A Journey through Christ Church Cathedral -Eau Claire, Wisconsin
Christ Church Cathedral Parish had its beginnings in 1858 when services were held in various places within the community. After many efforts a church building was provided in 1874, which remained in continuous use until 1916, when it was replaced by the present Nave. The Chancel and Parish House were completed in 1910. Built on a modified Gothic Plan, it is a sound usable structure which should stand for many years. The Chapel of the Ascension was added in 1935. Thus the structural portions of the Church were finished.
The Bishop Wilson building was added in 1955 as a memorial to the first Bishop of Eau Claire. It provides needed space for office, educational and meeting purposes. The basement is now used for our artist in residence program. Part of the 1st floor and most of the second floor is rented out to the Chippewa Valley Literacy program to help families to learn English as a second language.
In 1966, new lighting was added in both Church and Chapel. The first floor of the Parish House was gutted and transformed into the memorial Lounge, Kitchen and Choir Room. At the same time it was air-conditioned.
In 1977, the Gloria Dei Tower was reared in the Cathedral Close. Its six bells form a part of what will eventually be a twenty-three bell Carillon.
At the northwest corner of the church is the cornerstone of the St. Edward’s Chapel, which stood above the railroad station on the East Side Hill. This Chapel was dedicated on June 5, 1896, and served that portion of the Cathedral congregation until closing in 1917.
We enter the Church building through the porch with its four lovely windows. The Good Shepherd Window was given by the young people of the Parish in 1929, in memory of Fredrick Le May, one of their members. The Good Shepherd is the oldest symbol in the Christian Church. The remaining three windows show fourth our Lord in the three-fold aspect of His ministry, a Prophet to teach us, as Priest to sacrifice for us, as King to rule over us. The Christ the King Window was given by the Cathedral girls in memory of Earnest H. Miles, organist and choir director from 1908 through 1942. The Christ and Priest Window was given by Dr. John E.B. Ziegler in memory of his parents, Jane Baker Ziegler and Charles B. Ziegler.
The doorway of the Church reminds us of the Sacrament of the Holy Baptism which is the door of the entry into Christ’s Kingdom. The Baptistery and Font are the gift of Mrs. T. K. Long in memory of her son, William Carson Long. The Font was brought in from Italy and is made of Carrara marble. It was dedicated at Eastertide 1925.
At the other end of the church axis is the most prominent object in every Church, the Altar. Back of this rises the Reredos of the same material as the Altar Carrara marble. Both are gifts of the Moon Family in memory of their parents, Sallie Freleigh Gilman Moon and Delos Rensselaer Moon. These were placed when the Parish House and Chancel were built in 1910.
On the gradines of the Altar stands the cross given by the Altar Guild in 1973 in thanksgiving for the quarter century ministry of the Very Rev. Gordon E. Brant, Dean of the Cathedral from 1946-1972. On each side of the Cross are the six Office and two Eucharistic candlesticks, placed in memory of Cornelia baker Ellis (1803-1898). These were dedicated in 1910 at the same time as the Alter, Reredos and Resurrection Window. They are of the finest cast bronze. The two Eucharistic lights tell of the human and the divine natures of our blessed Lord. The six office lights tell of the sixth day and hour in which or Lord was crucified.
The Sanctuary wainscot and clergy stalls are raised in memory of Philip Henry Linley, Rector of Christ Church 1906-1919, by St. Cecilia’s Guild in 1940. They are made of the finest comb-grained Appalachian oak. The Credence Table is of the same material as the wainscot and was given in 1910 by the Marsh children in loving memory of their parents, Margaret and John Marsh.
The Bishop’s Throne and accompanying stalls were given by Earl S. Welch in loving memory of his parents, William and Jane Petherick Welch, and of his brother and sister, Victor John and Rosina Louisa Welch. They were dedicated in Ascensiontide, 1927.
