T.C. Ensey designed the stained glass windows at the Eastmoor United Methodist Church more than 50 years ago, but he still occasionally hears a compliment about them.
“I was interested in art,” Ensey said, recalling when the church relocated to its current site in 1963.
“I had done painting and drawing and stuff like that,” Ensey said. “I just saw stained glass and I didn’t know how to do it.”
Ensey, a longtime Marion physician, was chairman of the finance committee for the new church. He took a course in Wichita to learn how to make stained glass and he practiced by making between 50 and 60 stained glass lamps, which he gave away.
“I wanted to do the windows and it became my project,” Ensey said.
Ensey, who turns 94 this month, lives with his wife Lila at Marion Assisted Living. He completed many of the windows when the church opened in 1963. He completed more stained glass windows when an addition was added to the church in 1999 that includes the Wesley Center, a classroom and the church office.
At the time he was designing the windows, a minister informed Ensey that he hadn’t depicted the Holy Spirit in any of them. So Ensey responded by creating one, with God depicted as fire and the cloud a symbol of God breathing the spirit of life into Adam.
In one window, he juxtaposed two angels blowing horns over a sun. In another, Ensey used a purple butterfly to symbolize the resurrection.
Ensey also drew his own praying hands alongside one of the windows, and he created a community service window with the sun rising as a memorial to a family that had experienced a death.
Six windows adorn the main body of the church, or nave. Three begin with a symbol for God and three with a symbol for Jesus, combining Old and New Testament messages. Each window narrative ends with a different symbol for the resurrection.
Pastor Dan Ferguson, who began working at the church in July, said he enjoys the fine art of the windows.
“I think they’re beautiful,” Ferguson said. “They have a lot of good symbolism.”
Each of the windows contains a plaque with more detailed information describing the scenes. In one window, the story of salvation begins with baptism and ends with resurrection. In another, the fish represents one of the earliest symbols representing the Savior.
Following an internship at Wesley Hospital in Wichita, Ensey lived and worked as a physician in Marion for 32 years. He said he was proud of the stained glass windows at the church and that some of his stained glasswork resides at the Marion Historical Museum.
“I designed them,” Ensey said. “And I really like them.”