Gloria Dei

Submitted by Scott Parsons

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Client: Gloria Dei Lutheran Church

Location: Sioux Falls, SD, United States

Completion date: 2011

Artwork budget: $250,000

Project Team

Architect

Koch Hazard

Other

Derix Art Glass

Artist

Scott Parsons

Overview

Gloria Dei is an unprecedented ecclesial stained-glass design for the new Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. This project consists of 24 separate architectural glass panels for the chancel façade: 750 sq. ft. in size and rising over 36 ft. in height. Each panel was created using a number of traditional and contemporary glass treatments, including silver stain, acid-etching, sandblasting, and enameling.

Goals

Gloria Dei, the Glory to God, is expressed here through movement, color and light. Reflecting the Trinity and the floorplan of the Church, the 24 panels cycle in thirds through the Creation story beginning with Genesis on the left, the life of Christ in the center, and life of the Church on the right. The generally abstract emphasis evokes the contemporary setting for this new-construction 21st-century worship space. The artwork progresses with an internal rhythm, panel by panel, repeating motifs and colors to evoke the emotions of joy, appreciation, awe and wonder of God’s work in our lives. Symbolic imagery, specific to the sacraments are represented by egg, water, and shell, and communion with stalks of corn (since this is Midwest corn country). Other panels include stars, seeds, candles and branches which evoke numerous Biblical narratives such as the promise made to Abraham, the psalmist’s exclamation of wonder in gazing at the heavens, the prophecies of Isaiah, and the many parables of vineyards and gardens. The transcendent qualities of glass, illuminate spiritual themes which allow worshipers to experience the liturgy in distinct ways each time the congregation gathers for worship.

Process

The artist created the design concept, schematics and reviewed several options through a series of meetings with the Art Committee from Gloria Dei. The design process was six months long.