The seal of the Diocese of Eau Claire is below the canopy of the Bishop’s Throne. The Diocese was created by the action of the General Convention of the Episcopal Church meeting in Washington D.C., October, 1928. The Diocese is made of the western portions of the Diocese of Fond du Lac and Milwaukee. The seal is as follows: It is topped by the conventional mitre, the symbol of Episcopacy. The crozier is a reproduction of the one now in use. It was given to Bishop Webb by the clergy of the Diocese of Milwaukee on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of his episcopate. The coat of arms is divided into three fields. The first contains a prominent cross representing the Diocese of Eau Claire, and on either side are the badger and the fish, the outstanding features of the Diocese of Milwaukee and Fond du Lac, indicating the double origin of our Diocese. The middle field carries the heraldic emblem for timber, signifying the great lumber industry on which the whole of northwestern Wisconsin’s economy was based. (Its is said that there were more than fifty Saw Mills on the Eau Claire and Chippewa Rivers in the mid-eighteenth century.) This center field is marked with a wavy boarder suggesting the many rivers of the Diocese. This is also suggested by the fountain in the lower field. The English Tudor rose is superimposed upon the fountain telling that England was the fountain source of the Episcopal Church. Around the seal is a conventional boarder bearing the inscription “Seal of the Diocese of Eau Claire, Founded 1929”.
The Triple Prie’-Dieu of the Throne is given in memory of many faithful souls by their loved ones. It was dedicated in 1978.
The rug on the footpace of the Altar was created by Orpha Blaisdell in 1976, and bears the seals of the Diocese and the Cathedral Parish.
The Altar Rail was given in loving memory of Betty Derge Seyberth and Dorthy Seyberth Mahler by their families; this was installed in the fall of 1978.
Completing the Chancel is the Choir with its stalls and wainscot erected in Eastertide 1951, by St. Cecilia’s Guild in memory of Frank Elmer Wilson, Rector of Christ Church, 1919-1929, and the first Bishop of Eau Claire, 1929-44. All continue the same pattern and construction as the Sanctuary.
The organ was dedicated at Eastertide, 1950, the gift of many devoted Church folk in memory of departed loved ones. Their names are inscribed in the book of Remembrance (given by Miss Clara Schroeder in memory of her sister, Edith.) It is in the shelf cabinet (given by Mrs. Frank Wilson in memory of Bishop Wilson) on the wall between the Lectern and Chapel entrance. The organ is a three manual Moller instrument of the twenty-four ranks. It replaces a two-manual Hook and Hastings Organ given by Mrs. W. J. Starr in memory of her father, Francis D. Hill, M.D. in 1895. The present instrument is built on two levels, the lower holding the Great and Choir Organs and the upper the Swell Organ.
As we enter the Chancel we pass under the Rood Beam surmounted by the figure of Christ the King looking down from the Cross. This was given by Mrs. John Sabine Owen in loving memory of her daughter, Mildred Shaw. It was dedicated on Quinquagesima Sunday, 1927. The Rood was executed by one of the Oberammergau Langs as was the Last Supper Carving (between the Palm Sunday and Transfiguration Windows). This latter memorial was dedicated in lent of 1927 in memory of Abigail C. Harper by her daughter, Mrs. Walter Fitch.
The Pulpit, Lectern and Rail were dedicated Christmas Eve, 1924. They were given by St. Cecilia’s Guild in memory of Peter Brown Morrison, who was Rector when the first Church was built in 1873.
The two great Pavement candlesticks on each side of the Choir steps are gift of Elinor C. Owen, and were presented at Christmas, 1926. They too, are of solid cast bronze, and include two candelabra, which are inserted for use on Festival Holy Days and weddings.
On the north side of the Church are two Memorial Plaques. The first was raised to the memory of W. J. Starr, Senior Warden of Christ Church from 1904-1906. The second is to Marie Louise Wilson, devoted wife of Bishop Wilson, who entered Paradise on All Saint’s Day, 1924.
The Cathedral windows are the glory of Christ Church. Of English design and execution, they are among some of the finest in the country in richness and ecclesiastical style. The earlier windows were designed and executed by the firm of Heaton, Butler and Bayne of London, England. This firm was bombed out in the London Blitz and following World War II, another firm had to be found. After full investigation, the Wippell Co. of Exeter, England was chosen to create the remaining windows. These were installed and dedicated Eastertide, 1951.
As the dedication of the Cathedral is to our Lord Jesus Christ, so the windows give the highlights of his life here on earth, and at the same time convey His eternal and lasting power in the lives of all men for all time.
Above the High Altar is the Resurrection Window, telling us of the close of our Lord’s Earthly ministry and pointing us to the central teaching of the Christian Church. This window was given at the time the High Altar and Reredos were installed, and also are given in memory of Sallie Freleigh Gilman Moon and Delos Rensselaer Moon. The sequence of our Lord’s ministry is completed in the dedication of the Chapel to the Ascension.
