The Christ Window
The Christ Window represents Jesus' baptism, ministry, sacrifice, and Ascension to God's glory or Paradise.
The upper part of the window, above the image of Jesus Christ, shows a descending dove representing the Holy Spirit and Jesus’s baptism. Jesus’ image represents his ministry on earth. Surrounding his image is a crown of thorns symbolic of the crown of thorns he wore as he was crucified. The lower portion of the window shows three Birds of Paradise flowers representing the Holy Trinity and Christ’s ascension to Paradise.
The image of Christ, also referred to as “the Sallman Head,” was first conceived by Finnish-Swedish immigrant Warner Sallman during prayer in 1924 as a charcoal rendering for the cover of the Magazine of the Evangelical Covenant Church, Chicago Illinois. This was followed by the first painting in 1935 at the request of the students of North Park University Theological Seminary of Chicago, Illinois. Thereafter, he did a painting for the Church of God, Anderson, Indiana, whose leaders persuaded him to market his paintings and commissioned the firm of Kriebel and Bates to market over 100 of his works. Thereafter, a Lutheran Church organization formed “card-carrying’ Christians and distributed the image in wallet-size cards throughout the United States to counter the rise of the communist movement whose members carried Communist Party Cards. During WWII, the Baptist Church distributed over 100 million cards to members of our Armed Forces and those of other nations.
The image of “The Head of Christ” was specifically incorporated in the St. Clement’s window at the request of Mrs. Dorothy Owings who donated the window and who grew up in Antioch Illinois, where Warner Sallman’s family lived. She personally knew one of Warner’s sons, who was a schoolmate of hers.
It can be said that the window is also a tribute to Warner Sallman who is considered to be the best-known religious artist of the 20th century through the above and other paintings such as Christ at the Door, Christ in Gethsemane, The Lord is my Shepherd, Christ our Pilot, and many others.
The window was donated by Mrs. Dorothy Owens in memory of her parents, Fred and Mary Sterbenz.
It was dedicated Dec. 7 2008