1958, it was decided to establish a Parochial Mission of Calvary Episcopal Church in Northwest Rochester. After several meetings, discussion and investigation the latter was settled. A 4 ½ acre site was purchased and construction began in July 1960. The cornerstone was laid in October 1960 as part of the centennial observances of the founding of Calvary Church. The Rt. Rev. Hamilton H. Kellogg, Episcopal Bishop of Minnesota, and The Rev. O. Wendell McGinnis, Rector of Calvary, officiated. The Rev. Peter H. Paulson was Assistant Rector. The mission church celebrated its opening services October 6, 1961, conducted by Rev. McGinnis and The Rev. Robert D. Fenwick. The two rectors continued to perform the services for both churches for several years. The building was dedicated October 29, 1961, by Bishop Kellogg, saying “The new church can become as deep a pillar in the community as we plant it.”

In 1963, the Mission Church of Calvary Episcopal Church sought the approval of Bishop Kellogg to become a separate parish and was granted. On January 1, 1964, the church became officially known as Saint Luke’s and The Rev. Robert D. Fenwick became the first rector and conducted his first service on January 12. The Articles of Incorporation were filed on January 3, the by-laws were accepted at the first annual meeting on January 19, and Saint Luke’s became the 151st Episcopal Church established in Minnesota.

Stained Glass Windows

The stained glass window project began in 1994 when a generous gift was given to St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in memory of a church member. The family requested that this memorial be applied to the purchase of a stained glass window. As there was no plan in place for windows at that time, the Vestry appointed a committee to study the idea.

The committee began its work by visiting many area churches to look at stained glass windows and to evaluate different styles, colors, and themes. The goal of the committee was to install beautiful, colorful windows that would enhance the sense of spirituality in our sanctuary, but at the same time fit in with the contemporary architecture of the church. In 1995 Judy Jennings, a stained glass artist from Winnipeg, Canada, was invited to create the design.

The members of the committee chose the seasons of the church year as the theme and wanted the seasons reflected in symbols, which would lead worshipers to deeper thoughts and ideas. Jennings viewed her task as “combining these concepts with the art of stained glass, sometimes defined as painting with light, to create an environment that is both contemplative and joyful.” The task was challenging because the windows in the sanctuary and narthex are comprised of many vertical panels. Overcoming this problem, Jennings designed the seasons and their symbols to move across the windows in a horizontal fashion, merging one season into the next through the use of color and texture in glass. The stained glass committee enthusiastically approved her design, and she was commissioned to begin the work.

The first set of windows (Easter) was installed in 1996. Over the next few years as memorial funds became available, Jennings would be asked to begin work on the next set.

The seasons represented in the windows are Pentecost, Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Holy Week, and Easter. The windows, except for Pentecost, were designed so that the east and west windows of each season were installed in mirror image. The glass was purchased for both windows each time so that they would match perfectly. According to Jennings, St. Luke’s may have been the first church in the world to have mirror image stained glass windows.

The windows were installed between July 1996 and April 2001. The richness of color, varied texture of glass, and brilliance of light coming through the stained glass windows bring beauty and spirituality to St. Luke’s. The windows were dedicated on June 3, 2001.

Symbols in the Fellowship Hall

We’re glad you asked. Prior to the 20th Century, few people could read. As a result, the Church used pictures, stained glass windows and  other objects to remind people of important facts about the Christian Story and Life.

The plaques in the Fellowship Hall were designed by Walter Potermain, a native of Rochester and long time member of Calvary Episcopal Church.  Mr. Potermain, who was a well-known sculptor and artist in the Rochester area, planned to make the plaques as a gift to St. Luke’s after it became a new parish in 1961.  However, after completing just two of the plaques, Mr. Portermain died unexpectedly in 1965.  His wife and daughter, wishing to follow through with the project, finished the carvings themselves by using his notes and drawings.  The plaques were hung originally on the walls behind the organ and choir but were moved to the Fellowship Hall in 2003 for better visibility. 

Explanation of symbols

Red Cross of St. George – Church of England

The red Cross of St. George on a white field is symbolic of the Church of England. The blue field in the upper left corner is the Episcopal Church.  It features a Cross of St. Andrew, in re-cognition of the fact that the first American bishop was consecrated in Scotland. This cross is made up of nine cross-lets or mini crosses, which represent the nine dioceses that met in Philadelphia in 1789 to form the Protestant Episcopal Church of the U.S.A.