The shields on each side of the Resurrection Window are those of the Twelve Apostles. From the top down on the left are shields of Ss. John, Andrew, Jude, Bartholomew, Mathew and Thomas: on the right top bottom are Ss. Peter, Simon, James the Greater, Paul, Phillip, and James the Greater, Paul, Philip and James the Less.
At the other end of the Church, immediately back of the Font, is the glorious Nativity Window depicting the scene at Bethlehem according to St. Luke. It was given at the time the Nave was completed in 1916. This window was the gift of Mary Gould Dulany and Daniel Maupin Dulany, generous benefactors of this parish and the diocese.
On each side of the Nativity Window are presented two events preceding our Lord’s public ministry: The Annunciation to the Blessed Virgin Mary with the traditional symbol, the lily. This was given in the memory of Fredrick Julius and Bertha Hoeppner and was dedicated at Easter 1937; the second window shows St. John the Baptist with his traditional symbols at the Shell for Holy Baptism and the Angus Dei, the Lamb of God, the words of St. John the Baptist describing our Lord when He came for Baptism in the river Jordan (S. John 1/16). This window was given in memory of William Swift Kelley and his sister, Mae E. Kelley, both long and faithful communicants of Christ Church, by their nephew, John Kelley Carter.
Between the Nativity and Resurrection Windows we have eight large windows depicting the various aspects of our Lord’s ministry on earth.
Starting at the Chapel entrance we find the Palm Sunday Window, Which marks the opening of Holy Week which culminated on Good Friday and was followed by the Resurrection. This window is the gift of Fannie Carson Lockwood in loving memory of her husband, Charles William Lockwood. It was dedicated September 20, 1925. This is followed by the Transfiguration Window showing our Lord with Moses and Elijah representing the Law and Prophecy with the apostles Peter, James and John below. Reference is found in St. Luke 9, vs. 28-36, telling of this event of our Lord’s ministry when these three saw Him as he was and is. This window was the gift of Mrs. Jessie McIntyre in memory of her mother, Mary Edmonds Carson, and was dedicated on May 9, 1926.
Following on, and next to the main entrance, we find the Stilling of the Storm Window. Reference is found in St. Matthew 14:24-36, and shows our Lord’s power over the forces of nature. This window was given in memory of John T. Barber in Advent of 1936.
Immediately beyond the entrance, we find the Healing Miracles Windows, showing or Lord’s power over the bodies of men. This window was given in memory of Amy Mead and Charles Douglas Eastman by their daughter Miriam Eastman Arnold and was dedicated Eastertide, 1951. Below this window is the plaque in memory of Louis and Miriam Arnold, generous benefactors of this parish.
Opposite the Healing Miracles Window we find depicted the Wedding and First Miracle at Cana of Galilee Window. This event opened the public ministry of our Lord and thus is in the first place at the right of Nativity Window. (See St. John 2: 1-11) It was given by the Paul Family in memory of Margaret Hoeppner Paul and was dedicated at Eastertide, 1951
Moving on, we come to the House at Bethany Window. This is a companion to the Stilling of the Storm and Healing Miracles Windows for it shows our Lord’s power over the home. It was to trhe home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus that our Lord came many times in His ministry. This window was given in memory of Byron Buffington and was dedicated at Thanksgiving, 1931.
Next is the Good Shepherd Window raised to the memory of Fanny Buffington and dedicated at Eastertide, 1951.
There follows the Woman at the Well, telling of the first time our Lord offered His Living Water of Life to one who was not a Jew (See St. John 4) It is placed nearest the Pulpit, for from there the Word of God is preached to all mankind. This was given in memory of Ralph Wilgus Hutchens by his wife, Harriet, and was dedicated at Eastertide, 1951.
We cross the Church and enter the Chapel of the Ascension. As we come to the entrance to the Chapel we find “The Pieta” carving given in 1934 to Bishop Wilson by an anonymous donor. The German artist is unknown. It was secured by the donor through the Munich Museum in 1920.
The Hymn Board to the right of the Chapel entrance is given in memory of William Aberg, long time Junior Warden and Treasurer at Christ Church.
The Chapel of the Ascension, immediately off the Chancel is an outstanding example of the best Gothic Style. Designed and constructed under the supervision of Mr. John Tilton, head of the School of Architecture at Cornell University, it has become the center of the daily devotional life of Christ Church. The Chapel is the gift of Mary Gould Dulany and was dedicated in 1935.
