"The Way of the Cross" stained glass window was installed at the entrance of Bethany's Old Main building on Thursday, March 13, 2015. The Bethany High School classes of 1952 and 1953 donated funds to create and install this precious piece to campus. It is titled "The Way of the Cross" because it depicts the life of Christ in the artwork with his birth, death on the cross, and resurrection. The classes wanted to donate the window in honor of their Bethany education, and to serve as a reminder to all the students, faculty, and staff that the College's mission of the "One Thing Needful," which is the saving Gospel of Christ, is at the heart and center of a Bethany education.
The story of how the window came to be...
The creation and donation of the window began with an idea in 2012 when the high school class of 1952 was holding its 60th reunion during Bethany's Fall Festival – A Homecoming Weekend. Alumni Harold Burgdorf and Harold Theiste from the Class of 1952 told me their classmates were interested in donating funding to provide something to the campus and sought ideas.
Joining with Daniel Mundahl, Vice President for Finance and Administration, we set about the task of coming up with ideas by walking around the campus in an attempt to identify needs. We discovered several possible projects, such as landscaping or outdoor features, but after walking past the Jesus-Mary-Martha stained glass window (Luke 10:38-42) in Old Main,
I knew Bob Vogel of Stained Glass Studios in St. Peter, Minnesota, reported the idea for the window to him, and discussed the details of the project. Vogel needed an artistic design to serve as a template for the stained glass window, and he connected the team with his son, Alex Vogel, a talented artist from Colorado. Alex developed a design and we showed it to Burgdorf and Theiste. The depiction of the birth, death, and resurrection was excellent, but before production would begin, the team sought the approval of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod, the church body that owns and operates Bethany.
The cost for the design, creation and installation of the window would be roughly $10,000. The Class of 1952 felt they needed another partner to help make the window a reality, and Theiste had been sharing the idea for the project with members of the Bethany High School Class of 1953. Many he spoke with showed a strong interest in being a part of the project, and after a presentation showing the design to the Class of 1953 at their 60th reunion in September 2013, they unanimously agreed to help make this window a reality. It took more than three years to organize both classes and raise the funds needed to create and install the window.
Once the funds were raised, artist Alex Vogel enlarged his design to the full 12 by 5 feet actual size of the window and then sent it to his father Bob in St. Peter. After reviewing the design, Bob Vogel determined it would take thirteen pieces of glass to create the window. He obtained the special glass from a company in Lansing, Michigan. The glass was sent to Alex in Colorado where he painted it and drew the faces. He then sent the finished product back to Stained Glass Studios in St. Peter where Bob cut and cooked the glass into the final pieces. It took about six months to prepare the glass and another week to install it at Bethany. Mark Hall, a friend and installer of large glass from Kasota, Minnesota, helped to ensure the final product was completed properly.
The window was formally dedicated to the glory of God on September 20, 2015, after the Sunday worship service during Bethany's Fall Festival weekend. All members from the Classes of 1952 and 1953 were invited back to participate in the dedication and celebrate making their gift a reality, and many came. The dedication ceremony was officiated by Bethany Chaplain Don Moldstad, and a brunch was held afterwards. Speakers there were Bethany President Gene Pfeifer, Harold Burgdorf and I.
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