An Introduction by Editor Andrew Weeks
For a small parish which began in a thicket on an unpaved road in 1898, we are beyond blessed to have inherited 21 such brilliant windows. And we are equally fortunate that some unnamed person(s) collected all the ‘given by’ data and pictures and about half the descriptions and then published them in 15 months of newsletters spanning 2009. And! Your editor had all that material to scan, collate, update, edit and publish only because members Robert Oas and his wife Kathy saved all those clippings which Kathy gave to me.
And collectively we are blessed that our current Rector, the Rev. Eric Turner, made the time to examine each window and create the texts of descriptions and theology for more than 50% of them. He and I then wove all his texts in with the pre-existing materials – a process that has been a terrific education for me. I hope you the reader will find the results both interesting and fascinating. Andrew Weeks, June, 2022.
The Tour: We hope these modest online representations of our beautiful windows will encourage you to come and see them in person! And if you do come, you will start in the 1962 building, turning left at the cross aisle below the choir loft. Then you will follow a ‘horseshoe’ pattern looking first at the 4 west-facing (left) windows starting with “The Garden”, then crossing the aisle and turning east to see windows 5 and 6. This will help you imagine these story tableaus in their settings as they follow the chronology of the Bible.
The tour continues with the same ‘horseshoe’ pattern in the 1899 building, starting with the 1st window on the facing west (left) side, continuing up to and across the altar, and then proceeding southbound along the east wall.
The Six Windows in the 1962 Church Addition
a) all six windows are very unusual in that they are story-telling tableaus, not ‘portraits’ like most of those in the 1899 building, and that they follow the chronology of the Bible.
b) an unnamed author on an undated page gave us specifics about the 4 west-facing (left) windows; what is extra notable about these four is that they are very Florida space-coast in context; look for the turtles, manatees, sea snakes and the rocket launch!
c) and of the four west-facing windows, these notes are copied verbatim from page 209 of “The Mission of St. John’s”, published in 1981 by Miriam Hicks: “The four newest stained glass windows, dedicated December 21, 1980, were the work of artists Jane and Dan Vislocky. The windows were entered in two art festivals before they were installed. They won the Best of Category in Village Autumn Art Festival October 5 & 6, 1980 and in the Space Coast Art Festival, November, 1980.” Noted elsewhere was that they were entered and won first prize in the Cocoa Beach Art Festival held in November 1980 though this may be a differently named duplicate of one of the above named events.
d) and of the two facing east: we have found no records about the artist(s) who created them nor do we have much data about the designs themselves.
The Four Windows Facing West
1962W01: The Garden – 1st Facing West
The book of Genesis Chapters 1-5 describe the “first creation” in the Garden of Eden. This panel was designed in a primitive style using only plants indigenous to this area: the orange fruit, banana, yucca in bloom (this glass was hand-rolled in Florida), bird of paradise, and sea grapes. The triangular section at the top represents the “Big Bang”, a nod to the convergence of science and faith. It was given by the Bath Family and friends in memory of Gertrude Bath,1911-80.
1962W02: The Flood – 2nd Facing West
God saw the extent of human wickedness and told Noah to build an Ark. The story of the flood is found in Genesis, Chapters 6-8. The Ark is represented in the top triangle and the darkness and lightening represent God’s displeasure and the destruction of the first creation and first man. This window was given by Judy and Henry Paul Vislocky and was dedicated on December 21, 1980.
1962W03: The New Creation – 3rd Facing West
The rainbow (top triangle) represents God’s promise never to flood the earth again – Genesis, Chapters 5-8. This panel affirms the wonder of God’s ongoing work in creation and the new life we have in Christ. The panel is a present day sunrise over the Indian River – a missile leaves its contrail, pelicans soar in formation, daisies a symbol of innocence – the sand dollar, our salvation through Christ, the palm branch – spiritual victory. The shell at the bottom represents Baptism. This window was given in 1980 as a gift from the Schlatter family as a memorial to God and in Thanksgiving for God’s many blessings. The original author noted that General George Schlatter and his wife Eleanor (Biddy) were staunch supporters of our parish and that Biddy had contributed a great portion of our St. John’s Mission Book.
