Perhaps one of the most outstanding features of our church is her Gothic stained glass windows. Some of the windows were designed by the architect and executed in Munich, Germany by the Franz Mayer Company, which is still in existence.
The Altar and Window
• On the left side of the altar is a window with the words, “Jesus Wept” and under it, “In memory of Graham Fairbanks, Born in January, 1867 and died in September of the same year, a child of nine months. He was the son of Helen and Nathaniel Fairbanks, early Lake Geneva residents.
• The Fairbanks name is also associated with the window on the left side of the altar by the words, “It is well” in the memory of Wallace Graham, Lt., USN. He was a 32 year old Naval officer.
• Above the High Altar, the words are: “Ye do show the Lord’s death ‘till he comes,” with the cross and crown above it. This is clearly a reference to the Eucharist and was installed during the time of the first rector.
• The third window in the sanctuary has lilies and is given in memory of Rev. Isaac Marks, Jr., the 13th rector. He was born in New Orleans of a Jewish family. At some point he embraced Christianity and the Anglican Church. The lilies are primarily the symbol of the Virgin Mary, her virginity and chastity.
• Tucked in on the side of the organ is another window, which reads, “Blessed are the Pure in Heart.” with what appears to be lilies on one half and morning glories on the other. Morning Glories are quite unique in that they are universal, growing on every continent, in almost every climate, and they fold up every night to rest and appear again the next morning. Their tendrils remind us of Jesus’ words, “I am the vine and you are the branches.”
Windows — East Wall
• The first window is dedicated to children, “For of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.” The figure is a child and an angel. The donor was Henry Lord Johnson, and it appears to have been done by the same firm, Mayer and Co., Munich, as is the window on the opposite side of the church. The design and artistry of both is exquisite. A comparison between the Mayer window on the East side and its opposite on the West side is subtly discovered in the upper center of the window. The East window focusing on children has the Greek letter “A” (Alpha) meaning “beginning” while the window on the west side has the Greek Omega meaning “end”. In the east window the children reach out to the Guardian angel for protection and guidance. We see it in the purity of the children.
• The next two windows honor one family and refer to death and one’s faith: “Blessed Are the Dead.” It is dedicated to Dr. Phillip Maxwell and his wife, Jerusha. The use of the Passion Flower as symbolic of the family is interesting. On the medical level, the leaves of the Passion Flower were used as a sedative and nerve tonic going back 200 years. As a sacred symbol, the Passion Flower is symbolic of the Passion of Christ. The 72 filaments were the number of thorns in His crown. The three stigma are the nails and the five stamens are the number of wounds He suffered. The leaf represents the spear that made the wound on Jesus’ side. The black spots under the leaves are the 33 pieces of silver paid to Judas.
• The adjoining window bears the inscription, “He Giveth His Beloved Sleep In memory of Ophelia Maxwell Walter.” Ophelia was the daughter of Dr. Maxwell.
The Trinity (“Rose”) Window
• The large Trinity Window in the rear of the church is the symbol of the Blessed Trinity exhibiting three circles connected by bands forming an equilateral triangle. In this symbol we are going beyond words as defining God. Such a window is unique in that it is quite rare to find a Trinity Window in a church this small. It is unmarked, as are the two lancet windows at either side below. However there is a recent plaque that goes with the Trinity window. It was discovered to be in very bad repair and two current parishioners gave the money for the repair and dedicated the window to their grandmothers.
The West Wall
• On the rear window we find symbols of an anchor and a pelican with the words, “In memory of Betsy William Richardson, a Beloved Wife, Mother and Sister.” The anchor and the pelican are two ancient symbols of the Christian tradition. The anchor is found in the catacombs as a sign of the fixed hope of Christians. The pelican symbol of motherhood arising from Psalm 102 which says in our translation, “I have become like an owl in the wilderness”…but since Hebrew has no vowels, it was written, “Like a pelican in the wilderness.” This is based on the excessive devotion of the mother pelican described by medieval writers as typifying the love of Christ. The mother pelican will wound herself in time of famine by striking her breast with her beak, and as the blood emerges her children are fed by her own life. Given this legend it is easy to see why the early Christians adapted the symbol and applied it to Christ who sheds his blood for us. We who were dead to sin have new life in the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist. This symbol is especially significant because the name of this parish is ”The Church of the Holy Communion.” Together these two symbols are outstanding symbols of motherhood.
• Our next window is the Lamb of God, dedicated to the memory of Kate Louise Keyes, a child of five years at the time of her death. The Lamb is one of those ancient and persistent symbols in the Christian lore dating back to the fourth century. It was the mark of Passover to take blood from lambs and smear it on the doors of Israelites to protect their children from the angel of death. The symbol of the palm in the adjoining window signifies praise, triumph and thanksgiving. God himself ordered them to be carried. The Lord spoke to Moses and said, “…on the first day you will take the fruit of the majestic trees, BRANCHES OF THE PALM TREES…and you shall rejoice in the Lord for seven days (Leviticus 23:40). Palms were also borne in honor of our Lord in his majestic entrance on Palm Sunday.
• The last window on the West with the Omega at the top is a companion to the Alpha window on the east. This has a more mystical and complicated quality about it. Abraham, the “Father of Believers” and King David are portrayed. David holds a lyre and wears a crown. King David lost his son, Absolom, in battle with his own father. His grief over the rebellion and the loss of his son are contained in the famous words, “Absolom, my son Absolom, would I have died in place of you, O Absolom, my son, my son.” In the left panel of the same window we see Abraham with the dead ram offered as sacrifice in place of his son, Isaac. The knife lies at his feet. The Psalm verse, “Do not cast me off in my old age, forsake me not when my strength fails” takes on a special meaning.
• On the South side of the transept there is a set of windows given by Fr. Marks in memory of both his wife and daughter who preceded him in death. They are buried in Oak Hill Cemetery, Lake Geneva.
• The final and last window is our most famous one because it was designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany. It features a dove, lilies and scenes of nature. There are no signatures on the window to prove its authenticity as a Tiffany window, but a long oral tradition in the parish says it is. Several stained glass authorities have said that it has all of the style and colors of a Tiffany.