Stained Glass for the Battle Creek Tabernacle

stained glass battle creek tabernacle

In 2023, the historic Battle Creek Tabernacle commissioned Scottish Stained Glass to create an extraordinary 162-square-foot stained glass window for their church, complete with custom metal framing and a sophisticated backlit lighting system. Working closely with the church, our master artisans employed their expert talent to bring a moving Biblical scene to life, rendering the delicate details and thought-provoking imagery in an array of colors and meticulously sculpted stained glass.

church stained glass battle creek

Spanning approximately fifteen feet in height and fourteen feet in width, the monumental stained glass window weighed in at around 1,000 pounds. Over the course of eight months, our team leveraged decades of experience and our time-honored creative process to meticulously design, produce, and install this ambitious work of art, bringing the church’s vision vividly to life.

battle creek tabernacle church mi

History of the Battle Creek Tabernacle

The Battle Creek Tabernacle, located in Calhoun County at the meeting of the Kalamazoo and Battle Creek rivers, boasts a distinguished 150-year legacy. Since its founding in 1852, the congregation has inhabited five different structures, two of which were lost to devastating fires.  Today, the church is housed in a prominent building located on the corner of North Washington and Michigan Avenues. The building was constructed in 1926 and is recognized as an important historic landmark in Battle Creek.

stained glass windows battle creek church

Addition of Modern Stained Glass

Though the current church building has undergone numerous improvements since its construction, one particularly momentous renovation took place in 1942 with the addition of the building’s first stained-glass windows. Then, in 2023, the Tabernacle chose to build on this tradition by commissioning a new breathtaking work to adorn a soaring interior brick wall. 

Being nearly 100 years old and of the utmost historic significance, it was important to the church that the existing structures and materials be left fully intact. It simply wasn’t viable to cut a hole in the wall to create a window. Mindful of the structure’s nearly century-old history, our team devised an ingenious solution for installing the stained glass without compromising the wall’s integrity. The stained glass would be mounted on the interior of the church and illuminated with backlit lighting to mimic the look of sunlight streaming through the glass.

exterior battle creek tabernacle

Process for Creating the Stained Glass

The sheer scale of the project presented unique structural challenges. To fill the space on the wall, the stained glass needed to be several feet tall and several feet wide. This meant the window would weigh about 1000 lbs. Furthermore, it also needed to be installed at a height of about 40 ft. To evenly distribute the weight, we decided to divide the window into ten individually framed panels. This way, we could build scaffolding and mount the panels one at a time.

custom framing stained glass battle creek

To accomplish this, we needed to make a metal frame to hold the ten panels in place. We consulted a third party who performed the necessary structural calculations for us. Once we had exact measurements, we were able to fabricate a custom metal frame that matched the color of the already existing stained glass windows.

battle creek tabernacle exterior

anchoring system with 8-inch steel plates

Next, we drilled holes through the wall so that we could add eight-inch steel panels to the exterior. These would hold the metal frame in place. We rented a 60 ft extendable lift and installed the steel panels on the outside of the wall. Then, we painted over them with a special color paint to make them match the existing brick. Next, the metal framing was attached to the steel plates. This allowed the weight of the stained glass to be supported by the wall. 

the rescue nathan green

“The Rescue” by Nathan Greene

Design & Artwork 

For the window’s design, the church selected a stirring composition titled “The Rescue” by acclaimed painter Nathan Greene. With the artist’s permission, our artisans faithfully translated the nuanced imagery and colors of the original into stained glass while preserving its beauty and spirit. Because the original painting was watercolor on canvas, we paid special attention to our use of color, carefully considering how the colors would look on glass with light streaming through. Our artists carefully recalibrated each hue, expertly enriching the tones to create a deeper, more saturated palette. We took great care to explain this nuanced process to the client, ensuring they understood its purpose. 

custom church stained glass mi

LED Lighting System

Before the stained glass could be inserted into the metal frame and mounted on the wall, we needed to add backlit lighting. We wanted the light to shine through the glass and illuminate the beautiful design without having hotspots or areas where the light was too intense. To accomplish this effect, we took ten low-voltage LED panels and wired them together. We also engineered a solution that would allow a single panel to be replaced at a time, just in case one of the lights ever went out in the future. The LED’s, however, should last 100,000 hours so it will be several years before the church needs to take any action in this regard. 

Another important aspect that we had to consider was the wiring for this system. We didn’t want any of the wiring to show on the inside of the church. We consulted the onsite electrician, who devised a clever solution that allowed the wires to remain hidden. He drilled a hole through the wall, connected the wires to the lights, and then ran a conduit around the outside of the building and into the control room. This way, the wiring could be kept out of sight, allowing for a seamless, immaculate aesthetic.

stained glass installation battle creek


Once the lighting and metal framing were in place, all that was left to do was install the stained glass. Back at our studio, our team carefully packaged the panels so that they could be transported to the church. Once they arrived, we removed them from their packaging and began installing them into the custom-made metal frame. Working one at a time, we secured each panel in place until the process was complete and the window was fully assembled. 

church stained glass battle creek

Outcome & Results

Upon completion, the church was thrilled with the results. Their once-blank wall had been sublimely transformed into an enchanting work of art. The radiant colors were beautifully illuminated with a soft glow of light, revealing the intricate details and stunning artistry of the design. We are deeply honored that the Battle Creek Tabernacle entrusted us with this extraordinary project, which will undoubtedly be admired for generations to come as a magnificent addition to their storied legacy.

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