Preserving History Through Stained Glass: The Battle Creek Tabernacle Project

houston stained glass church project tabernacle

Preserving History Through Stained Glass: The Battle Creek Tabernacle Project

At Houston Stained Glass, we recently had the privilege of working on a project that touched our hearts deeply. Creating a breathtaking stained glass window for the Battle Creek Tabernacle was more than just another assignment for us. This was an opportunity to blend art, history, and faith into a radiant masterpiece. Our journey with the Tabernacle was a poignant one, and we’re excited to share the story of this meaningful project.
battle creek tabernacle church mi

A Captivating Legacy

The Battle Creek Tabernacle boasts a rich and storied history that spans over 150 years. The church’s journey began in 1852 when Joseph Bates arrived in Battle Creek, Michigan, to establish a Seventh-day Adventist presence.

The first worship service, attended by eight people, was held in 1853. Over time, the congregation grew, and the first church building was constructed in 1855. Known as “The House of Prayer,” it was a modest structure, yet it marked the beginning of an enduring legacy.

The subsequent years witnessed the construction of a series of church buildings. The second church, which featured separate entrances for men and women, played a significant role in the formation of the Seventh-day Adventist name and organization. Two buildings were also sadly destroyed by fires in 1902 and 1922. These milestones reflect the church’s rich history and resilience as a community.
stained glass windows battle creek church

The Decision to Enhance the Stained Glass

As the Battle Creek Tabernacle’s history continued to evolve, the decision to add a new stained glass window became a meaningful one. The church understood the importance of preserving its heritage while injecting a fresh sense of vibrancy and spirituality. The new stained glass would not only be a work of art but also a bridge between the church’s remarkable past and its future.

The Tabernacle’s decision to embark on this project was deeply rooted in the desire to create a spiritual centerpiece that would inspire and uplift the congregation. Stained glass has a unique way of infusing spaces with color, light, and spirituality, making it an excellent choice for a church with such a rich history.
houston stained glass design battle creek

A Creative Journey

With the decision made, our team at Houston Stained Glass eagerly embarked on a creative journey that would seamlessly blend the church’s remarkable history with the artistry of stained glass. This was more than just a creative endeavor; it was a testament to the enduring legacy of the Battle Creek Tabernacle. Our artisans, well-versed in the art of stained glass, understood the weight of the task.

We began with design discussions that were nothing short of inspirational. The church had a clear vision, and we were determined to translate it into stained glass. The selected design was a composition titled “The Rescue” by renowned painter Nathan Greene. Our artisans worked closely with the church to ensure that the delicate details and thought-provoking imagery were expertly rendered in stained glass. Given that the original painting was in watercolor on canvas, our team carefully recalibrated each hue, enriching the tones to create a deeper, more saturated palette.

This part of the process was critical because the right selection and translation of the artwork into stained glass is what brings the piece to life. It’s not merely a representation; it’s a manifestation of the church’s faith and the stories it wishes to convey through this art form.

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Our Process

Our process was meticulous. Each step, from the initial design discussions to the meticulous installation, had a profound sense of purpose. We understood that this project was not just about creating a beautiful stained glass window; it was about preserving the history and spirit of the Battle Creek Tabernacle.

As our artisans carefully sculpted and assembled the stained glass pieces, we were aware that this window would soon become a testament to the church’s enduring history. It’s a symbol of the church’s unwavering faith and a reflection of its storied past. Every moment was about ensuring that the past was not just acknowledged but also carried forward into the future.
battle creek tabernacle exterior

Structural Considerations

The sheer scale of this project presented unique structural challenges. To fill the space on the wall, the stained glass needed to be several feet tall and wide. With a weight of around 1,000 pounds, it was clear that careful planning was required to ensure the window’s structural integrity and secure installation.

Our solution involved dividing the window into ten individually framed panels. This approach allowed for a methodical installation process that ensured the window’s even distribution of weight. A custom metal frame, meticulously designed to match the existing stained glass windows in the church, held these panels securely in place. Then, steel metal plates were added to the exterior to anchor the frame to the wall.
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Backlit Lighting

But there was another crucial element that made this stained glass window truly exceptional: the illumination. Before the stained glass could be inserted into the metal frame, it needed an exquisite backlighting system. We wanted the light to shine through the glass, creating a soft, harmonious glow. We carefully wired together ten low-voltage LED panels, ensuring that they would work in harmony to illuminate the stained glass masterpiece. The LEDs were engineered to last for an impressive 100,000 hours, guaranteeing years of uninterrupted beauty.
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Hidden Wires

The addition of the backlighting system brought about a unique challenge – hiding the wires. Our goal was to maintain a seamless, immaculate aesthetic without any visible wiring on the inside of the church. To achieve this, we consulted with an on-site electrician who offered a brilliant solution.

The electrician drilled a hole through the wall, connecting the wires to the lights, and ran a conduit around the exterior of the building into the control room. This ingenious solution allowed the wiring to remain hidden from view, ensuring that the church’s interior retained its pristine appearance.
houston stained glass installation

Installation and Final Results

Once the lighting and metal framing were in place, all that remained was the installation of the stained glass. Back at our studio, we carefully packaged the panels, preparing them for transportation to the church. Upon arrival, the panels were unboxed and installed into the custom-made metal frame. Working one panel at a time, we secured each piece in place until the process was complete.

houston church stained glass battle creek

The outcome was nothing short of breathtaking. As the radiant colors were illuminated with soft, warm light, the intricate details and stunning artistry of the design came to life. The once-blank wall of the Battle Creek Tabernacle had been transformed into an enchanting work of art, a masterpiece that pays homage to the church’s legacy while projecting its values into the future.

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We were deeply honored to be part of this extraordinary project, knowing that it would be admired for generations to come as a magnificent addition to the Battle Creek Tabernacle’s storied legacy. This project was a heartfelt tribute to the church’s history and a celebration of its enduring faith. It serves as a radiant reminder that history and creativity can beautifully intertwine, creating something truly exceptional. The new stained glass window is not just a work of art; it’s a testament to the timeless spirit of the Battle Creek Tabernacle.

Martin Faith is the founder and owner of Houston Stained Glass. Martin has been cultivating his skills as a stained glass artisan for over 30 years, passing on his knowledge and expertise to his team so that, together, they can create the most beautiful stained glass windows the world has ever seen. Martin's initial education in the trade took place in Glasgow, Scotland, the stained glass capitol of the world. He is an expert in the history of stained glass, its evolution, methods for conservation, and its many different styles and forms, including art deco, prairie, Greene & Greene, art nouveau, Mackintosh, floral, mission, beveled, and contemporary. Over the years, Martin's company has produced thousands of stained glass windows, which includes custom creations made for homes, churches, and commercial buildings located all throughout the Houston metro area.

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