The tall, stained glass window at the back of the chapel is the World Christian Fellowship Window. Twenty feet high and eight feet wide, with over 9,000 pieces of glass, it was created by the D'Ascenzo Studios in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The window commemorates the presence of the Holy Spirit in the original upper room twenty centuries ago. But more than that event, the window depicts the work of servants of Christ who have been empowered by the Holy Spirit down through the centuries since Pentecost.
The World Christian Fellowship Window was dedicated on Pentecost Sunday, May 17, 1959, six years after the opening of The Upper Room® Chapel.
Saint Augustine 354-430 Omitting the Apostle Paul, this Bishop of Hippo in North Africa may be credited with having lead Christian thinking more powerfully than any other.
Francis of Assisi (1182-1226) founded the Franciscan Order of the Roman Catholic Church. Born the son of a rich cloth merchant in the Italian town of Assisi, Francis lived an affluent and carefree life until he was twenty. He fought in the army in a border dispute between Assisi and Perugia in 1202. There he was taken prisoner and held captive for a number of months. He was seriously ill when he was released and returned to Assisi. During this time he became dissatisfied with his affluence and gained a new appreciation for the gift of life and the wonder of God's creation.
Around 1208, while worshipping in the church of the Portiuncula, Francis heard the scripture read in which Jesus bids his disciples to leave all and follow him (Matthew 10:5-15). Francis took this as a personal call and discarded his shoes and rich clothes for a plain brown garment girded by a cord. Francis and the band of followers he attracted followed a simple rule of life, ministering to lepers and the poor.
The Franciscan Order was recognized by Pope Innocent III in 1210. A similar order for women was founded by St. Clare in 1212. Francis died in 1226 and was canonized a saint two years later.
In this window Francis is shown wearing the simple robe of his order. The birds on the branch in front of him symbolize his love and appreciation for all of God's creation.
Martin Luther 1483-1546 Chief builder of the Protestant way, with his conviction on the authority of the Scripture and justification (or salvation) by faith, not works. A German monk, he broke decisively with the Church of Rome in 1517-1520 on the basis of profound and life-shaking experience..
Roger Williams (1603?-1683?) was an English Puritan clergy person. He objected to restrictions on religious liberty in early Massachusetts and fled south in 1636 to establish Providence Plantation. He was one of the founders of Rhode Island. In 1639 he helped establish the first Baptist church in America, but he soon left it to become a "seeker." Williams was president of the colony of Rhode Island from 1654-1658. He is famous as an early proponent of the complete separation of Church and State .
John Bunyan, 1628-1688, a self-educated English Baptist preacher who wrote, in his prison cell at Bedford, the delightful and immortal allegory, "The Pilgrim's Progress", the greatest classic of Puritanism. When Bunyan was released from prison, he served as pastor at Bedford for sixteen years. After riding through the rain to London, he died in the home of a friend in 1688.
Jonathon Edwards 1703-1758 New England preacher and theologian, one of the keenest minds in the history of American religion. As pastor in Northampton, MA he preached the need of the second birth with power. He belongs in the stream of the so-called Great Awakening which stirred all the British colonies in America. He died very shortly after becoming president of New Jersey (now Princeton) College.
George Whitefield, 1714-1770
English revivalist preacher, life-long friend and associate of the Wesleys. His astonishing eloquence was the major instrument of the colonial American Great Awakening, a revival movement (c. 1740) from Maine to Georgia.
Born in the Bell Inn, Gloucester, at age 18 Whitefield entered Pembroke College, Oxford, England. The Wesleys had already created a foundation of Methodism at Oxford and Whitefield became an enthusiastic evangelist. He made seven evangelsitic visits to America. Much of his life was spent on preaching tours throughout England, Scotland and Wales. In 1769 he set out on his final trip to America and died near Boston, MA in 1770.
Francis Asbury 1745-1816 John Wesley's convert and disciple, he came to America to be Methodism's first great leader. He was made bishop by the organizing conference at Baltimore in 1784. A tireless traveller on horseback from Maine to Georgia.
Phillips Brooks 1835-1893 Widely beloved rector of Trinity Church (Protestant Episcopal) in Boston, MA. Eloquent preacher. Episcopal Bishop of Massachusetts (1891-1893. At Christmas, many Christians sing his words, "O Little Town of Bethlehem.".
Barnabus, apostle, First Century 'a good man, full of the Holy Ghost and of faith' (Acts 11:24) is styled 'apostle' though he was not one of the Twelve. He is remembered for his close association with the work of St. Paul.
