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Sunday, March 31 - Glory in the highest

April 01, 2002|BY KATE COLEMAN

The churches of downtown Hagerstown hold the history as well as the faith of the communities who built and worshiped in them.

They also hold artistic treasures - Tiffany windows, mosaics, decorative tile, handcarved woodwork.

"Over the years, the community wanted to give their best to God - with treasures of art," says the Rev. Arthur Leib Grove, pastor emeritus of Zion Evangelical and Reformed Church of the United Church of Christ.

For Easter we are sharing some of those art treasures from local churches.

Clockwise, from above:

The "Charity" stained-glass window at Zion Evangelical Reformed Church, 201 N. Potomac St., depicts the giving of alms. The woman at the lower right side is faceless, representing all poor mothers, says the Rev. Arthur Leib Grove, who served as pastor at the church from 1961 to 1981.

Funds for the window were provided by Dixon Roman, the bank treasurer who collected the money to pay the ransom of Hagerstown during the Civil War, Grove adds.

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The Gothic ceiling of the tower at St. John's Episcopal Church, 101 S. Prospect St., has tiny windows shaped like six-pointed stars. The medallion near the top of the arch represents the ascension of Christ. The 9-foot-square tower has art tiles painted with flowers and inscribed with Scripture.

John Wesley United Methodist Church's rose window, added to the structure in 1947, is a "beautiful thing," says Bob Bohman, 78, of Hagerstown, who was baptized in the 201 N. Potomac St. church. As a lay reader at the church, Bohman has had the opportunity to face the rose window, seeing the play of sunlight through the stained glass.

The Tiffany window in the chancel of St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, 141 S. Potomac St., depicts Mary Magdalene meeting the resurrected Jesus.

On either side of the window are large glass mosaic tablets each containing more than 200,000 separately cut pieces of colored glass. The tablets depict the annunciation, the angel appearing to Mary; the birth of Christ in the stable; the crucifixion; and the ascension of Christ.

A della Robbia-style plaque of glazed terra-cotta depicting the nativity of Christ is one of the art treasures at St. John's Episcopal Church.

Photos by Richard T. MeagherStaff Photographer

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