Gatlinburg Presbyterian Church
"I was glad when
they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord." ~Psalm
Whether through paintings, music, sculpture or
stained glass, people have always tried to manifest eternal
things through the material of this world. Because stained
glass gives form and meaning to light, some feel it is the art
form best suited to show us eternal truth.
It was between 1137 and 1144 as the Abbot Suger expanded the
Abbey Church, St. Denis, just outside Paris that the Gothic
architecture started. A number of new architectural ideas
and construction techniques made it possible to build
cathedrals with huge open spaces for stained glass windows.
Stained glass has
often been used to tell the story of the Bible. Such windows
draw us to the one who is the Light of the world. The Gospel
of John teaches that in Him was life; and the life was the
light of men. What better way to be drawn to this light than
through light shining through stained glass.
Abbot Suger said it
this way: “..when - out of my delight in the beauty of the
house of God - the loveliness of the many-colored gems...has
called me away from eternal cares....then it seems to me
that I see myself dwelling, as it were, in some strange
region of the universe which neither exists entirely in the
slime of the earth nor entirely in the purity of Heaven; and
that, by the grace of God, I can be transported from this
inferior to that higher world...”
As you view our
Bible in Stained Glass, may you be lifted up in a special
way into the very presence of God! Entrance to the
tour is from the front of the sanctuary on Reagan Drive.
All of the stained
glass windows in the Church present a consistent series of
symbols covering the chief Christian symbols and and main
episodes of the Bible.
The borders of all
these windows bear the fine old symbol of the True Vine,
which surrounds and binds together each of the window
lights. This Vine symbol, including recurring bunches of
grapes, is combined with periodic sheaves of wheat in golden
color. Thus the two elements of the Communion, the Wine and
the Bread, are used throughout this continuing symbol of the
True Vine. Woven into this same border is a stylized
eight-petalled rose, which symbolizes Baptism, and is also
the symbol of Christian Love and Courage.
In the field of each
window panel one may find many minor symbols and treatments
of the form of the Cross, all of which can be found in
traditional Christian symbolism. In the bottom center of
each panel appear alternately placed crosses in the red
diamond shaped medallions. One of these is the Celtic Cross
which is connected with the origins of Christianity and the
Presbyterian Church. The other is the Blossoming Cross of
The entire series
around the Sanctuary and the front entrance contains symbols
which cover the whole scope of the Bible from Creation
through Revelation. The series starts near the front of the
Sanctuary above the organ and proceeds down this side of the
Sanctuary. It continues with the four panels at the front
entrance, then down the left side of the Sanctuary.
Each window is
referred to in order, starting on the right hand side above
These windows were executed in the 1950s for
the Central Presbyterian Church on McCallie Avenue in
Chattanooga, Tennessee. They were designed and created in the
J. & R. Lamb Studios of Tenafly, New Jersey. The Studio
continues in business as Lamb Studios in Briarcliff Manor, New
York. They were dedicated to the work of the Church December
J. & R. Lamb Studios is the oldest existing American
stained-glass studio, founded in 1857 by Joseph Lamb
(1833-1898). Lamb was educated in England and had deep
religious interests. On returning to New York he and his
brother, Richard, started a business designing stained glass
and church ornaments. They opened a studio on Carmine Street
in Greenwich Village and prospered, although none of their
early windows in New York seems to have been remarkable enough
to have been preserved or remembered as their work.
Distinction would come to the studio later in the century. A
talented grandson, Frederick (1863-1928), received
international recognition, and his windows are still treasured
as part of the city’s stained glass heritage. In the early
decades of the studio, however, the works of foreign artists
were favored over that of the Lamb brothers and other domestic
studios. The most important windows preserved from the 1860s
and 1870s are from abroad.
Central Presbyterian Church dissolved in December 2000. After
some consideration by its various committees, the Presbytery
of East Tennessee encouraged the Gatlinburg Presbyterian
Church to install the windows for use in furthering its
mission. The windows were dedicated in Gatlinburg October 4,
Theme of the Creator
The ancient symbol of The Eye of God placed within the
triangle is seen surrounded by rays of light and cloud forms,
reminding us of the creation of light from the darkness in the
description found in Genesis.
Noah and the
episode from Genesis is symbolized here. The Ark is seen at
the moment when the dove brings the olive branch to the
waiting Noah. The Rainbow of God’s covenant to Noah arches
across the top as the ship rides the waters of the Deluge.
episode described in Genesis the hand of God appears upon the
sacrificial altar pointing to the ram which is to be used in
place of Isaac.