St. Bernard of Clairvaux 1090-1153 French monk and abbott, eloquent preacher, gifted writer, drawn out very often from his monastery to settle church quarrels, advise popes, to prosecute heretics. Preached the Second Crusade. Outstanding mystic, his soul married to God. Author of hymn, "Jesus, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts."
George Fox (1624-1691) founded the Society of Friends or Quakers. Born in Leicestershire, England, he was apprenticed to a shoemaker in Nottingham. When he was nineteen years old, he felt God's call. A mystic and visionary, Fox disagreed with the social conventions and formalism of the church of his day. The "inner light" was the central idea of his teaching, and Fox suffered much persecution and a number of imprisonments. He traveled extensively, wrote, and helped to organize poor relief, education, and self-help efforts. .
Isaac Watts (1674-1748) is known as the "Father of English hymnody." A Congregationalist pastor in London, Watts sought to expand the musical expression of faith beyond metrical Psalms. Two of his most famous hymns are "O God Our Help in Ages Past" and "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross."
John Wesley (England, 1703-1791) was an Anglican priest, evangelist, missionary, and reformer. Although he did not intend to break from the Church of England, he founded the Methodists of the world. Wesley became leader of a small, dedicated group at Oxford who were known derisively as the Holy Club or Methodists because they practiced their religion with an extraordinary amount of devotion, in strict accordance with the rubrics and method of worship. Wesley was much influenced by the Moravians whom he met on a missionary voyage to America in 1735. On May 24, 1738 while attending one of their society meetings on Aldersgate Street, during the reading of Luther's preface to the Epistle to the Romans, Wesley found his heart strangely warmed through faith in Christ. He received an assurance of salvation and became convinced that he should bring the same assurance to others. His zeal alarmed and angered most of the clergy, who closed their pulpits to him. This, and the great need of the masses, lead him to preach in the open air at Bristol in 1739. There he founded the first Methodist chapel. Wesley devoted most of his energy to working class neighborhoods; therefore, most of his converts were miners, foundry workers, and day-laborers. He wrote extensively and founded a number of charitable institutions. Wesley remained loyal to the Church of England and urged his followers to do the same. In 1784, under pressure, he himself ordained one of his assistants for service in America. Yet, he always regarded Methodism as a movement within the Church of England, and it remained so during his lifetime.
Charles Wesley (1757-1834) was an English hymnwriter and evangelist and the younger brother of John Wesley. Charles studied at Christ Church, Oxford, where he formed a small group known as Oxford Methodists, later joined by John. Charles composed over 5500 hymns including "O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing," "Christ The Lord Is Risen Today," and "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing."
Samuel Davies 1723-1761 American religious and educational leader, preacher, champion of religious dissenters and hymn writer, was born in New Castle county, Del., on November 3, 1723. He was educated at Samuel Blair's "log college" and ordained minister of the presbyterian Church in 1747. Davies became a leader of the southern phase of the religious revival known as the Great Awakening, his work centering at Hanover, VA. He was one of colonial America's greatest preachers and the first American hymn writer.
William McKendree (1757-1835) was the first American-born bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church. McKendree was elected bishop in 1808. It was said that he "kept house in his saddle-bags" because of his extensive travels on horseback. McKendree is credited not only with helping to spread Methodism in America, but also helping to secure its permanence and success through his legislative and administrative ability. He died in 1835 and in 1875 his body was moved to the campus of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, where he is buried near Bishops Soule and McTyeire.
Alexander Campbell 1786-1866 Born in Ireland, became a Presbytrian minister. The strongest leader in the formation of the Disciples of Christ (1832), aiming to imitate the early Christians and to bring an end to denominationalism. He began preaching in 1810 and married in 1811, settling in what is now Bethany, WV He founded Bethany College in 1840, and was its president till his death.
The descending Dove is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. All four Gospels report the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus in similar words. All four say that the Holy Spirit came as or like a dove from heaven. See Matthew 3:16, Mark 1:10, Luke 3:22, and John 1:32. The dove has become a widely used symbol of the Holy Spirit.
The First Medallion The four large medallions in the window represent events of Pentecost. The first is the gathering of the disciples in the upper room when the Holy Spirit came upon them. The Holy Spirit is represented by tongues of fire. The disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke as the Spirit gave them utterance.
