Have you ever wondered how CMC got its tree window and what the inspiration was? Jim Bishop dug into his archives to share this brief article, first published in the 2/7/91 issue of Mennonite Weekly Review (now Mennonite World Review).
Church Has Symbolism in New Window
by Jim Bishop
HARRISONBURG, VA – A stained-glass window installed Jan. 25, 1991 in the sanctuary at Community Mennonite Church is special for several reasons. First and foremost, the design is intended to convey something special about the church’s identity and purpose.
Second, funds for the window were given by two former members of the congregation as an expression of appreciation for their time there. The donors were charter members at Community Mennonite when the church began in 1971 and attended there until 1987.
Jay D. Kain, an art faculty member at James Madison University, was asked to create an artist’s proposal based on the “covenant statement” of the congregation and other information supplied by church members.
Once the basic concept was approved, Kain fashioned the window at Shenandoah Glass Inc., a business he and his wife, Jean, operate part time in north Harrisonburg. He said it took “about six months” to take the project from concept to completion.
The large, centrally located tree in the rose window design “symbolizes the tradition of the church with roots well planted and firmly based in the solid foundation of the earth,” according to the artist. “The light rays seek to create a feeling of ever-present and all-surrounding light of heavenly presence and the eternal exchange between the mortal and immortal.”
Further, “The sturdiness of the tree conveys a wealth of tradition, while the outward-reaching branches are new growth reaching beyond the church,” Kain said. “The dominant greens, reds and purples employed suggest newness and freshness of life in the church.”
Jim adds: The donors/charter members not named in the article are Larry and (the late) Marilyn Nolt.