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Friday, June 19, 2015

The Rose Window of Barnard Memorial United Methodist Church

Dr. Sydney Babcock is credited with there being a "rose Window" in the west front of the Barnard Memorial United Methodist Church in Holdenville, Oklahoma. Dr. Babcock, one time pastor, and well known Methodist scholar and leader had served in WW1 in France where he fell in love with the rose windows found in many old churches there.  He dreamed, it is said, that one day he might see a church he led have such a lovely window.   The "rose window", often also called a Catherine window, is a round window with some type of spoke design in the plan.  It's name as a Catherine window is based on an early Christian saint said to have been martyred on a wheel.

The window measures approximately 14 x 25 and its classic petal shape holds ten symbols of Christianity.  In the center are three flowers which are white and resemble lilies.  Starting at the top right (when viewed from the inside) area a crown, stalks of wheat, an anchor, the Greek letter "Omega", cross, the Greek letter "alpha", the 10 commandment tablets, a cluster of grapes, an open Bible, and a descending white dove.

These are all classic Christian symbols with specific meanings dating back to the earliest days of the faith.  The lilies may signify purity but also majesty and resurrection, and is often symbolic of Christ, 'the Lily of the Valley.' The crown refers to the 'Crown of Life', the reward of the faithful after life.  The wheat is symbolic of Christ, the Gospel and the believer and it is referenced in many New Testament verses.  The anchor is a symbol of hope.  The Greek Letters refer to a statement by Christ about the 'beginning and the ending' as they are the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. The Cross is symbolic of the work of Christ in redemption. The grapes are thought to be symbolic of Holy Communion and of the blood shed by Jesus on the cross for the forgiveness of sin. Grapes are also symbolic of the fruitfulness of the Christian life (the true vine of the Gospels).  The open Bible represents truth and revelation.  The descending dove represents the Holy Spirit of God and when it holds an olive branch it also denotes peace.

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