The Stained Glass Windows

The Stained Glass Windows

As was common with late nineteenth century churches, St. Peter’s features many ornate stained-glass windows. These windows pay tribute to many prominent Sycamore families from the 1800s. They are in the usual arched form and are divided into two sections. It is believed that the windows were created in a local Sycamore factory, Schroeder and Company.

The altar window was presented by the St. Agnes Society of the parish as a memorial to the Rt. Rev. Henry J. Whitehouse, the second Episcopal bishop of Illinois. Bishop Whitehouse was consecrated in 1851 and died in 1874. The window is six feet wide and 14 feet high. It consists of three panels and three trefoils. In the center panel is a depiction of Christ ascending. Other symbols include a representation of the Holy Spirit descending in the form of a dove, a chalice, a bible, and a crozier, cross, and crown. At the apex in the trefoils are the Bishop’s seal of office with the words Fidei Scutum (Shield of Faith), a mitre, and the crossed Keys of the Kingdom, which is an emblem of St. Peter. The blue panels are not original; they were installed in the late 1960s.

The window at the southeast end of the nave has a sheaf of wheat, a knight’s helmet, and the Keys of the Kingdom. The symbols are representative of Sts. Peter and Paul. The words “I HAVE FOUGHT A GOOD FIGHT” and “I HAVE KEPT THE FAITH” are a focus of the window. This was given in memory of Isaac W. Johnson (1824-1900).

The next window contains personifications of “Faith” and “Hope.”  It was given in memory of F.M. Ketchum, a local attorney, who was a charter member of the parish.

The window in memory of Dr. Horatio F. Page (1812-1873) contains three familiar symbols – the lilies of the valley, the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God) and the Sea of Life in which the church is the ship. The anchor is frequently used as a symbol of hope.

In the bell tower room is found the most recent window given to the church which depicts the Nativity and is a memorial to Judge Cassius Poust (1893-1969).  This window replaced the original window entitled “The Good Shepherd” which was a gift of Norman C. Warren (1835-1903), and dedicated to the memory of Tyler K. Waite (1829-1871).

The window in the rear of the nave next to the bell tower room bears the simple inscription “In Gratia”. It was given by Ana Gage of Sycamore and Chicago.

The rose window at the back of the nave contains the symbols of the Greek Alpha and Omega. These were an early monogram for Christ and represent the completeness of Christ’s rule. The window is not mentioned in the 1879 description of the new church, but it is original to the building.

The window at the northwest corner of the church contains the words: “JESUS SAID SUFFER LITTLE CHILDREN TO COME UNTO ME FOR OF SUCH IS THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN”. This window was given in memory of Warren S. Knight by his parents, Charles and Fidelia (Stebbins) Knight. Warren died at the age of six years in 1877.

The next window depicts the descending dove, which is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. The window was given in memory of Warren H. Stebbins (d.1872) by his wife.

The window dedicated to two children, Kittie and Abbie L. Young, was given by their parents, Ellzey and Alida (Ellwood) Young. The faces of two cherubs are seen. The words “I SHALL GO TO HIM BUT HE SHALL NOT RETURN TO ME” are a second focus of this window.

Behind the area where the pipes of the organ are now encased, is also a memorial window. The window is in memory of Dickey Ellwood who had died as a child. It was given by his mother, Mrs. E. Ellwood.