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Art at SPD

The Christian church has always recognized the power of art to communicate God’s love for the world.

Making God’s Love Visible

As a church, our mission is to communicate the power of God’s love for the world. We do that in many ways—through our worship services, through the generosity we extend to ministries and missions that positively impact the lives of people around the world—and also through what people encounter when they come to our church home. We believe that encountering beauty through art is one of the ways that God’s love can be experienced. We are therefore grateful for the art that graces our building. 

Art uses the power of visual image to ignite the imagination, to evoke emotion, and to inspire faithful reflection. Each piece at St. Philip the Deacon tells a story. From the Stained Glass windows that surround our worship center to the St. John’s prints that line the wall in the narthex, each piece enriches our faith experience. Come and see!

The Bible in Stained Glass

Surrounded by the story of the Bible.

The stained glass windows in the Sanctuary were designed by Nicholas T. Markell, M.S., M.Div., of Markell Studios, St. Paul, Minn. The windows recount the entire Biblical narrative visually, and are ordered in number beginning with the window that sits to the right of the organ as you face the front of the Sanctuary. The windows continue clockwise (to the right) around the Sanctuary. The last window is positioned on the front wall of the Sanctuary, to the left of the Cross and Altar.

01 Creation


02 Light from Dark

03 Sky

04 Land and Water

05 Heavens

06 Birds and Fish

07 Adam and Eve

08 Day of Rest

09 Noah

10 Abraham

11 Moses

12 Isaiah

13 Jeremiah

14 Ezekiel

15 Nativity

16 Baptism of Jesus

17 Loaves and Fishes

18 Crucifixion and Death

19 Resurrection

20 Ascension

21 Pentecost

22 Philip the Deacon

23 The Church

24 Eternity

Our Pipe Organ

“Music is a fair and glorious gift of God.” – Martin Luther

St. Philip the Deacon’s pipe organ, built by the Schantz Organ Company, is a three-manual (keyboard) and pedal instrument of 51 ranks (sets of pipes). Of the 3,072 pipes in the organ some are as small as a pencil while others, some in the facade, are nearly 18′ in length. Two of the organ’s divisions (keyboards) are “expressive” with louvered shutters that are controlled by foot pedals on the console. There is a 5 HP electric blower located in the lower level of the church that supplies wind to the instrument. The organ console is movable and features a multi-level combination system and record-and-playback capability.

While the design of the organ was inspired by its primary role—that of leading congregational worship—the organ is well-endowed with stops from all families of organ tone and is capable of playing a wide variety of organ literature. It is an instrument steeped in the traditions of historic organ building yet built with an eye toward the future generations of worshippers at St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church.

The organ is only one part of St. Philip the Deacon’s strong emphasis on musical excellence and diversity in worship.

Specifications for the Organ are as follows:

Great Organ

16’ Bourdon
8’ Principal
8’ Bourdon
8’ Harmonic Flute
4’ Octave
4’ Koppelflöte
2-2/3’ Twelfth
2’ Superoctave
1-1/3’ V Fourniture
16’ Double Trumpet
8’ Trumpet
8’ Trompette de Fête
Tremulant
Chimes

Swell Organ

8’ Geigenprincipal
8’ Salicional
8’ Voix Celeste GG
8’ Rohrflote
4’ Prestant
4’ Traverseflöte
2’ Octavin
1-1/3 Quint
2’ Plein Jeu IV
16’ Bassoon
8’ Trompette
8’ Hautbois
4’ Clairon
Tremulant

Choir Organ

8’ Diapason
8’ Gedeckt
8’ Erzähler
8’ Erzähler Celeste TC
4’ Principal
4’ Cor de Nuit
2-2/3’ Nasard
2’ Quarte de Nasard
103/5’ Tierce
1-1/3’ Larigot
1-1/7’ Septieme
1’ Sifflet
8/9’ Neuvieme
1’ Cymbale IV
8’ Cromorne Tremulant
8’ Trompette de Fête

Pedal Organ

32’ Contra Principal
32’ Untersatz
16’ Principal
16’ Subbass
16’ Bourdon
8’ Octave
8’ Subbass
8’ Bourdon
4’ Choralbass
4’ Open Flute
2’ Super Octave
32’ Contre Bombarde
16’ Bombarde
16’ Double Trumpet
16’ Basson
8’ Bombard
8’ Trumpet
4’ Claron
4’ Hautbois
8’ Trompette de Fête

Miscellaneous

Full couplers
MIDI
Movable console

Icons of St. Philip the Deacon

Art for prayer and contemplation.

