uuworld.org: liberal religion and life

Laurie Bieze's stained glass window

An origins story in glass

Laurie Bieze's stained glass windows tell an evolutionary creation story.
By Tim Hirsch
Winter 2013 11.4.13

Printer friendly version


In 1981, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, purchased a Late Gothic Revival building on the National Register of Historic Places from a Lutheran congregation. The one catch: the Lutherans wanted to take their stained-glass windows with them, and so they agreed to replace them with clear glass when they left.

Four years later, member Laurie Bieze, a local stained-glass artist, worked with her middle school religious education class to design a chalice window, the first of several stained-glass windows she has made for the church. Next she created and installed a series of five windows on the north side of the sanctuary, completing one each year as her annual contribution. Two clear glass windows on either side of her series remained, and members of the congregation commissioned her to complete these as well. Viewed together, the seven windows create a physical landscape of earth, wind, water, and sky.

On September 9, 2012, Bieze’s latest window was installed. Origins of Life (above) fills a round space seven feet in diameter on the south side of the sanctuary. The window connects the images of a gentle blue planet, depicted in the facing seven-window series, to images of the powerful creative forces that caused us to evolve and formed the landscapes in which we live our lives.

UUs and visitors entering the space between her seven gentle landscapes and the roiling images of Earth’s creation testify to a new, visceral awareness of their place in creation’s story.

This article appeared in the Winter 2013 issue of UU World (page 11). Photograph (above) © Mary Ellen Alea. See sidebar for links to related resources.

Comments powered by Disqus

more spirit
more ideas
more life