The Stained Glass Windows
The first beautiful window visible upon entering the nave is the ASCENSION window directly over the altar. It was first in Trinity Church, moved to the former chapel of Holy Comforter, restored and placed in its present location when this edifice was erected in 1953. The window shows Jesus ascending with arms beckoning the heavily burdened to come to Him for rest. Peter, James, John and a fourth disciple watch as the cloud takes Jesus into the heavens. This French-made window presents a restful invitation to each worshipper and reminds the worshipper that Jesus is the only way to the Father. The dedicatory scroll states that it was given in memory of Helen Streety Carman.
On the Gospel side of the nave nearest the altar begins the windows of the Holy Spirit. The first is the PENTECOST window given by Mr. and Mrs. Carl F. Mayer and Mr. and Mrs. R. E. Kennington as a memorial to Thomas F. Russell and Estella Moss. The window shows the descent of the Holy Spirit in the form of a Dove upon the young church on the Day of Pentecost. They were filled with the Holy Spirit as tongues of fire touched them. Jesus promised before His Ascension that they would be baptized in the Holy Spirit and be given power to witness of His redemption to all the world. This window tells the story of the Holy Spirit's life-changing power still available to the church in our day.
One of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit listed by Saint Paul in 1 Corinthians 12, is a word of wisdom. The WISDOM window, given by Laura A. Osborne and in memory of Helen J. Murphy, shows St. Augustine, the first Archbishop of England, baptizing King Ethlebert. God gave to Augustine wisdom to enter England at a time when the country was falling away from the Christian faith. A religious division had greatly hampered the witness of the Gospel. Because of the Christian influence of Queen Bertha, Ethlebert welcomed Augustine, was converted and was the first Christian monarch in England.
During the dark ages the Venerable Bede was one of the few who kept alive the knowledge of Scripture. Known as a great church historian, Saint Bede also devoted himself to the study of scripture and teaching those who hungered for knowledge of God. His biblical writings were used by many of his contemporaries and immediate successors, and his works caused Pope Leo XIII to bestow upon him the title "Doctor of the Church." The window of KNOWLEDGE as a gift of the Holy Spirit shows the Venerable Bede surrounded by some of his students as he teaches them the Word of God. . This window is given in memory of W. J. and Helen Noblit, Marguerite McAdam, Henry and Elizabeth Rohling, Francis Penn, Barbara Jean Southwick and Rosa Crabtree.
The people of Holy Comforter greatly loved the Rev. A. R. Eldon Garrett, the third rector and under whose ministry the present building was erected. When his successor, the Rev. Robert Benjamin Hall, planned the windows of the nave, it was right that a window be given in loving memory of Father Garrett. During a time of personal need, in the first world war, Father Garrett vowed to never turn away any person in need and sought to minister by faith to those who came to Holy Comforter for help. It was, therefore, proper that the FAITH window should memorialize the man who by faith led the congregation in building one of the most beautiful churches in the south. Saint Roch is the figure seen in the window. He was a French monk who lived in the early part of the fourteenth century. During a plague outbreak, Roch cured many people with the sign of the cross and through prayer. Later he himself fell victim to the plague but refused to take up space in a hospital bed. He retreated to the forest. Miraculously a dog came daily to Saint Roch bringing him food and he survived his sickness. His faith in God's care for himself and others is the reason he was selected for the FAITH window. Not planned, but to the surprise of the Holy Comforter who gave the window, the dog looks exactly like Father Garrett's pet.
Lourdes has become known as a shrine of healing in the modern world and it is the scene for the HEALING window. What is unique about this window, located at the rear of the nave on the Epistle side, is the testimony it bears by its very presence. The entire cost of the window came from people who were healed following prayers at the altar of Holy Comforter. The window speaks of God's healing power and his faithfulness to hear the prayers of His faithful people.
The top part of this window recognizes that Helen Keller was a modern day miracle. The story of this great lady and Anne Sullivan whom the Lord used to reach this child is told by the MIRACLE window. This window was given by people who received the baptism in the Holy Spirit in this parish. They have the realization of the power of God as attested by John The Baptist in each gospel and confirmed by Jesus prior to the Ascension. Jesus still Baptizes people with the Holy Spirit and a few of those who have come to know the power of the Lord in their lives, as did the early church, have given this window.
Three great men of our time are shown in the window depicting the gift of the Spirit through PROPHECY. Oral Roberts, whose healing ministry kept before the world the Pentecostal power of God, is shown at the top of this window. The middle frame shows the Rev. Samuel Shoemaker, late rector of Calvary Episcopal Church in Pittsburgh whose ministry gave support to the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous, Anglican Fellowship of Prayer, Pittsburgh Experiment and small group meetings. Father Shoemaker was to charismatic renewal as John The Baptist to preparing the way for the coming of Jesus. In the bottom frame is Evangelist Billy Graham, whose ministry has led thousands to a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. This window is given in memory of Sarah H. Brodie by her sons.
The DISCERNING OF SPIRITS window shows Saint Joan of Arc with manifestations of spirits in the upper corner of the window. We today need the power of the Holy Spirit to enable our distinguishing between evil spirits who seek to destroy the works of God and true messengers of God seeking to lead and aid us in our Christian pilgrimage. The window is given in memory of Lewis C. and Edna B. Slesnick, parents of Donald Slesnick.
The trifold window in the balcony is given by Henry and Laura Carlson and primarily tells of the birth of Jesus. In the center panel is the Holy Family flanked on either side by those who came to welcome the birth of the Saviour in Bethlehem. The top section of the left panel shows the cross and a chalice with a Host. On the right panel is a crown of thorns. The center panel shows a city at the top and the Jordan River. While it is primarily the NATIVITY window, other aspects of our Lord's life are depicted in this window.
In the narthex is the last of our windows. The bottom half of this window is very old and it came from Trinity Church. Apparently it was part of a much older and larger window or windows. It contains the words of Jesus bidding those who would rest to come to Him. This panel bears the memorial name of Henry Graham Branscombe of Croydon, England. The other panel simply shows mother and child and the words "Feed My Sheep." It is given in memory of Eugenia Dearborn of Coconut Grove. The upper section is the continuation of the Holy Spirit windows. It is a colorful display of flaming tongues acknowledging the manifestations of SPEAKING IN TONGUES and INTERPRETATION OF TONGUES. It compliments the bottom half in that the strange words spoken and heard on the day of Pentecost, spoke of the marvelous works of God in Christ Jesus that edified both speakers and hearers of tongues. Man searches for the rest in his spirit and the Holy Spirit leads us into that rest in Jesus Christ. He seeks to edify us that we may be a light to others who need the feeding of God's Word. This upper panel is a gift from Mrs. R. E. R. E. Kennington.