The Windows of St. John's

Article Index

The Education Window

THERE HAVE BEEN periods in the history of the Church when it seemed the Church was opposed to secular learning. But the mind of man energized and stimulated by the Spirit of God cannot be bound. Knowledge must increase. Man's innate curiosity about his world and universe cannot be denied. He is destined to ask why, how, when, where. How else can God reveal his truth to him? He must forever go about probing into all kinds of hypotheses in his search for answers to endless questions.

This window illustrates God's concern for the increase of knowledge and the Church's intent that good learning flourish and abound. The greatest teacher of all time was God incarnate in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ who said, "The truth shall make you free". (John 8:32) In support of its dedication to enlightenment and with the guidance of the Holy Spirit the Church has established schools and universities in many lands.

The large central medallion shows Jesus preaching the Sermon on the Mount. Surrounding his head are the triradiant nimbus indicative of his membership in the Trinity.

In the bottom left panel is Clement, third century Greek theologian. His personal influence on the young Origen was great. They are shown together in front of the Parthenon of Athens as a symbol of the debt of Christianity to Greek philosophy. Origen died c. 251 A.D. as a result of torture received in the Decian persecutions.

On the right side in the bottom panel is a monk illuminating a manuscript indicating the part the monasteries played in nourishing learning during the earlier middle ages.

The center panel on the left shows Archbishop Thomas Cranmer composing the Prayer Book of 1549, a masterpiece of Elizabethan literature.

Across the window to the right and typifying the strong influence of preaching on life and morals, is a representation of Phillips Brooks (1835-93) as he appears in the statue by Saint Gaudens which stands beside Trinity Church, Boston. Behind the statue of this famous American preacher is a figure of Christ.

The panel in the upper left side portrays the facade of Christ Church, Oxford University founded 1133, and the famous Tom Tower designed by Sir Christopher Wren.

In the upper right panel are two outstanding institutions of learning: The Protestant Episcopal Theological Seminary in Virginia, founded in 1823, and the University of the South, founded in 1857.

At the apex of the window is Robert Raikes, founder of the Sunday School in 1780: a school which met on Sunday for the benefit of poor children who worked in the mines and factories of England. From this beginning the Sunday School movement has spread around the world enrolling millions of children and adults.

This window was Given to the Glory of God and in loving memory of The Rev. A. G. B. Bennett, The Rev. G. Croft Williams and The Rev. A. Rufas Morgan by members of the congregation and friends. Dedicated February 22, 1959.