Sanctuary Architecture

Sanctuary Architecture

The Christian story told through sanctuary architecture and design.

Our Stained Glass Windows

The first stained glass window, located closest to the altar, shows the faith of the Christian Church. It features the Doctrine of the Holy Trinity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. 

God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. 

Holy Trinity Stained Glass Window at First Church Quakertown


The Hand of God the Father (top symbol) reminds us that God created the world and all that is in it. While “no man has seen God” we may all behold his handiwork. The hand is extended downward in blessing, for God still seeks and cares for His creation.

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16


The Lamb (middle right symbol) represents God the Son, Jesus Christ. Christ is the sacrificial lamb who died for us, but the lamb is shown in a standing position, indicating His triumph over death.

Jesus promised “I am the resurrection and the life. Those who believe in me, even though they die, will live, and everyone who lives and believes in me will never die.” – John 11:25-26


The descending Dove (bottom symbol)  symbolizes the Holy Spirit, who descended upon Christ in the form of a dove at the time of His Baptism and upon the members of the early Church as they were gathered in the Upper Room on Pentecost. The Holy Spirit brings God’s presence into out lives.

Each of us is a part of the one body of Christ… But the Holy Spirit has fitted us all together into one body. We have been baptized into Christ’s body by the one Spirit, and have all been given that same Holy Spirit. – 1 Corinthians 12:13


The elongated Cross (middle left symbol) in the background ties with three symbols together and symbolizes the sacrificial love of God.

The second stained glass window, located second closest to the altar, shows the early elements of the Christian Church. It features symbols of the Church: Dove, Ship, and Fish.


The Dove (top symbol) signifies Pentecost, the ‘Birthday of the Christian Church’ as an organization. The seven tongues of flame represent the flames which appeared above the members of the early Church as they gathered for prayer in the Upper Room. The seven flames also indicate the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit: Power, Wealth, Might, Honor, Wisdom, Glory, and Blessing as listed in Revelation 5:12.

When the day of Pentecost came, all the believers were gathered together in one place. Suddenly there was a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind blowing, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.Then they saw what looked like tongues of fire which spread out and touched each person there. 4 They were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them to speak. – Acts 2:1-4


The Ship (middle symbol), the universal symbol of the Church, is the sheltering craft wherein Christians safely and confidently embark and journey upon the stormy seas of life. Her mast, the Cross of Christ, holds aloft the cross-marked sails.

I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. – Psalms 16:8


The Fish is the oldest symbol of the Christian faith. The sign of the fish was used as a secret mark and means of identification among the early Christians because the initial letters of the Greek words for “Jesus Christ, Son of God, Savior” spell the Greek for fish. The fish also symbolizes Baptism, the Sacrament which marks our entrance into the Church.

Peter said to them, “Change your hearts and lives and be baptized, each one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ. Then God will forgive your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. This promise is for you. It is also for your children and for the people who are far away. It is for everyone the Lord our God calls to himself. – Acts 2:38-39

The third stained glass window, located in the center of the stained glass windows, depicts the three great eras in the history of the Church. It features symbols of the great eras: Sword and Open Bible, Deer and Birds, & Opening Bible.


The Sword and Open Bible (top symbol), the symbol of the Apostle Paul, represents the Apostolic Church. This symbol is meant to remind us of all the great Apostles, but the specific symbol of Paul was selected because he is known as the Apostle to the Gentiles and was responsible for carrying the Gospel to Europe, whence came most of our ancestors.

For I owe a great debt to you and to everyone else, both to civilized people and uncivilized alike; yes, to the educated and uneducated alike. So, to the fullest extent of my ability, I am ready to come also to you in Rome to preach God’s Good News. – Romans 1:14-15


The Deer and Birds (middle symbol), signify St. Francis of Assisi, the great saint of the Middle Ages, whose humble spirit of love and sacrifice has remained an inspiration to all Christians long after the pomp and power of the Medieval Popes passed away. St. Francis renounced his family fortune and gave his life in loving service to the poor and needy, teaching them about the Christ. He loved animals and is credited with making the first Christmas Crèche to teach the villagers the story of the birth of Jesus.

And then Jesus told them, “You are to go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone, everywhere.” – Mark 16:15


The Open Bible (bottom symbol) breaking its chains symbolizes the spirit and fervor of the Reformation. The Supreme Lordship of Jesus Christ, the priesthood of every believer and free access by each individual to the Bible were some of the major tenets of the great Reformers. Ulrich Zwingli, commonly regarded as the Father of the reformed Churches of the Protestant faith, was especially noted for his work in “opening” or explaining the Scriptures to the laity in the market place in Zurich, Switzerland.

And you will say in that day: “Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, proclaim that his name is exalted. – Isaiah 12:4

The fourth stained glass window, located second nearest the Narthex, depicts the three-fold mission of the Church. It features the Pulpit, Lamp of Truth, and Caduceus.


The Pulpit with Chi and Rho rising above it (top symbol) signifies preaching. Chi (Χ) and Rho (Ρ) are the first two letters of the Greek for Christus (XPRICTOC), and are therefor an abbreviation for the name of Jesus. The Chi-Rho symbol emphasizes Christ as the central theme of all true Christian preaching.

Early in the morning He came into the temple, and all the people were coming to Him; and He sat down and began to teach them. – John 8:2


The Lamp of Truth (middle symbol), symbolizes our teaching and educational work, for “Thy Word shall be a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” – Psalm 119:105.

And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and earth. Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” – Matthew 28:18-20


The Caduceus (bottom symbol), a familiar symbol within the medical profession, indicates the Church’s mission to heal the body, the mind, and the spirit. This T-form of the cross with a serpent recall the Old Testament account of Moses healing the people of Israel in the wilderness by means of a brazen serpent lifted upon a T-cross (Numbers 21:4-9). The cross of four Tau (T) Greek letters is a symbol for healing and is sometimes interpreted as indicating the four corners of the earth, to which the mission of the Church much reach.

Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise. – Jeremiah 17:14

The fifth stained glass window, located  nearest the Narthex, depicts the role of the individual member of the Church. It features Praying Hands, a Staff, the Cross, and a pair of Empty Sandals.


The Praying Hands (upper symbol) emphasize the vital role of prayer and reinforce the spiritual life and power of both the individual and the Church as a whole.

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. – Romans 12:12


The Staff (center middle symbol), symbol of the shepherd, reminds us that we are all “under shepherds” responsible for “feeding his lambs.”

Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly–not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. – 1 Peter 5:2


The Cross (left middle symbol), is a reminder that each Christian must obey the command of Christ, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up the cross daily, and follow me” (Luke 9:23). The cross and staff together suggest further that the Christian will also bear the burdens of others.

Help carry each other’s burdens. In this way you will follow Christ’s teachings. – Galatians 6:2


The Empty Sandals (lower right symbol), symbolic of the pilgrim and of the missionary, emphasize our roles as pilgrims in search of the Heavenly City and as servants commissioned to “go…and make disciples of all nations, baptizing then…and teaching” (Matthew 28:19). The sandals are empty; they await the feet of the Christian as he departs from worship to service in every moment of his daily life and work. Sandals protected the feet of Jesus as He walked the dusty paths of Palestine, teaching, preaching and healing. These empty sandals await your feet, to walk in the “footsteps of the Master”.

Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. – Psalms 25:5