1962W04: The New Man – 4th Facing West
The Book of Revelation, Chapters 21 and 22 describe John’s vision of “a Holy City coming down from God out of Heaven.” The city flashed and glowed like a precious gem, crystal clear like Jasper.” Of special interest are the pearly gates of iridescent glass; many of the 12 layers of gemstone are authentic and the same ones mentioned in the Bible. The Trees of Life border the River of Life – the streets are gold. The pastel ribbons are man at peace – free from earthly burdens. In the top triangle are the Greek letters alpha and omega (the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet), representing God as the beginning and the end, and the crown points to Jesus reigning as King over the new Jerusalem. This window was a then modernistic interpretation of “The New Man” and was given by the Schlatter family and friends in memory of George Fletcher Schlatter, 1908-1979, and his military ‘wings’ are imbedded top left of the dedication words ‘The New Man’.
The Two Windows Facing East
1962E01: He Is Risen – 1st Facing East
This window looks to the death and resurrection of Jesus – Jesus with hands raised in praise of the Father and in submission to His will. The doves represent the Spirit of God in Jesus and the lillies at the bottom are a traditional flower of resurrection. The top triangle features the cross and the crown of thorns. This window was given in loving memory of Robert Harnock, 1910-1980, and to the Glory of God by his wife Beulah ( a long time member of the Altar Guild) and family members.
1962E02: The Pentecost – 2nd Facing East
Represented here is the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2) with its multi-colored ribbons of fire reaching out in all directions. The hands at the bottom represent us as we receive the Spirit and the different colors represent all nations and peoples. The symbol at the top is a combination of a circle, representing the eternal nature of God, which has been carved into three parts representing the Trinity. The windows have now taken us through the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, so the revelation of the eternal Trinity of God is now complete. This window is titled “The Pentecost” and is dedicated to the memory of James D. McLester and William H. Bryan and was donated by Dr. Floyd Bryan and his wife Sandra.
The Thirteen Windows in the 1899 Church
Historic data: we have found no records about the artists who created the 10 windows other than the three above the altar – see that section below. Nor do we have much data about the designs themselves. Whatever documentation may have existed appears to have been lost during the 1962 construction project.
The viewer will note two distinct styles of stained glass. The four in the back part of the 1899 section of the church are a group and represent the four Gospels: Matthew (1899E04), Mark (1899E05), Luke (1899W02) and John (1899W01). The front four each stand alone in their meaning.
1899W01: St. John the Apostle – 1st Facing West
A window featuring St. John was a foregone conclusion in a church named St. John’s! HE is shown writing, a reference to the writings of John: The Gospel of John, Revelation, and the three Epistles of John. The Eagle beneath his feet is a common representation of John: both as a reference to the perception that his writings are written from a high vantage point; and as one who has reflected long, with keen eyesight and always with the big picture in mind. This window, given by Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Wilson Kerr in memory of Alexander R. Hodgson (1855-1934) and Margaret M. Hodgson (1861-1959), was dedicated on Palm Sunday, March 30, 1969. And a particular note: this is the only window we have found with an artist’s inscription: “Nobis Studios, North Canton, Ohio”.
1899W02: St. Luke – 2nd Facing West
Luke is depicted with a book, a reference to the Gospel bearing his name. The animal under him is a winged ox or bull, representing sacrifice and strength. This window was given in memory of Claude G. Lilycrop (1891-1956). The author also noted that Claude spent many hours in service to St. John’s and was the first lay reader commissioned at St. John’s.
1899W03: The First Family – 3rd Facing West
This window depicts the First Family in a familiar Christmas representation. The bull represents the farm animals around Jesus’ manger and the star of Bethlehem is included. It was dedicated to the memory of Carolyn Maxwell Cant (1869-1950) from her daughters Helen Barley and Betty Dennis and installed in 1952.
1899W04: Christ the King – 4th Facing West
This beautifully designed window includes an interpretation of Christ the King, with the Cross and Crown superimposed over the globe. It is dedicated to Mrs. Fanny Horn, a staunch supporter of St. John’s who worked tirelessly promoting tea socials and rummage sales to raise funds for the church.
1899W05: IHS – 5th Facing West (behind the altar)
This window sits below the sightline of the altar and can be seen from the communion rail. The IHS is repeated on the altar cross and on many of the frontals and is one of the most familiar Christian symbols. They are the first letters of the three Greek words for Jesus, Son, Savior and together are often used as a kind of ‘monogram’ for Jesus. It was given by A. Florence Hodgson in memory of J. Kingman Hodgson (1878-1941) and Elizabeth I. Hodgson (1889-1912) on Nov. 18 1945.