The Prophet Joel
Little is known about the Prophet Joel, son of Pethuel. The Book of Joel, written about 400 BC, suggests Jerusalem as a setting. The Prophet Joel is significant to the Pentecost story because Peter quoted Joel when he preached on that first Pentecost (see Acts 2:16-21). Joel had prophesied the pouring out of the Holy Spirit: "Then afterward I will pour out my spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions. Even on the male and female slaves, in those days, I will pour out my spirit." (Joel 2:28-29, NRSV)
The Second Medallion The second of the large medallions represents Peter on the day of Pentecost. This story is told in Acts 2:14-42. The story of his sermon is told in the accompanying smaller medallions. At the top of the second medallion is Joel and at the bottom David. In his sermon, Peter used the words of these two prophets. The smaller medallion to the left depicts the crucifixion, with Mary and John at the cross. The picture at the top and to the right of the medallion of Peter preaching depicts the resurrection morn, with Jesus appearing to Mary Magdalene. The text in the medallion says, "They repented and were baptized" (Acts 2:38).
King David as a boy,
David had played his harp to soothe King Saul. God led him to defeat the Philistine, Goliath, and eventually gave him the throne of Israel. He was Israel's most famous king, and the prophets foretold that the Messiah would be born from the line of David. On the day of Pentecost (see Acts 2), Peter preached these words of David, relating them to Christ Jesus: "For David says concerning him, 'I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand so that I will not be shaken; therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; moreover my flesh will live in hope'" (2:25-26, NRSV).
The Third Medallion The third large medallion is a picture of Peter and John at the Beautiful Gate (Acts 3:1-10). They received power to heal, and the lame man was enabled to walk. The disciples were brought to trial and put in prison (Acts 4). The text in the medallion says, "They received power to heal," and "Such as I have give I thee" (Acts 3).
The Upper Room® This portion of the window is an illustration of what the original upper room¨ may have looked like. Mark 14:13-21 tells the story: As the Passover approached, Jesus sent two of his disciples to prepare for the meal. Jesus said to them, "'Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you; follow him, and wherever he enters, say to the owner of the house, "The Teacher asks, where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?" He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make preparations for us there'" (Mark 14:13-15, NRSV). At the bottom of the medallion is the symbol "IHC." These three letters are an abbreviation for the name Jesus in Greek. These are not initials, but rather the first three letters of the Greek word, IHCOYC.
The Fourth Medallion: The Disciples Are Sent Out The fourth large medallion represents the disciples as they went forth to witness. Acts 8:4 (NRSV) says, "Now those who were scattered went from place to place, proclaiming the word." The text in the window reads, "They became witnesses unto him." The window also shows the globe, representing the spread of the gospel throughout the world; a chalice and wafer, representing the sacrament of the Lord's Supper; and an open book with a Celtic cross and the Alpha and Omega, representing the eternal power of the Gospel. Jesus' disciples became witnesses of the Holy Spirit throughout the world.
John R. Mott,1865-1955
American Y.M.C.A. leader, Methodist layman, Mott was born at Livingston Manor, New York, NY and became known the world over for his work in Young Men's Christian Associations, Student Volunteer Movement and World Missionary Conference. He led an international youth gathering in Madras, India. Mott died on January 31, 1955 and was buried in Washington Cathedral, Washington D. C.
This panel portrays 3 persons in prayer.
This window shows Jesus' Crucifixion as related in John 19:16-37. The chief priests and the Pharisees of the Jewish people had arrested Jesus and taken him before the High Priest and then to Pontius Pilate, the Roman Procurator of Judea (AD 26-36). Although Pilate found no case against him, he handed Jesus over to the chief priests and Pharisees to be crucified. Jesus was flogged and made to bear his cross to a hillside called Golgotha. Pilate ordered an inscription written and put on the cross which read, "Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews." This inscription was written in Hebrew, Latin, and Greek. "INRI," seen in this panel, is the Latin abbreviation of this phrase. The panel shows Mary, the mother of Jesus, and the disciple John standing on either side of the cross. According to the scripture, "When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing beside her, he said to his mother, 'Woman, here is your son.' Then he said to the disciple, 'Here is your mother.' And from that hour the disciple took her into his own home" (John 19:26-27, NRSV).
Listening to the Word of God as taught by a disciple of Jesus.
The Love Feast, or Agape Meal, is a Christian fellowship meal recalling the meals Jesus shared with disciples during his ministry and expressing the community, sharing, and fellowship enjoyed by the family of Christ.