Blue crest with gold keys – St. Peter

Referring to the keys mentioned in the New Testament symbolizing that St. Peter was given the Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.

Shell – The Pilgrim

It is said that this symbol is a metaphor, in that its lines represent the different routes traveled by pilgrims from around the World, which all lead to one point, the tomb of Saint James in Santiago de Compostela. The Scallop Shell can be found on the milestone markers, guiding pilgrims in the right direction.

Crest with boat – St. Jude

Could refer to St.  Jude’s profession as a Fisherman, but also represents the church, which St. Jude, also known as Thaddeus,  carried to many ports during his missionary journeys. 

Chalice – The Last Supper

The Holy Chalice, also known as the Holy Grail, is in Christian tradition the vessel that Jesus used at the Last Supper to serve wine. The Synoptic Gospels refer to Jesus sharing a cup of wine with the Apostles, saying it was the covenant in his blood.

Red crest with gold cross – St. Andrew

The Flag of Scotland, called The Saltire or Saint Andrew’s Cross, is a blue field with a white saltire. According to tradition, it represents Saint Andrew, who is supposed to have been crucified on a cross of that form (called a crux decussata) at Patras, Greece.

Hand – Hand of God

The Hamsa Hand is an ancient Middle Eastern amulet symbolizing the Hand of God. In all faiths it is a protective sign.   

Three fish – Early Christian symbol

In the years following the ascension of the resurrected Jesus to heaven, the Christian church grew rapidly. Christians soon found themselves to be the subjects of persecution by both the Romans and the Jews. In many locales, it became dangerous to be known as a Christian. When two strangers met and thought maybe they were fellow believers, one of them would draw, on the ground, the upper half of the fish symbol. Recognizing the symbol, the strangerWould add a second curved line and complete the drawing of a fish.Three fish together symbolize the three persons in one God,God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit.

Crown – Christ the King

The Feast of Christ the King was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 as an antidote to secularism, a way of life which leaves God out of man’s thinking and living and organizes his life as if God did not exist. The feast is intended to proclaim in a striking and effective manner Christ’s royalty over individuals, families, society, governments, and nations.

Lilies – Easter

Known to Christians as the “white-robed apostle of hope,” the Easter lily has  been a religious symbol since the birth of the Christian religion. The flower is even mentioned in the Bible quite a few times. It is said that when Eve shed tears of remorse as she and Adam left the Garden of Eden, white lilies sprang up where her tears fell.

Blue crest with money bags – St. Matthew

Matthew was an apostle of Jesus Christ and author of the Gospel of Matthew. He was called Levi in the Gospel of Mark and the Gospel of Luke. Matthew was a tax collector, an employee of the “evil” Roman Empire. This led to his being despised by fellow Jews. He would give up tax collecting after being called by Jesus to be His disciple.

Nails – Nail of the Cross

As we are told, Jesus was crucified by his hands and feet with three nails: two were put through his hands and one through his legs. 

Purple crest with silver cross – St. Philip

Following the resurrection of Jesus, Philip was sent with his sister Mariamne and Bartholomew to preach in Greece, Phrygia, and Syria.   Through a miraculous healing and his preaching, Philip converted the wife of the proconsul of the city. This enraged the proconsul, and he had Philip, Bartholomew, and Mariamne all tortured. Philip and Bartholomew were then crucified upside-down, and Philip continued to preach from his cross. As a result of Philip’s preaching,  the crowd released Bartholomew from his cross, but Philip insisted that they not release him, and Philip died on the cross. 

Fleur-de-lis – Holy Trinity

Due to its three “petals,” the fleur-de-lis has been used to represent the Holy Trinity. It is also an emblem of royalty given to the Virgin Mary as Queen of Heaven.

Red crest with saw – St. James the Less

This symbol refers to the tradition that St. James was cast down from a pinnacle of the temple in Jerusalem, stoned and sawn asunder by the Jews.

Whoever you are, wherever you are in your faith journey, you are welcome in this place

St. Luke’s Episcopal Church 1884 22nd Street NW, Rochester, MN 55901
(507) 288-2469 stlukes@stlukesepiscopal.org

Office Hours: Monday – Friday, 8am to 5pm

Please contact dianeomara@charter.net with website changes.

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