These art glass windows were literally a global effort, drawing on the talents of individuals from all across the United States and the heart of the Orient. They were fabricated using an innovative technique called Meixia inlaid glass - the Meixia technique for short.
It was architect John Templeton, of Foxhollow Goodson Architects who first recognized the potential of the Meixia technique for the windows at First United Methodist. From a ‘happen stance’ meeting with Meixia just weeks earlier, Templeton felt the innovative use of modern material and method and the talents of a world-class glass artist could converge to contribute something unique to the sanctuary architecture.
The theological concept for the windows was the brainchild of Sr. Pastor Jerry Mayo. The desire of his heart was for the windows to express the fullness of the gospel message and the incarnation of Jesus Christ. In his mind’s eye, they would tell the Story in such a way that observers 100 years hence would discern the message intuitively. Hence Mayo called for the expression of creation events and consummation prophecy centering on the life, crucifixion and resurrection of Christ. Hallmarks of redemptive history would be depicted throught the lives of various saints - from men of prophetic valor to Godly women of strength.
The Meixia inlaid technique utilizes a computer -controlled water-jet to make precision cuts in the art glass, alllowing for the smallest detail to be reflected in the cut glass. Some of the pieces of glass in these windows were so tiny, they had to be placed by tweezers. It also employs the use of a revolutionary joinery method using resin, avoiding the use of lead material. The stained glass is resin laminated directly to structural glass for protection, strength and a host of architectual benefits.
Materials from all over the world were utilized. The resin was produced in western Tennessee. The art glass was made at facilities in Washington, Oregon, Indiana and West Virginia. Other glass and materials were produced in China. The beveled cross and the Christ image were fabricated by Architectual Glass Art of Louisville, KY.
All windows were designed through the collaborative efforts of Don Carlos Thomas and Kenneth Von Roenn, Jr. of Architectural Glass Art. AGA also served as the project manager for all aspects of design, fabrication and installlation of these windows.
Developed by Oak Ridge, TN native and glass innovator Bill Job, the Meixia technique is crafted by a gifted team at the Meixia studios located in the coastal city of Xiamen in the Fujian province of southern China. Job has lived and worked in the Orient for 16 years with a heart to produce world-class works of glass art in redemptive God-honoring ways. The many months spent on the fabrication of this work by the Meixia studio team in China culminated in a true sense of being a part of a greater work. This is well reflected by a comment from Meixia’s Sophie Wong upon the departure of the art glass from the studio:
“We have said good-bye to the finished panels of FUMC this morning. We pray that our hard work and efforts as evidenced in these panels will bring glory to our Father’s mighty and wonderful name.”
During their journey to Murfreesboro, they passed through the famous Hong Kong harbor, traveled across the depths of the Pacific, entered the US at Long Beach, CA and traveled by rail to Nashville where they were unloaded for delivery to the project site.
These stained glass windows were truly a global effort. Our god is a global God. How fitting an expression of His goodness and greatness that skills and materials from all over the earth be brought together in the creation of art that honors His name. For beyond political, social and cultural differences is the Living God who truly created it all.
“For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever!”