Stained-glass windows can be found in many places around the world, often in medieval churches.
The purpose of the coloured windows is not to allow people to see outside but to beautify buildings, control light, and oftentimes to tell a story through narrative or symbolism.
In June 2019, the new Aboriginal Lutheran church at Engawala, 250 kilometres east of Alice Springs, was opened. But it is not yet finished. The congregation wanted to make visible what is important to them in worship. They asked a small group of artistically talented community workers, led by development worker Jeff Iversen, to design two colourful windows for their church. They were to represent the two sacraments of Lutheran faith: baptism and the Lord’s supper. Finally, after months of painstaking work, two stained-glass windows were placed in the wall above the altar and between the artistic cross of joy.
It is something special when the congregation is gathered for worship and the sun is shining from the east and its rays illuminate the two sacramental windows. These windows become even more effective when both sacraments are actually celebrated in the service. Even someone who cannot read and write understands what is shown in the windows: holy baptism and the sacrament of the altar.
Michael Jacobsen is the FRM Support Pastor for the Alyawarr Language Area.