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Light Fantastic

July 29, 2011
Paul Martinez and Ramon Coronado in a shaft of dusty light while reinstalling the rose window. (Photo by John Froschauer)
Paul Martinez and Ramon Coronado in a shaft of dusty light while reinstalling the rose window. (Photo by John Froschauer)

The Light Fantastic: A journey into the spectrum of life at Pacific Lutheran

By Dennis Sepper, University Pastor

Ten o’clock in the morning is the best time to climb the stairs, slip in the door and take a seat at the back of Tower Chapel. There, you are bathed in brilliant hues of blue, red and yellow as the morning sun shines through the Rose Window.

A few moments later, when the sun rises above Harstad Hall, the symbols of the Christian faith and our Lutheran heritage seem to burst out as if they were in 3-D. Throughout the years, hundreds, if not thousands, of Lutes have had their breath taken away by the window’s brilliant beauty. With its Rose Window, Tower Chapel is like no other place on campus.
But it’s not just the Rose Window that makes Tower Chapel such a special place. Whenever the subject of remodeling the Chapel comes up, the student chorus is always the same: “Please don’t change the feel of the Chapel!” One would think with its bare concrete floors and creaky benches that the students would want new and modern furnishings. But it is the medieval ambiance of the chapel that seems to lend the space a spiritual quality. And well it should. The Chapel and the Rose Window have seen the course of human life as the generations of Lutes have come and moved on to other vocations in the world.

The Chapel is the home to early morning Bible Studies and late-night Holden Evening Prayer services. It is, as every Lute knows, one of the most popular places on campus to “pop the question” as couples become engaged. It is where students go to pray and discern their vocational call.

In the 16 years that Nancy Connor and I have been the University Pastors we have presided over weddings, baptisms, prayer vigils for social concerns, funerals and memorial services, and even the renewal of wedding vows on significant anniversaries – all in front of that Rose Window.

The special nature of the Chapel and Rose Window is brought to mind each September, as a new group of Lutes are introduced to its meaning and significance by orientation guides who end their training with a blessing in Tower Chapel before the Rose Window. The spiritual link is what keeps the Rose Window alive in the minds and hearts of PLU students, faculty and staff.

Now, the window has been refurbished and restored as these pictures reveal. So, the next time you go into Tower Chapel at about 10 o’clock in the morning to be bathed by the colors of the stained glass, you might want to savor the moment and just let it take your breath away.