Our history window revealed

Our history window revealed

by Joan Williams Hoar

The history window, located in Stephenson Hall, is a “table of contents” for the history of First Presbyterian Church Tulsa.

Images of early Tulsans whose commitment to the community are shown. Images of the physical edifices trace the growth of First Presbyterian Church. Images of important symbols tell the story of church history in Indian Territory.

But, what about the story of the window itself? How did this beautiful window come about?

In 2008, Dr. Jim Miller announced a “God sized” vision for First Church. We were encouraged to take a close look at the project, one that required building renovation and new space designed to facilitate and accommodate needs for the future.

Committees were put in place, including a Stained Glass Window Committee. Peggy and Charlie Stephenson, Joan Williams Hoar, and staff member Elaine Horkey were named to serve on the committee chaired by Holbrook Lawson.

The committee was charged with determining designs that reflected and amplified the mission of the church. It worked closely with the Building Committee, chaired by Bob (Bobby) Pielsticker, and the Capital Campaign Steering Committee, chaired by Bob and Marcy Lawless.

“We are his house, built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.”
– Ephesians 2:20

Studio representatives and artists received renderings of contemporary worship space. And, as Holbrook explained, “contemporary” required definition and the relationship to worship space. The Willet Houser Company was selected based on submitted artistic style most appropriate for the Sanctuary windows and Stephenson Hall. Internationally recognized stained glass English artist Kenneth Crocker was designated artist for Stephenson Hall.

The church history is shown from the image of the Cross-Crosslet and J.M. Hall store at the lowest level. It travels upward to illustrate the growth of the church. The point of view of the upper image is from approximately 8th Street and Cincinnati Avenue, looking northwest. The pinnacle symbol, the Celtic cross, reminds us of our Scottish heritage and is based on the beautiful cross which hangs in the Sanctuary.

J.M. Hall and early pastors, Dr. Robert Loughridge and Dr. Charles W. Kerr  are also depicted. The printing press image represents the first book published in Indian Territory by Rev. Samuel Worcester at Park Hill. The Great Seal of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, I.T., is shown to the right of the 1900 white frame building. 

Every beautiful window in the Sanctuary or in Stephenson Hall has its own history.

About the author:
Joan Williams Hoar is the First Church historian and an elder, the chair of the Docents and History & Archives Committee, and a member since 1978. Joan has traveled the globe and her education includes Asian Studies at Sophia University in Tokyo and a master’s degree in liberal arts with an emphasis on Japanese print and literature from OU.

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