The stained glass windows of the church were designed and executed by Mr. J. William Rundstrom. Each panel depicts various events in Jesus Christ’s life. More information about the artist can be found below.
Annunciation and Nativity
These two panels portrays the Annunciation and the Nativity. The coming of the Holy Spirit, symbolized by the Dove, to the Virgin Mary, represented by the lily, tells of God’s will that Mary is to be the Mother of Jesus. The panel on the right portrays the Nativity. The star of Bethlehem shines over the birthplace of Jesus, here denoted by the ancient Chi Ro, the first two Greek letters in the name ‘Christ.’
Presentation and Flight to Egypt
The next two panels depicts the Presentation in the temple and the Flight to Egypt. The Presentation is expressed by a Menorah, a seven-branch candelabra used in Judaism with a line forming an arch above it to symbolize the Temple. At the time of the presentation of Jesus, two white doves were offered as a sacrifice and symbol of purification. The Flight is shown by Mary holding the Christ Child as she rides an ass guided by Joseph toward Egypt, depicted by the pyramids.
The next two panels depict Christ in the Temple and the Baptism. Christ in the Temple is shown with the Temple formed by an arch with a hanging lantern which illuminates the scrolls from which Christ (the Chi Ro symbol) learns and teaches. The Baptism panel depicts a Dove, the symbol for the Holy Spirit, descending at the Baptism, shown by the shell and the white drops of water which represent the Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit.
The next two panels depict the Temptation and the Calling of the Apostles. In the Temptation, Christ is symbolized by the star of Jacob at the apex of a mountain, shown by vertical purple areas. Satan, shown as a winged serpent is tempting Christ; but at the same time he shields himself with one wing to ward off the bright light of Christ’s being. In the Calling of the Apostles, a Chi Ro again represents Christ. The keys are the symbol of St. Peter. The fish net stands for Andrew. A fish is shown, symbolizing the call of the apostles to be fishers of men.
Wedding at Cana
The next two panels depict the Wedding in Cana and the Sermon on the Mount. Christ’s first miracle at a Wedding in Cana of Galilee is shown by water pouring from one jar into an arrangement of jars, as the water is turned into wine. In the Sermon on the Mount, Christ, the Chi Ro, is on top of a mountain which is shown by line and color changes in the background. The light from his teachings, indicated by the open book, guides us along the path of life, which extends to the bottom of the window.
Entry into Jerusalem and Last Supper
The next two panels are the Entry into Jerusalem and the Last Supper. In the Entry into Jerusalem the rule of Christ is shown by the orb. The traditional palms can be seen, and the upraised hands also symbolize Christ’s triumphal entry. In the Last Supper the chalice and the loaf of bread can be seen on the table as the apostles gather around.
The next panels show the Betrayal and Christ before Pilate. The thirty pieces of silver drop from above toward Judas’ purse to symbolize the Betrayal. A chalice is seen in the upper left corner, and a cross of Gethsemane indicates where the event took place. Pilate’s judgement of Christ is symbolized by a basin and pitcher of water that portray the washing of Pilate’s hands as he prepares to pass judgement. In the background a towel of brown with an edge of white represents Pilate’s attempt to free himself of guilt. Below is the scourge and the pillar to which Jesus was tied while he was mocked and beaten.
The Resurrection and Ascension
The final two panels depict the Resurrection and the Ascension. The Resurrection is represented by the symbol of the Phoenix, the mythical bird which rises from the ashes of death and is restored to the freshness of youth. The panel on the right, the Ascension, is symbolized by the fiery chariot of Elijah being taken up from earth, which appears as towers at the base of the window.
Alpha and Omega
This panel facing the front of the church and directly opposite the altar shows the cross with the Greek letters Alpha and Omega to symbolize Revelation 22:13 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.”
John William “Bill” Rundstrom (1914 – 2003) was born and grew up in Garvanza, a suburb of Los Angeles now known as Highland Park. At the age of 14, he first had a summer job in his uncle’s stained-glass studio. After graduating from Franklin High School, he entered a six-year apprenticeship in stained glass at his uncle’s studio, the Judson Studios. He was a stained-glass artist for more than 75 years. He studied at Chouinard Art School and the California Art Institute in Pasadena, among others, and took many classes to develop his artistry and craft.
He and his cousin went into partnership to buy the Judson Studios after World War II, where he remained until 1960. He sold his interest in the studio to his cousin and set out on his own with his wife, Muriel, eventually opening the Rundstrom Studio in Orinda, CA. Together they designed and fabricated leaded and faceted glass windows for churches in California and Nevada, and did mosaic work.