The Stained Glass Windows of Saint Mark
The Annunciation to the Shepherds
“And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.” Luke 2: I 0
Bishop George Foster Pierce, D.D., LL.D.
Born 1811. Elected Bishop 1854. Died 1884.
The appearance of the angel of the Lord to the shepherds as they were keeping watch over their flock is recounted only in the Gospel according to Saint Luke (2:8-20). The design of this window focuses attention upon the angel, whose message was, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy....” The detail and texture of the face and robe of the angel are notable. Accompanied by three cherubim, the angel holds a palm branch, usually associated in Christian symbolism with the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, but in this usage probably suggestive of the Jewish practice of carrying palm branches as a sign of rejoicing. Each of the almost thirty tiny stars in the dark sky is a separate piece of glass.
The medallion at the top of the widow is the Agnus Dei Triumphant. The victorious Lamb of God in the standing triumphant posture carries a resurrection banner on a cruciform staff. The design is an Easter symbol.
This window was made in 1909.
George Foster Pierce was born to Lovick and Ann Foster Pierce on February 3, 1811, in Greene County, Georgia. His father, a Methodist minister, was on the Oconee District, which stretched from Athens to Saint Mary’s. He was licensed to preach on March 20, 1830, and on March 28th preached his first sermon in Monticello, Georgia. He married Ann Maria Waldron. At 27 years of age he became the President of Georgia Female College at Macon and later was elected President of Emory College at Oxford. At the 1854 General Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in Columbus, he was elected bishop. Bishop Pierce traveled to Arkansas, Texas, Kansas, Missouri, and eventually to California. He preached before the General Assembly of Georgia at Milledgeville in 1863. In 1867 he presided over the first session of the North Georgia Conference in Atlanta. At the age of 73, he died in 1884 and was buried at Sparta, Georgia.