OUR SANCTUARY CREATION WINDOW

INSPIRED BY THE FIRST BOOK OF GENESIS


THE CONCEPT

Creation WindowIn the beginning was the Word,” reads the Gospel of John. The “Creation Window” is the embodiment of this Word. The window is placed on the east wall, the direction of the Holy City of Jerusalem, from which the Resurrection of Christ and its promise to all people has come. The image of the Spirit and the cross below the cosmic drama of creation unite the Three Persons of the Trinity in one dynamic vision, which embodies the congregation’s name, “Holy Trinity.”

As the sun rises each morning on the east wall of the church and its rays enter the sanctuary through the vibrant panes of glass, God again separates the light from the darkness and Creation is renewed. In glass, plaster and wood, God’s Word made manifest “in the Beginning” is newly proclaimed each day in the great “Creation Window” in Thousand Oaks, California.

THE ARTIST

“Whether public, corporate or liturgical, there exists the potential for the creation of a spiritual oasis; a space conducive to calm, healing and personal growth.”

– Mark Eric Gulsrud


THE CREATION

The great east window of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church was designed and constructed by Mark Eric Gulsrud, a 1972 graduate of California Lutheran University (CLU). Gulsrud also installed windows in the Preus-Brandt Forum and the Samuelson Chapel at CLU, as well as Ascension Lutheran Church in Thousand Oaks. At CLU, he studied under art professors Dr. Jerry Slattum and Sir Bernardus Weber. Slattum is the designer of Holy Trinity’s altar, pulpit, cross and baptismal font.

The great east window of Holy Trinity Lutheran Church was designed and constructed by Mark Eric Gulsrud, a 1972 graduate of California Lutheran University (CLU). Gulsrud also installed windows in the Preus-Brandt Forum and the Samuelson Chapel at CLU, as well as Ascension Lutheran Church in Thousand Oaks. At CLU, he studied under art professors Dr. Jerry Slattum and Sir Bernardus Weber. Slattum is the designer of Holy Trinity’s altar, pulpit, cross and baptismal font.

Today, Mr. Gulsrud works out of his studio in Tacoma, Washington. In addition to installations in churches, his work has been placed in public and private buildings throughout the west coast.

While lesser in volume than those of Samuelson Chapel, this leaded glass window is certainly one of Mr. Gulsrud’s finest designs. At its installation in 1983, Gulsrud stressed that the shapes and colors of his windows are meant to be open to the interpretation of each viewer. He mentioned, however, that the thirty-four foot high window of Holy Trinity took its inspiration from the first chapter of Genesis, in the moment of Creation when the cosmos was “without form and void” and all was darkness. No matter how one interprets the window, it is hard to deny that it is spectacular in representing this event.

Orbs of planets and other heavenly bodies swirl overhead in vast confusion as shafts of light dart about in the great contest to separate the light from the darkness and the waters above from the waters below. At the bottom of the window, rays of light morph into streams of living water. In a huge arc that extends from one side of the window to the other, rising out of the chaos, is the brown, bountiful earth, which swells to dominate the scene. Plunging down through this drama is the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove. The Spirit is layered on the glass, depicted with wood and plaster as a silhouette against the rest of the image, and impresses itself upon the congregation not only by its dynamism but also its potency. Its outstretched wings encompass the whole of the chancel, where the “mysteries of Heaven” – the preaching of the Word and the Eucharist – are celebrated.

The dove also embraces the cross, which is the instrument by which God has reconciled heaven and earth. The outstretched arms of the cross echo the widespread wings of the Spirit to encompass the whole world, its vertical limbs uniting heaven and earth, and conducting the Grace of God from on high to those seated in the pews below.

Submitted by Ernst F. Tonsing, Ph.D.

Samuelson Chapel, California Lutheran University