St. John's Stained Glass Windows


     Since Medieval times, churches have used stained glass windows as a visual medium to communicate spiritual truths, to visually depict the Bible, and to help worshipers feel the grandeur and presence of God, celebrating His glory.

   St. John's is blessed with stained glass windows along the sides of the Nave, chancel windows above the altar, two small, beautiful windows in the Narthex, a large circular window above the doors from Nave to Narthex, and the magnificent large window in the Narthex, culminating a central motif of our Lutheran faith which is visible from the front of the church.


   The 10 large windows in the Nave were made by the Payne-Spiers Studio of Patterson, N.J. between 1951 and 1954. George Leslie Payne (1873-1979) and George Spiers (1904-1974) used Tiffany glass making techniques.  Our wonderful windows compare with perhaps a dozen churches in the U.S. with Payne-Spiers windows.

   The large Narthex window was installed with the 1972 building addition.


   Each window tells a unique and individual story.  Thanks to Katrina Austin's research and her written history and description of our windows, we're able to present those stories here. 

Click the window images below to learn more.


thumb Window 4 thumb Window 5 Window 3 Window 2 Window 1

              Narthex                            Nave North Side                                Chancel

           Window Narthex     SJLC 1EWindows Altar

               Circular window detail                               Nave South Side


              Narthex 2 window detail               thumb Window 6 thumb Window 7 thumb Window 8 thumb Window 9 thumb Window 10




Sacrifice and Covenant

The gray flames on an altar in the left window stand for sacrifice.

The Ark of the Covenant in the right window was carried at the head of the procession at the time Moses led the people out of Egypt to the Promised Land.

The angels on top of the ark symbolize God’s messengers.

 Window 1 detail



Law and Gospel

   On the left is a serpent on the Greek letter Tau. This is also called the Cross of Healing, or the Cross of Prophecy and is the symbol of the crucifixion. As Moses put the serpent on the cross to heal the Israelites, so Jesus died on the cross to heal the sins of mankind.

   The right window shows the Ten Commandments on top of Mt. Sinai.

Window 2 detail



Peter and Paul

    In the left window are two keys bound together representing Peter. In Matthew 16:19 Peter is given the “keys to the Kingdom” symbolic of the authority of the church.

   The right window has a sword as the symbol of Paul as the persecutor of the early Christians and the open Bible refers to his conversion.

Window 3 detail



Matthew and Mark

Matthew’s symbol is a winged man as his Gospel deals mostly with man.

Mark’s symbol is a lion for the strength and character of his writings.

The symbols are taken from Ezekiel 1:5-11 and Revelations 4:7.

Window 5 detail



Luke and John


   Luke's symbol is the winged ox. His Gospel emphasizes the sacrifice and atonement of the Savior.  John’s symbol is the winged eagle, which can soar to the throne of grace.  The symbols are taken from Ezekiel 1:5-11 and Revelations 4:7.

 Window 4 detail



The Promise of Eternal Life


   The flaming chariot in the left window is a symbol of eternal life, referencing Elijah being lifted into heaven on a flaming chariot rather than dying here on earth.

   The right window has a cross and crown symbolizing Christ’s victory over suffering and death. The empty cross stands for the resurrected Christ and the crown for Christ as the King of Kings. Together with the blue rays, they symbolize the hope of the faithful, eternal life.

Window 10 detail




   The left window shows a butterfly which is another symbol of the resurrection.
The 3 stages of a butterfly’s life correlate to the 3 stages of a human life;
the larva as mortal man, the chrysalis
as the body in the grave, and the butterfly
as Christ’s victory over death.

   The right window has a Latin style cross Fleurie radiating purple beams. The cross
stands for suffering, the purple beams for royalty, and the open buds
on the cross
for a mature Christian. The jewel in the center of the cross represents the cross in glory.

Window 9 detail



The Sacraments

Baptism is symbolized by the scallop shell used in the early days for scooping water.
The 3 streams of water coming from the shell represent the Holy Trinity.

The right window pictures the elements of the Lord’s Supper, unleavened bread and wine in the chalice.
Three 3 golden rays representing the Holy Trinity are shown.

Window 8 detail



Holy Spirit and Church


On the left, the descending dove represents the Holy Spirit and presence of God as it hovered over Jesus at this baptism. The 3 rayed nimbus stands for the Holy Trinity.