The Chapel is rich in Christian Symbolism. As one enters the Chapel, the simple Altar draws first attention to the carving at its center as the Cross of Jesus Christ Conqueror. (IC, the first and last letters of ‘Christ’: and Nika, the Greek for Conqueror) The Reredos carries the six symbols pf our Lord’s Passion with the Latin “Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus: Dominus Deus Omnipotens”. (Holy, Holy, Holy: Lord God Omnipotent) Above the Reredos is the lovely Trefoil Window with the Pomegranate, the symbol of the Church.
The windows follow the theme of the dedication. Starting with Ascension Window near the entrance, we move on the second, showing the outworking of the Ascension in the world, and the third, showing the fruits of the work of the Ascension in the receiving of the power and bearing witness.
The Ascension Window (He was received up into Heaven) has centrally located the Chariot followed below with the St. Andrew’s Cross, the Fleur de Lys, the crown, the chalice and the Host and the Good Shepherd.
Following the Creed, the second window tells of our Lord assuming the place of honor at the right hand of God. The Eagle is the symbol. The smaller symbols from the top to bottom are IXθYE (the Greek word for fish: It is acrostic of the words Jesus, Christ, God, Saviour (in Greek): The Nimbus; the trumpet of God and the Censer.
The third window (They went fourth and preached) shows St. Peter as one of the first who preached the Gospel. The smaller symbols from the top to bottom are the Latin Cross; The Greek Cross; The Phoenix; The Vine; The Passion Flowers; The Crossed Keys.
The fourth window (The Lord working with them)shows the dove and the flame, two symbols of the Holy Spirit, the power of the Lord working in the hearts of men. The smaller symbols from top to bottom are: The Star of Bethlehem; The Eye of God; The Fire; The Star of David; Shamrock.
The fifth window (Ye shall receive power) shows the hands of the Bishop in Confirmation when the seven fold gifts of the Holy Spirit are given. The smaller symbols are as follows: The Tri-queata; The Wheat; The Pelican; The Anchor; The Celtic Cross.
The last window (Ye shall be my witness) shows as its central symbol the Sword of Witness. The smaller symbols are: The Palm and Scepter; The Stars and Clouds; The Four Evangelists, St. Matthew (The Angel), St. Mark (The Lion), St. Luke (The Ox), St. John (The Eagle).
The needle-point kneelers and cushions are the work and gift of the Altar Guild. They were dedicated in 1966.
On the north wall of the Chapel Sanctuary is the small wood carving “The Madonna of the Grapes”. It was given by the family of John Kelley Carter.
A partial list of the many gifts in the Sacristy are: The sterling silver cruet presented in thanksgiving by the children of Mame and Oscar Moehle on their 50th Wedding Anniversary, October 31, 1950; the cruets with sterling silver stoppers in memory of William Swift Kelly, Communion Service with Ciborium, in memory of John Van Reed Lyman and Betsy Moffat; the sterling Flagon in memory of Irene Mayhew Wilson (when the crystal glass container was cracked it was replaced in sterling by Mrs. David Barnard Piersen in memory of her husband); the private Communion Service was the gift of Mr. and Mrs. O.G. Brice; the portable Communion Service and case were given in memory of Mable Ray the Duane Herrick Family; the large sterling Alms Basin was given by St. Cecilia’s Guild in memory of Leila Ann and John Willian Squires 1912; the smaller sterling basins are given in memory of Dwight Davis Lockerby by his wife; in memory of Lucy Sibree Faley by her husband and in memory of James and Hannah Bonell by the son, The Reverend Benjamin Bonell. During Eastertide in 1956, the Bishop consecrated a sterling communion set ( Chalice, Paten, Ciborium, Bread Box and Lavabo) given in memory of William Arthur Schwahn by his wife; the sterling Baptismal Shell was given in memory of Michael Girnau Crooker; the various Altar service books are given in memory of Guy Guyton and in thanksgiving for the Confirmation of Ralph Wilgus Hutchens.
Thus we complete our journey through Christ Church Cathedral.
The generosity and love of the people of Christ Church is shown in every part of our present structures. We offer our thanksgivings that we are privileged to have such a fine property raised and furnished to the glory and worship of God for the use of His people