Trinity United Methodist Church
Sunday, May 26, 2013
The Caring Church
Stained Glass Windows
Old Testament Window
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1) A bursting star symbolizes creation. The Tree of Life appears in the scene with a flaming bush to the side of the tree. The ark, symbolizing the church, is seen on the right side of the panel. Four figures appear within the ark. The four passengers can relate to Noah and his three sons, but can also recall our transplantation from Africa to the New World. The memory reflects the ancient past of a people who dwelled in the rain forest, deserts. African plains and savannas. The three fish at the bottom carry out the Trinitarian theme. A bird carrying an olive-branch appears at the top of the ark. A cross is seen above the bird.
The New Testament Window - Crucifixion Scene
Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you. (John 20:2 1) A father holds his crucified son in the scene. Moses of the Old Testament appears above a step-pyramid on the left side of the panel. A mother and child are seen at the bottom of the panels. Another woman appears at the right side. The cruciform figure extends his hand to embrace the world.
The achievements of early black women Have affected our lives. Shown are three of the Methodist missionaries: Amanda Berry Smith, Jarena Lee and Vivienne Newton Gray Holding an African Hoe. Mary McLeod Bethune appears next to the great abolitionist Sojourner Truth. Harriet Tubman is seen above Sojourner Truth. Black women's sojourn through history is depicted by the railroad track that symbolizes the movement toward freedom on the underground railroad. Christiana V Adair, a Houstonian and Methodist laywoman is shown carrying a sign that reads "VOTES FOR WOMEN." She worked for women's suffrage in spite of the fact that the Texas Equal Suffrage Association Had no black members. Her civil rights efforts continued into the 50's and 60's and saw the "WHITE ONLY" sign come down at the Houston airports and public libraries.
Black Methodist Window
The Methodist Church from the beginning made a special appeal to blacks. In this scene, Bishop Robert E. Jones, the first black bishop, founder of Gulfside Assembly, a retreat center for blacks during segregation, is seen with Frederick Douglass and Bishop Willis J. King (former pastor of Trinity, 1917-1918). Richard Allen appears on the left side with Absalom Jones on the right. Seen kneeling in the center of the panel are John Stewart, seen on the left, founder of missions in the Methodist church and pictured on the right is Harry Hosier, pioneer preacher and Francis Asbury the first bishop of Methodism in America; seen in the center. The scene depicts the black church as the safe haven, the educational, social, spiritual and civic nucleus of the black community.
Early Trinity Churches Window
The black church and the influence of the black pulpit have provided resources for the progress of the race. This window depicts three early Trinity churches, including the first small wooden structure, built in 1851 for the slave membership of Shearn Methodist Church (First Methodist Church). The African Mission was located on the northwest corner of Texas and Milam, fronting Milam Street. Elias Dibble was the exhorter. Later the church was organized on March 5, 1865. Two early churchmen are seen in liturgical robes, holding the church now located on Travis and Bell Streets, and the rebuilt church devastated by the storm of September 8. 1900. Shotgun homes appear at the bottom left of the scene, recalling the Freedmen's Township located in the Fourth Ward. A triangular shape forms the scene showing the first churches.
The Ancestor Quilt Window
In the ancestor quilt window is an elder, the griot, who is the keeper of the flame and the history of the people. At the top of the window with the griot are a young boy and girl who represent the wide span of generations that comprise the membership at Trinity church. The griot is shown holding an eight point star quilt. In the center of the quilt is an adaptation of the current Trinity church rose window. A map of Texas appears on the upper left side, with railroad tracks and footprints as symbols of the black migration to Texas. The plow, cotton plant and steer appear on the upper right side of the quilt. The oil lamp and bible are symbolic of how most blacks learned to read. The eight point star patchwork embraces Trinity's birth of two educational institutions: Texas Southern University, Houston, Texas on the left, and Wiley College, Marshall, Texas on the right. A pair of outstretched hands hold the quilt at the bottom of the window.
The 1917 24th Infantry Commemorative Window
Recent documentation has recognized the involvement and participation of black men and women in the defense of our nation. This window pays homage to the original thirteen black soldiers of the famed Camp Logan Third Battalion, 24th United States Infantry, who were put to death by hanging for refusing to accept discrimination in Houston, Texas. Another 40 soldiers were given life sentences. Thirteen hanging posts are seen, with one of the thirteen soldiers visible. A black soldier stands at attention on the left side. A crow, the herald, a symbol of Jim Crow appears at the bottom right. The image of the city appears in the background.
Civil Rights Window
Rosa Parks appears in the center of the scene. A bus is seen on the right side. Two students at the bottom of the panel represent the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). A water fountain appears on the left side, next to the students, recalling segregated water fountains. CAFE represents the lunch sit-ins. Groups of marchers are seen carrying signs which depict all of the great mass marches and boycotts. Martin Luther King, Jr. appears next to the Washington Monument, recalling the march on Washington. To the right of Rev. Dr. King is James Farmer. Dr. Farmer is a Wiley College graduate who helped organize and participated in the freedom rides. Dr. Farmer lost sight in his right eye, due to exposure to tear gas during the freedom rides. The flames that appear above the bus represent the freedom rides.
The design for these two windows, on either side of the choir loft, is derived from Afro-American quilt designs. The design motif is formed from triangles; the symbol of the Trinity. The triangles also form the eight-point star motif; the symbol of the north star. In these windows, the artist wanted to give attention to a black art form that claims the heritage of an African past and present.
This window is a part of a group that incorporates the eight-point star design motif which forms triangles that are symbols of the Trinity. The North Star symbolizes freedom for slaves seeking liberation.