The Ark of
Here we are
reminded of the greatness of Solomon and the central feature
of his Temple, the Ark made under the direction of God.
The Harp of David
The Psalms and the reign
of King David are symbolized by the ancient Hebrew Harp
bearing a Crown insignia of the King.
The Fiery Chariot
The fiery chariot is
seen rising into the Heavens with another flame descending,
reminding us of the cloak thrown down to Elijah.
The Major Prophets
The Books of Prophecy
are symbolized by the first vision of Daniel, who is one of
the major prophets. Each detail of this strange vision of four
beasts is brought forth with exactness and clarity.
The Minor Prophets
This is the vision of
Malachi, one of the minor prophets. This vision is entitled
“The Bridge to Christ”. It consists of the serpent wound about
a winged staff, from which sunlight shines forth, while at the
bottom an open cornucopia pours out the blessings of life.
Represented in this vision is the fulfillment of Moses’
prophecy of the serpent raised on the cross through the
Resurrection of Christ, and the resulting benefits flowing to
The Genealogy of
This is symbolized by
the crescent moon, symbol of Gabriel, shining over the Waters
of Life, reminding us that through the messenger Gabriel who
reigns over all birth, Jesus finally came forth from the blood
line of the generations.
The Lily of the
The Lily in formalized
character symbolizes the conception of the Christ Child.
Gabriel, the announcer, is always shown bearing the Blossoming
The Star of the
The actual birth of
Jesus is symbolized here by the six-rayed star called the Star
of David, which is the correct one to use in symbolizing the
The Star of the
This symbol completes
the Old Testament and the Childhood of Jesus. This star is the
five-pointed star, or Star of Jacob, which is always used as
the symbol of the star which guided the Three Wise Men to the
The Calling of the
The upright Cross of
Christ appears with two fish hanging from its arms, reminding
us that Christ first called two fishermen to become His
of the Word
The Shepherd’s Staff and
Star of Christ are seen in front of The Book of the Word of
God.This symbolizes the many sermons, teachings and parables
of Christ. The Alpha and the Omega represent Christ’s presence
from the beginning through all eternity.
The Entry into
This displays the
crossed palms in front of the gate to Jerusalem, reminding us
of the triumphal entry of Christ.
The Crowning with
The thorny crown is
shown surrounding the bursting rose which is the symbol of
Christ’s Love and Courage.
The Agony on the
This is described by the
sponge of vinegar held high on the point of the spear,
reminding us that Christ sought no relief from His suffering.
The central Cross of
Christ is shown bursting forth triumphantly over the hill of
This symbol is seven
cloven flames, reminding us of the flames of the Holy Spirit
descending upon the Community of the Apostles.
The First Deeds of
This is represented by
the fine old symbol of the Ship of the Church. The ship
appears filled with the Community of the Twelve Apostles
riding over the Seas of the Waters of Life. The Ship is
carried by the sail attached to the cross-shaped mast which
bears the Light of the World as its masthead.
The Epistles are
represented by the symbol for Paul, consisting of the Sword of
the Spirit planted point down and forming the Cross in front
of the Epistles.
Missionary Acts of the Apostles
These acts are
symbolized by the upright cross marching through the desert
lands and sheltered by the large scallop shell. The scallop
shell signifies not only Baptism, but placed over the cross it
reminds us of the Missionary Impulse. The early Christians
used large white shells from the shores of the Mediterranean
to shield their heads from the glare of the sun in the way
that white helmets are worn today by people in these desert
The Messages to the
Church Down Through the Ages
This Revelation symbol
shows the seven candlesticks standing for the Seven Epochs
that are to be throughout the History of Christianity. They
are arranged in front of the Cross of Christ, who in each age
remains with mankind to inspire the work of the Church.
symbol of the series is the last one appearing in Revelation.
It consists of a tall palm tree, which is the tree of
Martyrdom and of Life, bearing twelve manners of fruit and
leaves for the Healing of the Nations. It is seen growing from
the Waters of the River of Life flowing across the bottom.
The Entrance Rose
The final window of the
series is seen above the front entrance from the outside and
above the balcony from the Sanctuary. With its rich blue
intricate field, and the great symbol of the Cross of the
Resurrection formed of Blossoming White Lily-like Arms
displayed across the center of the window.
This most important
symbol is placed in the center of the Church at the main