Above our front door towers one of the few remaining pieces of stained glass from the building as it was erected in 1930. This beautiful work of art, depicting Jesus and other beloved figures, originally stood behind the alter where all worshipers could see it during Sunday service.
When a fire destroyed much of the church in 1992, many pieces of stained glass were damaged or destroyed. A few of the smaller ones survived and remain where they stood. A few have been refurbished and auctions off at special event fundraisers for the church. But the largest, most beautiful was moved to the front of the church where it could serve as a reminder of our past, and a welcome to those yet to come.
After of the fire of 1992, the congregation decided to fill the new windows with a more contemporary style of stained glass, speaking to the life of the current church. Inside the new sanctuary, you’ll see many windows commissioned in 1993 for the rebuilt sanctuary. Each one tells a story about live within the church.
The table is set to welcome the stranger. There is a sense of an outdoor table giving the expectation of going out of the building to reach the community. The three trees represent the Oaks of Mamre where Abraham and Sarah entertained the three strangers, who were said to be angels. It shows us how we are called upon to show hospitality to strangers and to provide both spiritual and physical nourishment to the people in our community.
The Holy Meal is the greatest model of hospitality.
The simple drawings remind us of the importance of children in our ministry. A child’s self-portrait, a child’s depiction of the crucifixion, symbols of the environment and games and the hidden alphabet will hopefully create a sense of delight, exuberance and joy. Try to find all of the letters of the alphabet.
The drops of water represent the sacrament of Baptism. The red fire of the Spirit surrounds the drops. We believe that all should be baptized including children.
Depicted in this window are two hands of people of different races joining to represent the healing power of touch. The rosy cross in the corner depicts the ministry of our parish nurse and the Bread of Healing free clinic. The stick figures on the left illustrate our concern for the disabled. There is a ramp over the stairs illustrating that our church is accessible and it shows that we are called on to assist those who are physically challenged. There is a sense of broken lines that remind us of people suffering broken lives. There are also curtains depicted on the window. These remind us that there are people living behind curtains and closed doors that we also need to be ministered to. These people are often too sick, too sad or too afraid to come out.
The words spoken when this window was dedicated in 1997:
“We dedicate this window and ourselves to walking with persons with disabilities, people in recovery, ex-offenders, at-risk youth and old and all people who are hungering for meaning and wholeness.”
The Holy Spirit, symbolized by fire, gives us the will and power and energy to do the ministry of healing and all of our other ministries.
This window depicts an abstract map of the world. The paths reflect the ethnic heritage of the members of Cross – Laos, Countries of Africa, Central America, Haiti, Germany and the United States.
The upper window above the world map depicts the Universe: The Sun, moon, planets and the stars.
The world’s paths join together in the center window in an abstract map of Milwaukee along Lake Michigan. The left panel represents the German heritage of Cross Lutheran Church. The rainbow depicts the various ethnic groups coming together at Cross. It also depicts our ministry of inclusiveness.
Above Milwaukee is the New Jerusalem, the heavenly city of golden domes.
All the colors of the other windows join in a great circle dance. The uplifted arms of the congregation join with the angles and archangels as the Company of heaven praising our Savior and Lord.
The colors of the praise window ascend to the Throne of heaven. The great white arc extends beyond what we can imagine. The point of a golden star intersects the circle.
Our music comes from voices and instruments of many lands and cultures. It comes from the United States, especially from Spirituals and Gospel songs, from Lutheran Hymns, from Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Next stop on the tour: The Sanctuary!