The dedication of new sanctuary stained glass windows and consecration service will be held at 4 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 15, at First Presbyterian Church, Conway.
Early in 2012, Connie De Boer, a long-time member of the church, gifted the congregation with funds to install stained glass windows in the sanctuary to be given in memory of her husband, Marvin and their daughter, Sandra. Dr. Marvin De Boer retired as Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Speech from the University of Central Arkansas. Sandra Anne De Boer, J.D. was serving as an attorney for Central Arkansas Legal Services at the time of her accidental death in Spain. The Session accepted her offer and appointed a committee to proceed in selecting a theme, securing an artist and choosing a manufacturer to construct the windows. The committee was comprised of Rosanne Johnson, Chair, Connie De Boer, Pat Denton, Sheila Parsons-Talley, Joe Whisenhunt and Drew Travis, Pastor.
Following discussion, field trips to view various churches’ stained glass windows and much prayer, The Beatitudes from the Sermon on the Mount were chosen as the windows’ theme. The committee envisioned the windows reflecting the ministry of the people of the church, and what they do in the name of Jesus Christ. The designs were to be more than a collection of Christian symbols; they were to be symbols of what the faithful Christian life looked like.
After going through an extensive interview process with three stained glass companies, Dennis Roberts, owner and artist of IHS Studios in Fredericksburg, Texas, was chosen to design and fabricate the windows.
Dennis writes, “It took several weeks of prayer and Bible study before the design started to take place in my mind. In studying the Sermon on the Mount, it came to me that the one significant theme developing was the work of salvation. I began to see the Beatitudes falling into primarily two groups: those that speak of being, of what God has done for us (justification); and those that point to doing, what God does working through us (sanctification).”
To illustrate the individual blessings of the Beatitudes, the artist asked the question, “What better way to illustrate the qualities alluded to in the Beatitudes than the life of Christ?” He then turned to the stories of Jesus’ life for inspiration.
His final design produced six windows with symbols in each that relate to the corresponding blessing, simple, yet complex. In that way, the windows are like the scripture they reflect. Each is etched with the Bible verse to which it relates.
Beveled glass is used in a horizontal line to tie the widows together visually. The 27 books of the New Testament are symbolized by 27 pieces of beveled glass on the east wall of the sanctuary, and the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament are depicted by thirty-nine pieces of beveled glass on the west wall.
All windows have full mouth-blown antique glass imported from Germany.
The consecration service will include special music by the chancel choir accompanied by Clara Martin, pianist and instrumentalists. They will be directed by Lyle Rupert, Director of Music.
After the service, docents will be available at each window to explain the symbolism in each.
A pot-luck fellowship dinner will also be held in the multi-purpose room following the dedication.
The Rev. Howard Reed is serving the church as transitional pastor.
Child-care will be available. For more information, call the church office at 329-6483.