joining spot, is the symbol called the BASIN and the EWER (a large-mouthed jug). They symbolize the act of Pilate washing his hands in an effort to remove his guilt of condemning Jesus to death by crucifixion.
Directly where the bars of the cross intersect are several more symbols.
One is the CROWN OF THORNS. This symbol needs little explanation, for it is the grim reminder of the thorns that pierced Jesus skull. Interwoven are the NAILS – symbol of the nails used to fasten Jesus to the wooden beams. Prior to the 13th century four nails were included. From the 13th century on, only three nails are used in this symbol.
The letters – I N R I – indicate the Latin inscription of the sign Pilate had placed on the cross over Jesus. The letters abbreviate the words, “Iesus, Nazarenus Rex Iudaeorum”, which translated into English means, “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.’ It was written in Hebrew, Latin and Greek. The chief priests said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘King of the Jews!’, but ‘This man said he was the king of the Jews.’ Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”
The Balcony Wall Window
As the worshiper turns to face the rear of the Nave one’s eyes should notice the 3 stained glass windows in the balcony wall.
The left is the window called JESUS AND THE CHILDREN. It reminds us of Jesus’ love for all children and His urging to bring them up in His nurture.
To the right is the window called the FORGIVENESS window which depicts Jesus’ action of love in forgiving the fallen woman.
Directly in the middle of the balcony window is the GOOD SHEPHERD window. The worshiper sees Christ as the Good Shepherd. He is reminded that he does not need to worry about anything in life or fear anything in death. The Good Shepherd surrounds us with His love and care. Goodness and mercy shall follow us all the days of our lives and we shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.