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Stained glass window brings light to meditation room

Artists design, create window for community

Created date

February 26th, 2013

At Ann s Choice, the Erickson Living community in Bucks County, Pa., residents enjoy an aquatics and fitness center, on-site medical center, flexible meal plans in four campus restaurants, one-level maintenance-free living, and more than 155 groups and activities. One project brought the community together in a way like no other.

Spiritual center

In early 2011, the community designated a room in its continuing care neighborhood as a meditation room. The Ann s Choice faith communities each contributed an item to display there, and Pastoral Ministries Manager Richard Haddon began stocking a spiritual library. But something was missing, he says, a stained glass window. Haddon knew just where to commission one. He asked the campus stained glass club to create a piece with a spiritual theme that would express the community s nondenominational character. We have very talented people in that group, he says. I knew they could do this. When the group agreed, Haddon invited the community s resident artists to submit designs. Clare Knickmeyer based her design on Psalm 121, I lift my eyes to the hills. It became the theme. Because Joan Garber had more stained glass experience than other members, she headed the project s creative component. She collaborated with other campus artists and researched designs suitable for stained glass. Ira Clemens handled technical issues; he maintained equipment and made frames to contain the glass once work started. In all, nine residents participated. We knew this would be a learning process for all of us, Ira says.

Lessons learned

The group began work on the two 18-by-36-inch panels in January 2012. They used the Keystone Clubhouse crafts studio as headquarters. Not everything went smoothly. When the glass pieces broke wrong, members had to adapt. Those were good lessons, Ira says. In fact, the adaptations often resulted in more artistic arrangements. When the panels were completed, Our chests were exploding with delight that we d successfully met those challenges, says Joan. Sidelining other commitments, she logged 40 hours on the project in one month; Ira logged even more. The time was worth it. Two richly colored stained glass panels now hang in front of the meditation room window. And when sunlight streams through the textured glass, the effect is magnificent. Haddon calls the project a wonderful collaboration among Continuing Care Community Administrator Gloria Smith, the pastoral ministries department, and the stained glass group.

Back to business as usual

The group is now returning to other interests. For Joan, that includes Ann s Choice Lifelong Learning Academy classes, discussion groups, movies, and fitness activities. The community offers so many things, it s unbelievable, she says. It s a blessing to live here. Ira has taken a break from stained glass to rejoin Silent Flyers, a campus group whose members build and fly remote-controlled airplanes and helicopters at Warminster Community Park next door (Ann s Choice has its own private entrance to the park). If you don t get out and do things at Ann s Choice, you don t know what you re missing, he says.