About Our Windows

Our little church has remained steadfast for almost 165 years.  In what started as a farming community, our simple church has evolved based upon necessity.  Improvements were functional-heat, Sunday School rooms, a basement and the church manse.  Farmers were, after all, quite practical.  So, when our member Mahala Rankin, suggested to our session that we consider installing stained glass windows to help brighten and beautify our church, none of us realized just what a special project this would become or just how much joy our windows would bring to all those who have worshiped or visited here.

In 1980, Gordon and Mahala Rankin’s only son was tragically killed in a car accident less than a half mile from home.  The loss affected many people in our small community and our tight knit church suffered with and for the Rankin family.  It was on a Sunday morning in church shortly after Paul’s death, that Mahala reflected on how dark and dreary our church sanctuary could be.  The emptiness matched the emptiness in her heart and she wondered if God was really here in the stark, white Lisbon church.  She began to muse on how the church could be brightened up with colored windows and recalled a line from an old church bulletin: “God has no hands but our hands to do his work today.”  Mahala used her hands.

In December 1981, Mahala wrote to the Session and asked permission to create a decorative stained glass effect on our windows using a technique she had learned at a hobby shop.  There was no cutting and soldering of pieces of colored glass, rather the application of liquid leading to plain glass followed by a treatment of pewter wax.  Then the spaces were filled in with a colored epoxy called Liquid Glass.

The Session approved the suggestion and the window project was officially born.  Elaine and Harold Delfosse, Arlene Kowalski, and Rose Jacobs all added their time and talent to the project.  Arleen was involved in planning with the Session.  Elaine Delfosse created the overall design of the window and the sketches for the themes of the windows.  Her husband, Harold, who was a draftsman, enlarged the designs to fit the church windows.  Rose Jacobs had a great interest in art and did painting.  She helped greatly in the staining process.  All in all, the heart of the project came from Mahala.  Many hours in what became a labor of love for all those people involved, went into our beautiful windows.

It took almost 2 years to complete our beautiful windows, truly a labor of love!  We have been blessed to be given this wonderful gift by a few dedicated members of our church.  Thanks to their vision, we have been able to enjoy their creations for over 40 years now.  Visitors often comment on the uniqueness of the windows and they do, indeed, brighten not only our sanctuary, but our hearts as well.

Mahala once said that “I know Paul would have wanted me to do this.”  Because she and the others who created these windows did, we have all been blessed and touched by the hand and heart or God in our little country church.

There are not enough “Thank You’s” that can be said to these creative people.  Their legacy will live in this church and our hearts forever.  If you ever have a chance to visit us in Sussex, Wisconsin, we invite you to stop in and see our beautiful windows.  You will be heartily greeted by all and you can enjoy the return to a more simple, peaceful time!  May God richly bless you all in the love we have experienced!

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