St. Philip the Deacon Lutheran Church takes it name from St. Philip, whose ministry and witness are described in the book of Acts. (Acts 8:26-40) St. Philip’s story is told visually in three icons by iconographer Ann Chapin. You can find them just inside the worship center doors. A small plaque posted by each icon is helpful is taking in all each icon offers.

Statue of St. Philip the Deacon

Honoring our namesake.

The statue of St. Philip the Deacon and the art-glass installation located in the Chapel were designed, sculpted and fabricated by Russian-born artist Alexander Tylevich, and installed just before Easter in 2014. For a number of years, the congregation had hoped to install stained glass windows on the north wall of the chapel area to make this space feel more sacred.

When the congregation approached Tylevich to consider this project, he advocated for a more three-dimensional installation in this space. The result is a brass statue and integral stand sculpted specifically for the chapel, cast using the lost-wax process by Casting Creations of Minnesota in Howard Lake.

Standing behind the sculpture is a seven-panel glass installation, designed by Tylevich and fabricated in Germany by Glasmalerie Peters Studios, who used multiple techniques—including slumping, airbrushing, sandblasting and silver-staining—to create these panels to the artist’s specifications.

Tylevich, a well-known sculptor and glass artist, has been commissioned by a number of colleges, universities and churches to create art in sacred and public spaces throughout the Twin Cities, the region and the country. Originally from Belarus, he currently lives and works in the US.

Woodcarving

Pilgrims’ hymn.

Displayed in the atrium is a striking black walnut wood carving by Tim Sheie.

The text, by Michael Dennis Browne reads:

Even before we call on Your name
To ask You, O God,
When we seek for the words to glorify You,
You hear our prayer;
Unceasing love, O unceasing love,
Surpassing all we know.

Glory to the father,
and to the Son,
And to the Holy Spirit.

Even with darkness sealing us in,
We breathe Your name,
And through all the days that follow so fast,
We trust in You;
Endless Your grace, O endless Your grace,
Beyond all mortal dream.

Both now and forever,
And unto ages and ages,
Amen

Artist Tim Sheie comments: “Our place is in the arms of a loving God and we live in endless grace—Pilgrims’ Hymn captures that relationship with God so perfectly and walnut displays it beautifully.”  

Original Paintings

The face of Christ.

Artist Ann Chapin says of her work: “I’m interested in creating paintings that bring forth deep feeling for the viewer.” St. Philip the Deacon is blessed to have two original paintings of the face of Christ and each one, in its own way, evokes all kind of emotion while inviting deep reflection. One hangs in the hallway just outside the pastors’ offices and the other in the Center for Faith and Life.

St. John’s Bible

Illuminating scripture.

In 1998, Saint John’s Abbey and University commissioned renowned calligrapher Donald Jackson to produce a hand-written, hand-illuminated Bible. The Smithsonian Magazine calls the result “one of the great undertakings of our time”.

We are blessed to have five prints: the Frontpiece (or title page) from the Psalms, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Each illumination (a text supplemented with art featuring gold leaf) overflows with imagery and story. A plaque posted nearby will help you navigate the meaning attached to the rich artwork.  

It has been said that the illuminations are not illustrations. Rather, they are spiritual meditations on a text. The illuminations allow scripture to speak to us in new ways. Saint John’s Abbey and University and calligrapher Donald Jackson, in collaboration with many from the wider community, wanted to produce a Bible, a work of art, that would ignite the spiritual imagination of believers throughout the world.

Calligraphy by Kristen Malcolm Berry

Telling God’s story in words.

Calligrapher Kirsten Malcolm Berry produces watercolor images drawn from scripture, often including the original Hebrew or Greek. Her beautiful calligraphy and imaginative illustrations never fail to draw one in. She paints images of the Bible that translate the abstract into the tangible. Four prints hang on the East end of the narthex and a second set is displayed on the hallway outside the pastors’ offices.

— CHRISTIAN WISDOM —

“What a man can be the next minute bears no relation to what he is or what he was the minute before.”

Walker Percy