Church History
 
Stained Glass Windows and Kneeling Cushions 
 
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Stained Glass Windows History

The original windows of the church were Gothic stained glass. In 1925, the deteriorating windows were replaced with Florentine glass, later painted green in 1936 to remove glare. In 1950, the present stained glass windows were financed and dedicated as memorials to leading members of the congregation. Each member or family is named in the lower panel of each window.
 

The mystery window is in the wall behind the organ. Originally, this was simply a wall at the east end of the building with a large window. It is now covered on the outside by the education building and on the inside by shutters, plywood and building paper. We are not sure if it is from the original Gothic window design of 1886 or the Florentine windows of 1925. In either case, the window has not been functional since the installation of the organ in 1908.

The present stained glass windows were installed In September of 1950 at the time J.D.F. Williams was pastor. Bishop William C. Martin dedicated the windows on November 12th on the observance of the centennial of the First Methodist Church in Belton. The symbolic design of the windows was drawn specifically for our church by Black Art Glass Company of San Antonio.
  
 History of the Kneeling Cushions 
In the spring of 1976, just after celebrating our 125th anniversary in 1975, amid discussions of, things to be done to brighten our sanctuary, several ladies thought the kneeling cushions on the communion rail should be replaced. But, as Mrs. Winnie Lewis pointed out, we wanted something special, something uniquely ours. “Let’s do something in needlepoint”, she suggested. Mrs. Edie Sunday suggested we do our cushions to match the designs in our church windows. Since there were only eleven windows, it was decided to include the cross and flame, the symbol of the United Methodist Church since 1968, as the twelfth cushion. Using Mrs. Joyce Utsler’s collection of drawings of the window symbols, Mrs. Sunday traced these drawings on graph paper and then transferred the design to needlepoint canvas. Mrs. Winnie Mackie of Cottage Needlecraft in Temple, Texas and Mrs. Ruth Barcuch helped select colors which most nearly reflected the windows when the sun is shining brightly through them.

 

The following women worked on the needlepoint cushions:  

Mrs. Ruby Proctor       Mrs. Robert Ray
Mrs. Madge Matthews Mrs. Winnie Lewis
Mrs. Melody Cowan Mrs. Nan Ray
Mrs. Lila Barnes Mrs. Jane Wade
Mrs. Myrna Johnson Mrs. Caroline Bay
Mrs. Ellen Malone Mrs. Mary Cannon
Mrs. Joyce Elker Mrs. Ruth Barcuch
Mrs. Elizabeth Cowan Mrs. Ruby Cameron
Mrs. Thelma Outlaw 

The centered Quatrefoil and square outlines a Christian symbol. A gold cross on either side of the symbol serves as a highlight to the center design. The ruby quatrefoil and square is emblematic of the gospel according to the four apostles – Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Three shades of blue radiate from the center of the design. These kneeling cushions were dedicated in 1977.
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 In memory of Jack and Mamye White by their children
 
 
 
 The basic component of bread, a sheaf of wheat, is used for the next symbol with a banner bearing the words “I am the bread of life.” The stepped cross symbolized faith, hope, and love.
 
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In memory of Dr. and Mrs. Taylor Hudson by Mrs. R.R. Penn
 
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In memory of Mrs. Mary Jane Phialmee by Mrs. Travis Hall
The traditional Celtic cross represents a symbol of eternal life, attained by faith in the resurrected Christ.  The Eastern Orthodox Cross is the companion cross. Its upper two arms represent the sign “Jesus, King of the Jews” and the cross bar to which Jesus’ arms are nailed.  The lower bar, where Jesus’ feet were nailed, is slanted because it is a tradition of the Russian Church that His legs were of unequal length. 
 
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In Memory of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Austin by his daughters.
 
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In memory of A.H. Ranne by Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Merriman
 
The open Bible reminds us that Christians are individually responsible for reading and interpreting the scriptures.  The Chi-Rho representing the first letters of the words “Jesus Christ” in Greek, were chosen because it is the cross that represents words, thus making it an appropriate companion for the Word of God, our Bible.

 

 
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In memory of F. B Russell by Mrs. F. B. Russell
 
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In memory of A. H. Ranne by
Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Merriman
 
Jesus as the Lamb of God. Carrying a banner with a cross on it and surrounded by the three-rayed nimbus, the lamb symbolizes God the Son, the risen and triumphant Savior.  The Anchor cross reminds us that Christ, the sacrificial lamb, is the anchor of our hope in salvation.
 
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In memory of Mr. and Mrs. W. F Cowan by their children.
 
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In memory of Loved Ones by
Mr. and Mrs. Harold Malone

 

A descending dove represents the Holy Spirit.  The origin of the representation is traced back to the baptism of Jesus by John the Baptist.  The dove’s head is surrounded by a three-rayed nimbus, a symbol of divinity.  A Celtic Cross was chosen to companion the dove as a symbol of eternal life.
 
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In memory of J. W. Dice
by Mrs. Dice and Wesley
 
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In memory of L.J Howard by
Mrs. L.J Howard and children, Ronald T. Smith, and Charlsey Smith Samuels

 

 
The Chalice is symbolic of the blood which Jesus shed for us, also reminds us of the centrality of the Eucharist to our Christian faith.  Cushion features a modified Celtic Cross as a companion cross.
 
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In memory of James E. Ramsey by Mr. and Mrs. A.T. Van Ness
 
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In honor of Mrs. Joyce Elker by the Kitchen Class
The Latin Cross with budded arms representing God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The three-step base represents faith, hope, and love.  This style of cross is traditionally thought to be the one upon which Jesus was crucified. It is sometimes called the Cross of Victory.  The companion cross Crosslet, symbolizes the spread of Christianity to the whole world.
 
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In memory of Mary and Coleman Eads by Mr. and Mrs. George C. Eads
 
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 In memory of Mr. and Mrs. J.E. Chaffin and Mr. and Mrs. Sam Whitley by Mr. and Mrs. Elmo Whitley
 
 
 

 

The budded cross and the monogram IHS, standing for the Latin phrase, “Iesus Hominum Salvator,” which means “Jesus, Savior of men.”
 
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In memory of Dr. Jarrod Law by Ruth Mildred Schmieder
 
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In memory of Robert Holmes by Jim and Anita Holmes
 
The budded cross and lilies describe our hope in the resurrection.  When the bulb is buried in the earth, out of it grows foliage and a new bulb.  This symbolizes the gaining of eternal life over the death of the body.  The budded cross received this name because of its extensions which are capped with what appears to be a tree bud. 
 
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In memory of Lusk by Gladys Cline and Merle Whitlow
 
 
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In memory of John Barcuch by Mrs. Ruth Barcuch and her daughters
 
The cross and crown at its center symbol has several interpretations.  One is that it represents Christ as Lord and King of the world.  Another comes from Revelations – that there is a reward (crown) for a life of Christian sacrifice.  The equal arms of the Greek cross symbolize Jesus as ruler of the four corners of the earth.
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In memory of Dr. H.C Ghent by their children
 
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In memory of Fred E. Lewis by Mrs. Fred E. Lewis

 

The Hand of God is both an Old and New Testament symbol for God, the Father.  The hand descending from a cloud is the symbol for the power of God. 
 
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In memory of Jack C. Keetch by Mr. and Mrs. D. C. Keetch
 
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In honor of Edie Sunday by the members of First United Methodist Church 

 

 
The last cushion centers attention on the new (since 1968) symbol of the United Methodist Church, the cross and flame.  The cross represents the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The flame represents the Holy Spirit and also of John Wesley and his experience of having “his heart strangely warmed” at Aldersgate.