St. Luke's Episcopal Church

Ypsilanti, Michigan

Category: History of St. Luke’s (page 2 of 2)

Devoted Members’ Window

The Devoted Members’ Window (Symbols of the Saints Window), given by the parish in thanksgiving for its members, depicts symbols of the saints:

  • St. Peter (Crossed Keys)
    • “And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” St. Peter is recognized as the first pope, and the symbol of keys is still used by the papacy.
      Matthew 16:18-19
  • St. James (Three Shells or Escallops)
    • Many medieval Christians made a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela in Spain, which was believed to have been visited by St. James. As a badge of their pilgrimage, they brought home sea shells from the nearby coast.
  • St. John (Poisoned Chalice with Serpent)
    • Early writers state that St. John was one served poisoned wine; he survived because he blessed the wine before he put it to his lips, and the poison rose from the chalice in the shape of a serpent.
  • St. Andrew (Twin Fishes)
    • St. Andrew was a fisherman before he followed Jesus. The diagonal cross was the instrument of his martyrdom.
  • St. Philip (Basket with a Tau Cross)
    • St. Philip is symbolized by the bread basket, because of his role in the feeding of the Five Thousand (John 6: 5-7: When he looked up and saw a large crowd coming toward him, Jesus said to Philip, “Where are we to buy bread for these people to eat?” He said this to test him, for he himself knew what he was going to do. Philip answered him, “Six months’ wages would not buy enough bread for each of them to get a little.”) The Tau cross was the means by which Philip was martyred.
  • St. Bartholomew (Flaying Knife)
    • St. Bartholomew is said to have been martyred by being skinned alive on the orders of the King of Armenia, so his symbol is a knife.

Quirk Windows

The Quirk Windows (Altar Windows), given in memory of Julia Trowbridge Quirk, is actually three lancet-shaped windows which contain symbols of the Four Evangelists or Gospel Writers as well as depictions of the Last Supper, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. The symbols of the Four Evangelists are often the winged creatures mentioned in the Book of Ezekiel as well as in the fourth chapter of Revelation:

  • St. Matthew (Winged Man)
  • St. Mark (Winged Lion)
  • St. Luke (Winged Bull)
  • St. John (Winged Eagle)

In these windows one sees the Blessed Virgin Mary and St. John the Beloved; the Apostles, as well as Judas the Betrayer, and the Roman soldiers, as well as our Lord at Supper and Our Lord as the Resurrected Christ.

As I looked, a stormy wind came out of the north: a great cloud with brightness around it and fire flashing forth continually, and in the middle of the fire, something like gleaming amber. In the middle of it was something like four living creatures. This was their appearance: they were of human form. Each had four faces, and each of them had four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the sole of a calf’s foot; and they sparkled like burnished bronze. Under their wings on their four sides they had human hands. And the four had their faces and their wings thus: their wings touched one another; each of them moved straight ahead, without turning as they moved. As for the appearance of their faces: the four had the face of a human being, the face of a lion on the right side, the face of an ox on the left side, and the face of an eagle; such were their faces. Their wings were spread out above; each creature had two wings, each of which touched the wing of another, while two covered their bodies.

Ezekiel 1:4-12

 

Around the throne, and on each side of the throne, are four living creatures, full of eyes in front and behind: the first living creature like a lion, the second living creature like an ox, the third living creature with a face like a human face, and the fourth living creature like a flying eagle. And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and inside. Day and night without ceasing they sing, “Holy, holy, holy, the Lord God the Almighty, who was and is and is to come.”

Revelation 4:6-8

Towner Window

The Towner Window (Six Apostles Window), memorializes the Towner Family who lived at 303 North Huron for over a century. These included Norman K. Towner and his wife, Jeannette A. Spencer, and their five children: Carrie L. Towner; Guy C. Towner; Anna H. Towner; Tracy Lay Towner; Laura M. Towner. The window depicts symbols of the saints in four medallions:

  • St. Anthony (Bell)
    • The order of monks founded by St. Anthony were allowed to let their pigs run free in medieval England, and tied bells around the pigs to identify them. The bell thus became a symbol of St. Anthony.
  • St. Catherine (Spiked Wheel)
    • St. Catherine was tortured on such a device (now known as a Catherine wheel); however, it broke and she was martyred by beheading instead.
  • St. Stephen (Deacon’s Vestments with Rocks)
    • Stephen is known as Stephen the Deacon, for his role in the early church. He was stoned to death (Acts 6:5-7:60).
  • St. Cecilia (Harp)
    • St. Cecilia is the patron saint of musicians; hence her symbol.
  • St. Boniface (Sword and Book)
    • St. Boniface was martyred by a band of robbers; he held up a Bible toward his attackers, one of whom stabbed him through its pages.
  • St. Augustine (Bishop’s Vestments)
    • St. Augustine was the first bishop in England.
  • St. Christopher (Lantern)
    • St. Christopher is said to have carried the Christ child over a raging river on a dark, stormy night; a hermit on the other bank held a lantern to guide him.
  • St. Lawrence (Gridiron)
    • St. Lawrence was martyred by being grilled alive over a fire.

Gustin Window

The Gustin Window (Benedicite Window), in memory of Jessie McClure Gustin (1872-1947), was given by her daughter, Mrs. Ferguson, and is based on The Book of Common Prayer Canticle, “Benedicite omnia opera Domini” (A Song of Creation) from the Song of the Three Young Men, 35-65, in the Apocrypha (The Book of Common Prayer, p. 47). The eight medallions contain symbols of the cosmic order (water, Sun and Moon, stars, lightning and clouds) and the Earth and its Creatures (mountains and hills, whales, fowls, and human beings).