Acts 9:1-9 tells the story of Saul's conversion experience on the road to Damascus where he was traveling to receive letters giving him the authority to arrest Christians. A blinding light from heaven knocked him to the ground. God called out to him "Saul, why do you persecute me?" He calls to him, "who are you, Lord?" "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting; but rise and enter the city and you will be told what to do." When Saul got up from the ground he could not see, he was led to Damascus. The story of Saul's conversion continues in Acts 9. He is healed of his blindness and is converted to be a follower of Christ. Saul, also know as Paul, becomes one of the great preachers to the Gentiles.
Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) was the founder of the modern nursing profession. Born into a wealthy British family, Nightingale decided at age sixteen to devote herself to service for others. She studied health and reforms for the poor and suffering. At the time, hospitals were dirty and disreputable, and nurses suffered a poor reputation. Nightingale's parents would not hear of her becoming a nurse. Eventually, Nightingale studied in a hospital in Paris and at the Institute of Protestant Deaconesses in Kaiserswerth, Germany. When Great Britain and France went to war with Russia in the Crimea in 1854, the Secretary of War asked her to take charge of nursing. At the Battle of Balaclava, where the Charge of the Light Brigade had taken place, two-thirds of the British calvarymen were killed or wounded in twenty-five minutes. The hospital had been set up in an old Turkish barracks and lacked cots, mattresses, and bandages. Food and medical supplies were slow to arrive. Nightingale cleaned up the hospital and documented conditions carefully in order to demand supplies from British military officials. At night, Nightingale walked the four miles of corridors with her lamp burning, checking on patients. British soldiers came to call her "the lady with the lamp." Her work raised concern for the welfare of the ordinary soldier, for sanitary conditions in hospitals, and for the right of women to choose their professions. In this window she is seen with her lamp burning brightly as she tends a wounded soldier.
After the death of Judas, Peter talked with 120 disciples of Jesus and called for the election of the twelfth man to complete the 12 apostles. One of the qualifications for the 12th man was to have witnessed the resurrection of Jesus. Two men were chosen and then the final man selected by the casting of lots. Mathias was selected as the twelfth apostle. It was important to have 12 to reflect the 12 tribes of Israel.
Jesus' Resurrection This window shows the resurrected Christ, clothed in a white garment, appearing to Mary Magdalene at the tomb. In the background, the sun is rising, in contrast to the setting sun in the panel that illustrates the Crucifixion. The story is related in John 20:1-18: "Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. . . . She turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. . . . Jesus said to her, 'Mary!' She turned and said to him in Hebrew, 'Rabbouni!' (which means Teacher)" (John 20:1, 14, 16, NRSV).
One of the disciples teaching, preaching and healing.
Early Christians are shown in prayer. The baskets of food, clothing and money shown in the lower portion of the picture indicate that the early Christian groups shared their possesions.
Stephen is described as a man full of grace, faith spiritual power. He was falsley accused of blasphemy and stoned to death. He was the first Christian martyr. The stones indicate the method of death. As he was being stoned Stephen called out to God to not hold this sin against them.
George Washington Carver George Washington Carver (1864?-1943) was born into slavery on a farm in Diamond Grove, Missouri. Carver won international acclaim for his agricultural research and revolutionized the agriculture of the South. Prior to the Civil War, southern farmers had become dependent upon growing cotton as a cash crop. Cotton was an especially hard crop on the soil and was labor intensive to grow. Many farmers were wiped out when the boll weevil attacked their cotton crop. In his laboratory at Iowa State College and later Tuskegee Institute (Alabama), Carver found uses for a number of crops that had not been grown in the South before. This enabled southern farmers to diversify their crops, helping to maintain the soil and providing security they had not had with a single crop. Carver made more than three hundred products from the peanut, from soap to ink. He also found a number of uses for the sweet potato and the pecan. He hoped that these new products would help the South build industry to supplement agriculture. In 1940 Carver started the George Washington Carver Foundation for Agricultural Research at Tuskegee Institute, where he had taught for a number of years. Carver died in 1943, and was honored as a scientist, inventor, artist, and teacher. This window panel shows Carver in his laboratory with his instruments, books, and sacks of peanuts. Carver's great faith helped him to move beyond the hard circumstances of his upbringing and to forge ahead as a scientist and contributor to society.
Trefoil and Triangle is a symbol for the Trinity, God the Father (or Creator), Jesus the Son of God, and the Holy Spirit
This season, Whitney R. Simpson has given us the gift we must open: a clear, accessible invitation to connect with the divine spark that is within us. This is the best present: being present for Jesus’ birth, God made human.”
Learn more about our newest Advent resource, Fully Human, Fully Divine here.