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Stained glass Window Book Cover Nov 2023
A Window into the Gospel. Ein Fensterblick in das Evangelium. Gerhard Hille and Adam McComb. Toronto: Martin Luther Evangelical Lutheran Church, November 2023. 48 pages.

We created a booklet of our church’s beautiful photos of our stained-glass windows and the written version of sermons that Pastor Dr. Gerhard Hille and Vicar Adam McComb spoke about them in 2021. The sermons are written in both English and German. Publishedin  November 2023 the booklet is available now at church. Please consider a donation of $20 for a copy of this special keepsake. We thank everyone who helped with this project.

Council’s Foreword

Upon seeing the cover of this book you might be prompted to think it will provide a glimpse into the history of the Martin Luther Church in Etobicoke. Yet, you can expect so much more! This book is a book of stories-ones told in pictures, Word and prayer. The stories of God for all people.

It is also a celebration of God’s people who were inspired during COVID 19 to serve the lonely, the Isolated, and the fearful during pandemic times.

With a grateful heart I would like to thank our Visiting Ministry Team under the leadership of Gisela Wilhelm and Anita Ratz, who are always asking what we can provide to the seniors in our care to keep them connected to the stories of God when they are alone, lost in their thoughts, or suffer from physical limitations.

Thank you to our ministry team at that time, Pastor Gerhard and Vicar Adam, for taking us on a detour online while allowing familiar stories to come alive as they took us from one stained glass window to the next.

Thank you to Manya Brunzema for the translation, editing, and the inspiration to get our former Pastor Stefan Wolf involved. Thank you to Pastor Stefan for the background story printed on the following pages, to the team of Martin Luther Church volunteers and hired professionals who dreamed up the idea to tell a story through our stained-glass windows many years ago, and to all donors who made this dream become a reality.

Thank you to Leanne Grammenz for the graphic design, to Karen Hoffmann for providing excellent pictures, and Sonja Schweiger for jumping in to do some final edits before print

A huge thank you to the Evangleical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC) Mission Fund committee for accepting our grant application. Most of all, to our angel Administrative and Pastoral Assistant in the office, Marlena Muller. Without her, none of this would ever have come to fruition.

May God inspire you to look through this book in whatever way is intended for you. Let the pictures take you on a journey to meet God, the Holy Spirit, and Jesus, one window at a time. Let the Bible verses, sermons, or prayers allow you to celebrate your faith wherever and whe- never you open the pages, either alone or while sharing them with others.

Iris Schweiger

The Sermons are also on our YouTube channel.
June 6, 2021 (28.55 minutes)
June 13, 2021 (33.36 minutes)
June 20, 2021 (31.16 minutes)
June 27, 2021 (35.22 minutes)
July 4, 2021 (37.28 minutes)
July 11, 2021 (34.07 minutes)

Preachers’ Foreword

Treasures are sometimes hidden in vaults and bank deposit boxes, or in museum storerooms. Sometimes, however, they are found closer to home, but deeply hidden in our conscious- ness so that we hardly notice them. Could this hold true for the stained-glass windows in our Martin Luther Church on the Lakeshore? Are they perhaps like a treasure that needs to be unearthed?

A treasure they are indeed! In order to reveal this treasure and elevate our awareness of it, we have preached about these windows in six worship services. Many discoveries were made. For example: the windows are very closely connected to the Bible and its message, preaching biblical texts and contexts through images, as well as illustrating the times and celebrations of the church year in a special way.

In the time of the COVID-19 pandemic we found ourselves physically separated from our church windows. With our series of online services and sermons we wanted to “unbury” them again, making them consciously accessible for us all like a newly discovered treasure. And at the same time, this was also an attempt (piecemeal, of course!) to keep us all connected to our church and the treasure of its message while we were apart.

The feedback and the positive acknowledge- ment from the congregation showed us that our project accomplished its goal in many ways. Consequently, the idea of publishing this series of sermons in a book was devised. The book is therefore also intended to serve as a spiritual symbol, a record of our time together tormented by COVID-19.

Our first question when we set to work on a concept was, how do we approach this process of discovery? We decided to start from the beginning (always a good place to start). For us, the natural beginning was the view walking through the foyer and approaching the sanctuary. Standing at the threshold of the sanctuary we ask the viewer to join us as we take in the images offered by the first two windows on the left and the right. With each week we encounter the next paired images on the left and then right sides. Week by week we make our way deeper into the sanctuary and find ourselves closer to the altar, the table that we would eventually gather around. Our journey of discovery would reveal just how intentional and sequential their stories are. The left side depicts themes, theological, and doctrinal truths of scripture while the right side offers representations of the celebrations and sacraments of the Church. It seems as if both sides are interpreting each other. The viewers can discover that the positi- oning of these stained-glass windows is also a work of art and mastery in itself.

We would also like to acknowledge that Manya Brunzema, a valued member of our congregation and translation team, passed away unexpectedly in the middle of the editing process of this book. Her passing came as a shock to all of us. Through this darkness, however, we would like to point readers towards the light-filled expressions of thanks that appear overtly and more subtly in the meditations present in this book. Manya’s thoughtful efforts and contributions in editing this book were a great help, and for that we express our deepest gratitude.

We would like to ask our readers to keep in mind that the sermons were to a large extent delivered without a script. As preachers, we felt called to herald the stories revealed by these trea- sures and recorded that process as a sermon series which was offered online, and the world of Zoom became a second home in a time when we could not gather in person. Each moment of our journey has been transcribed from a sermon to articulate our discoveries. The source text having been spoken originally and not written makes a big difference in the language! To make the texts more easily readable, we „smoothed” and adjusted them a little, but the spoken character should remain obvious. We are delighted to offer this book as treasure map.

-Pastor Dr. Gerhard Hille Pastor Dr. Gerhard Hille was the interim pastor at Martin Luther Church from December 2020 to August 2021. He visited the Martin Luther Church from Germany for the first time in 2002. He gave his first sermon at our church at the 2003 New Year’s service. Pastor Hille’s greater vision for our pandemic detour touched our spirits and filled our cups with hope, and we benefited from his hopeful vision which he expressed in his thoughtful sermons and calm leadership in our services.

-Vicar Adam McComb Adam McComb served as part of the Ecumenical Internship Team at Martin Luther Church and Redeemer Church from August 2019 to August 2020 while studying at Trinity College. He continued to serve our congregation as “vicar” until July 2022. With a lot of humour and humility, Vicar Adam drew us into his Bible stories and every- day stories with God right from the start. Each of his stories leaves an impression, encourages reflection and retelling.

Sample Pages

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