O ye heavens, bless ye the Lord;
O ye waters that be above the firmament, bless ye the Lord;
O all ye powers of the Lord, bless ye the Lord;
Praise him and magnify him for ever.
O ye sun and moon, bless ye the Lord;
O ye stars of heaven, bless ye the Lord;
O ye showers and dew, bless ye the Lord;
Praise him and magnify him for ever.
O ye winds of God, bless ye the Lord;
O ye fire and heat, bless ye the Lord;
O ye winter and summer, bless ye the Lord;
Praise him and magnify him for ever.
O ye dews and frosts, bless ye the Lord;
O ye frost and cold, bless ye the Lord;
O ye ice and snow, bless ye the Lord;
Praise him and magnify him for ever.
O ye nights and days, bless ye the Lord;
O ye light and darkness, bless ye the Lord;
O ye lightnings and clouds, bless ye the Lord;
Praise him and magnify him for ever.

Moore Window

The Moore Window (Acts of Mercy Window) , in memory of Mary Conway Moore, 1844-1888, given by Mr. Jay Moore and Mrs. Minnie Thompson, and depicting the Seven Corporal Acts of Mercy from Matthew 25:31-46.

  • Feeding the hungry (bread and knife)
  • Giving drink to the thirsty (glass and pitcher)
  • Clothing the naked (coat)
  • Ransoming the captive (chains and manacles)
  • Sheltering the stranger (house)
  • Visiting the sick (basket of flowers)
  • Burying the dead (coffin, pick and shovel)
When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, and he will put the sheep at his right hand and the goats at the left. Then the king will say to those at his right hand, “Come, you that are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.” Then the righteous will answer him, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?” And the king will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” Then he will say to those at his left hand, “You that are accursed, depart from me into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not give me clothing, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.” Then they also will answer, “Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not take care of you?” Then he will answer them, “Truly I tell you, just as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to me.” And these will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.
Matthew 25:31-4

Stained Glass Windows

The ten magnificent memorial stained glass windows by Willets of Philadelphia were installed between 1945-1949 under the chairmanship of Daniel Lace Quirk, Jr., and Charles K. Lamb. They replaced earlier Victorian glass and were a mixture of painted and stained work.

Willets of Philadelphia was founded in 1898 in Pittsburgh and moved to Philadelphia in 1912 where it remains today.

William Willet (1867-1921) and his wife Ann Lee Willet did great pioneer work in the revival of traditional craftsmanship and the renewal of interest in medieval glass. In 1921, Henry Lee Willet (1899-1983) continued his father’s work. With his wife Muriel Crosby Willet and his children, E. Crosby Willet and Ann Willet Kellogg, he helped to revive medieval glass-making techniques in the United States.

There are other delightful, stained-glass windows in the Chapel and in a small anteroom off the narthex, but no history has yet been discovered about them. There is also a “Josephine Pease” window in storage. While little is know about it, the inscription is from Frederic Pease to the memory of his wife.

History

Episcopalians have worshipped in Ypsilanti for nearly two centuries. In the late 1820s missionaries preached to the area’s first settlers and Rev. Silas C. Freeman and Andrew Cornish founded St. James’s Church in 1830. The congregation held services in homes and the village hotel and was one of the six founding parishes of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan.

Despite its pioneering spirit, St. James’s soon faltered, and on February 13, 1837, the church reorganized as St. Luke’s. The new congregation acquired property on North Huron Street and began building a wooden structure for worship a year later. St. Luke’s grew quickly and soon boasted eighty communicants. With growth came the need for a larger, more permanent structure. In June 1858 the present sanctuary was consecrated. Designed by the Detroit firm of Anderson and Jordan, it cost $15,000 to build.

From its inception, St. Luke’s has stood for social justice and equality. African Americans have worshipped in the church since before the Civil War, and women have long been a vital core of the congregation. In 1863 female members organized a Parish Aid Society which funded missions well into the twentieth century .

For over a century the church has enjoyed a close relationship with Eastern Michigan University. Native American leader Andrew Blackbird worshipped at St. Luke’s when a student. In the 1880s university president John Mayhelm Barry Sill ministered to the congregation, donating the communion table that is still used to this day.

World War II brought new members and missions to St. Luke’s as the Willow Run Plant remade Ypsilanti into an industrial center. As the congregation grew, the church added the Church House in 1928 and the Parish House in 1955 which provided classrooms, kitchen, and theater. The current organ was installed in the 1940s, as were the stained glass windows, one of which commemorated the sacrifices of the congregation’s veterans.

The unrest of the 1960s and Ypsilanti’s deindustrialization presented new challenges for the congregation, but St. Luke’s has remained a vital house of worship. The church now welcomes an increasingly diverse population and, in 2001, appointed its first female rector. The mission work of the church has also expanded and now includes the EMU Campus Ministry and Ypsilanti Youth Theatre.

Sincere thanks to those that have written the more detailed portions of St. Luke’s History, including:

  • Valerie Kabat, primary author
  • Tom Dodd
  • Luther B. Moore, Where the Saints Have Trod
  • Marcia McCrary
  • Gerry Pety
  • Jasper Pennington
  • And at least one unknown historian
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