The right window references Matthew 16:18, as Jesus states his church will be built on sold rock, not sinking sand so that nothing can destroy it, not even storms or water. 

 Window 7 detail




 The left window contains a closed book representing the book of seven seals, or the book
of secrets
from Revelation. The lamp on top of it is the lamp of knowledge to light our way
and give us understanding.

The opened book represents the span of time from Alpha to Omega, beginning to end.
The star represents Jesus as the bright morning star (Rev, 2:28) over the open book,
giving understanding
and guidance. The 3 rays represent the Holy Trinity.


Window 6 detail





The center window of Jesus on the cross reminds us that God gave his son to die for us on the cross to forgive our sins. Above Jesus’ head is the sign INRI – “Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews.” At the sides of Jesus are a cross, a crown, and an Easter lily. At the foot of the cross is the Lamb of God with a victory banner. The lamb is lying on the scroll with the seven seals. The eight-pointed red star behind the lamb symbolizes mankind’s regeneration through Christian baptism.

The left window is the Mother Mary, who came to be with her son when he was crucified. Above her head is a Fleur-de-lis symbolizing purity. To the left is the star of Bethlehem. At her feet is a heart pierced with a sword as Simeon prophesied in Luke 2:33 that Mary, too, would experience agony.

On the right is John, who also was with Jesus at the cross. While he was there, Jesus asked him to take care of his mother, Mary. The eagle, John’s symbol, is above his head and a chalice and wafer at his feet, signifying how close John was to Jesus during his last days.

Beneath the three windows are the words: For thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory.

Windows Altar



Narthex Window

   It is fitting that the central motif of the narthex window is the resurrected Christ dressed in a colorful robe and holding a banner which symbolized his victory over death. He is standing on a globe representing the earth and symbolizing that he is Lord over all the earth.

   Immediately beneath Christ is Martin Luther holding an open Bible symbolizing the centrality of the Word in the Christian life and the ministry of the Church.

   There are fourteen figures of persons in the two side panels illustrating Luther’s preaching of the Christian vocation. Luther taught that every Christian has a vocation in life because God has called him to lay his whole life on the altar of dedication. God has given each person particular talents that he might serve others in Christ’s name. The left panel top to bottom has a teacher and pupil, a musician, a carpenter, male and female students, and a soldier. The right panel top to bottom has a physician, a business man, a mother and child, a nurse with an elderly man in a wheel chair, and a farmer.  Other forms of work are illustrated by the following symbols: spinning wheel, trowel and brick, dust pan and brush, and pick and shovel.

   In addition to the figure of Christ, there are also symbols representing God the Father (all Seeing Eye and hand extended downward) and the Holy Spirit (descending dove).

 Window Narthex



Round Window


   Over the entrance to the nave is a circular Rose Window which features a Luther Rose in the center. This seal, designed by Martin Luther, has become the primary emblem of the Lutheran Church.


Circular window detail

   The Rose features a central black cross (for faith in Christ crucified) imposed on a red heart (for faith in the Saviour) imposed on a white rose (to show that faith causes joy, consolation and peace) imposed on a blue sky (to denote that such joy of faith in the spirit is the beginning of heavenly joy to come) surrounded by a golden ring (to signify that such bliss in heaven is endless).

   This lovely window was on an outside wall when the sanctuary was built. The original narthex was small and opened to outside staircases, with a roof that stopped below the Rose Window allowing it to be sun-lit like all the others. At the time of the 1972 expansion when the Education Wing was built, the narthex was improved and its ceiling was raised. The two small windows in the narthex now were once on opposite side walls of the original narthex, but when the addition was made they were moved and placed side-by-side. The expansion created a wonderful location for the magnificent narthex window we now have, but left the Rose Window in perpetual twilight.



Small Narthex Windows

    The window on the left with the snake in the cup is called “John, as an Apostle.”

According to the early writers, John once drank from a poisoned chalice and was unharmed. Jesus had once said that John should drink of His cup. The red stained glass in this window stands for resurrection.

   The small window to the right is called “The Winged Creature with an Eagle’s Head.”

The emblem of John is the high soaring eagle because in his narrative he rises to lofty heights in dealing with the mind of Christ. The eagle is standing behind a flaming caldron.

Windowm small narthex left   Windowm small narthex right

   At the time of the 1972 expansion, these two small windows were on opposite side walls of the original narthex, but once the addition was completed, they were moved and placed side-by-side.

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