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Great Rose Window
The great rose window at First United Methodist Church.
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Great Rose Window
Located in the sanctuary’s front wall above the chancel, the window is 26.5 feet in diameter, one of the eight largest rose windows currently in existence.
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Great Rose Window
FUMC’s gothic-style sanctuary was opened in 1955. English architectural features and stained glass artwork earned the church its reputation as the “Cathedral of the West.”
Tourists from around the world come to Lubbock to visit what is perhaps the Hub City’s most sacred work of art. The great rose window at First United Methodist Church is a stunning sight, a masterpiece of stained glass. Also called the Window of Creation, it holds a record as one of the largest rose windows on earth. Visitors and church members share a deep appreciation for not only its beauty, but for the message of hope it represents.
Located in the sanctuary’s front wall above the chancel, the window is 26.5 feet in diameter, one of the eight largest rose windows currently in existence. For many years, it was among the four largest. It has been described as an anthem of praise in art, with the sixth verse of Psalm 150 serving as its primary text: “Let everything that hath breath praise the Lord. Praise ye the Lord.” Encompassed by 16 outer circles, the central circle portrays God holding the universe in one hand. His other hand is held out in blessing, signifying His universal love and offering redemption for all.
FUMC’s gothic-style sanctuary was opened in 1955. English architectural features and stained glass artwork earned the church its reputation as the “Cathedral of the West.” The rose widow was prepared in England, shipped across the ocean in pieces, and transported to Texas, before it was finally installed in Lubbock. In the 60 years since that time, the window has set the sanctuary aglow with powerful beauty each day.
The talented hands of an Englishman named Arthur Erridge were responsible for the work. The artist’s beginnings were humble. Erridge was born in Kensington in 1899, above a livery stable where his father worked as a coachman. The world expected little from young Arthur. Even though a vicar helped secure an apprenticeship for the teenaged Erridge at an art studio, the priest didn’t see a future for the boy as an artist. “The vicar never really thought I’d make it,” Erridge later recalled, “because he didn’t think I was good enough.”
Through the following decades, Erridge proved the vicar wrong. While studying at the Central School of Arts and Crafts, he specialized in stained glass. Soon he began producing his own professional work. His powerful stained glass art appeared in churches across England and Wales. In 1949, he became an associate of the British Society of Master Glass Painters. Erridge toured the United States in 1958, visiting many of the churches where his windows helped illuminate the congregation.
“You can’t train to be an artist,” he once said. “You’ve got to be inspired, to learn by what you see and hear and do. You must draw and draw and draw. It’s a disciplined art.” Upon his early death at 62, family and friends remembered him as a kind, Christian man of exceptional talent. He was always quick to give encouragement to all those with whom his work brought him into contact. After all, he was an artist who knew very well what it meant to be underestimated in the eyes of the world.
First United Methodist Church is located at 1411 Broadway.
By Max McNabb