1899N – Introduction:
Unlike the other windows in the 1899 building which ‘stand alone’, these three windows incorporate a theme and were given at one time. Anyone walking down the aisle to approach the communion rail would be struck by the majesty and beauty of the triple windows above the altar. The windows were a gift from John E.M. Hodgson, a long time member and financial supporter of St. John’s. The Hodgson family made up a full third of the early congregation; with seventeen family members attending services, they must have presented an inspiring example to fellow congregants. The three windows were manufactured in Baltimore, MD by the noted artisan M. Geinhardt in 1896 and were shipped by steamboat, rail and finally barge to Eau Gallie in 1897 to be installed in the ‘new’ church. All of these data were recorded on a page separate from all the newsletter clippings. The page noted the name of long ago member Chet Borger though there is no indication whether or not he was the author.
1899N01: Chalice – on the Left
This window displays a Victorian chalice, from which the sacrament of wine, a remembrance of the blood shed by the Lamb is administered at the feast. It is presented in memory of Mrs. Jane Kingan (1820-1891), beloved aunt of Annabella who made the trip to Eau Gallie at the age of sixty-five!
1899N02: St. John the Evangelist – Center
The large window in the center portrays our patron saint, St. John the Evangelist, watching over the faithful. It is given to the glory of God and in loving memory of Annabella McIver Hodgson (1852-1892), loving wife and mother.
1899N03: Paten – on the Right
This window depicts a common paten or plate, from which the bread is administered. The bread is a symbol of the body of Christ, broken for us. This third and final window was given in memory of Gordon McDonnell Hodgson, infant son of Annabella and John E., who perished before his second birthday in 1892.
1899E01: Crown – 1st Facing East
To the right of the altar is another beautiful window that can be seen only from the communion rail or by the altar. As in other places, the crown and cross together represent Jesus reigning as King because of His work on the cross. It was given by A. Florence Hodgson in memory of J. Kingman Hodgson (1878-1941) and Elizabeth I Hodgson (1889-1912) on Nov. 18, 1945.
1899E02: Holy Spirit and Chalice – 2nd Facing East
This window depicts an impression of the Holy Spirit, in the form of the doves, as they fly to and from the chalice. The hand at the top represents God giving his blessing (the two extended fingers is a gesture of blessing) and the stylized horns are a reference to the horns of the altar spoken of in the Old Testament, reminding us that Jesus is the center and fulfillment of the entire sacrificial system. Although undated, the window was dedicated to A. Florence Hodgson (1878-1961), and given by the congregation to honor her many years of faithful service.
1899E03: Jesus Praying at Gethsemane – 3rd Facing East
Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane reminds us that Jesus went to the cross willingly in obedience to the Father. This window is dedicated to Lt. Judson Porter Hurd. Lt. Hurd was born in 1922 and died during the Korean War in 1951. His mother, Betty Dennis and family friends gave the window which was installed in 1954.
1899E04: Ss. Matthew and Michael – 4th Facing East
We believe that this window depicts St. Matthew holding a book and quill in his hands, a reference to the Gospel bearing his name. We currently believe that the window also depicts St. Michael the Archangel below Matthew’s feet. Due to the relocation of several windows during the construction of the 1962 addition, this description cannot be verified. This window was given in loving memory of Oscar Alfred Kneer (1884-1969) and Martha Hogg Kneer (1886-1969) who were both regular and faithful in their attendance all those years..
1899E05: St. Mark – 5th Facing East
This window depicts the figure of St. Mark. Again, he is depicted with a book and scroll to represent the Gospel bearing his name and the winged lion underneath is a traditional reference to Mark for his strength and power. It was given in memory of Vera A. Lilycrop, a long-suffering member of St. John’s who was bedridden for much of her life and who died in 1955.
1962S01: The Good Shepherd
This window is now tucked away and mostly hidden in the west stairway to the choir loft. It was donated by Florence Hodgson in 1945 in memory of John Edwin McConnel Hodgson (1849-1919). It was originally installed over the entrance before the 1962 addition was added.
1962S02: The Children’s Chapel Triple Tableau
As referenced in and condensed from the mid-January 1996 edition of the Central Florida Episcopalian: “Artist Carleton Emery was commissioned to create a window for the ‘Children’s Church’ at St. John’s. His theme was Christ telling stories from the Old Testament and so he portrayed a seated Jesus telling children about Adam and Eve, Noah and the Ark, and Jonah and the fish (with what today we would call a ‘bubble’ for each story above the seated Jesus). The result, balanced with a rainbow across the top, began with 630 pieces of glass”. Editor’s note: with its intense red border, this is one of the most dramatic windows at St. John’s!
The text of the accompanying plaque reads: “This window is given to the glory of God by Carlton and Sylvia Gay and The Kids Center.”