Architecture

Ceiling

The ceiling, which is 54 feet above the floor, consists of 168 panels, each with its own religious symbol. The panels are arranged chronologically, with those representing God the Father and the Creator nearest the Chancel. Then, in order, follow reproductions of the heraldry of Mary and Joseph; of Christ, such as the cross, orb, and crown of thorns; of Christ's evangelists, who were the first to go into the world and preach his gospel; of the 12 apostles; and finally, over the balcony, of the doctors of the early Eastern and Western churches.

 

Chancel

Steps lead from the nave up into the chancel, where three steps, symbolic of the Trinity, lead to a hand-carved English oak altar. On either side of the chancel are the pews of the divided choir stalls. To the right as one faces the altar are the organ console and octagonal oak pulpit, hand-carved with traditional Gothic oak leaves and the English Tudor rose; on the left is the great brass eagle lectern which holds the Holy Bible.

 

Narthex

Over the great main entrance is a coat of arms bearing the symbols of the objectives of all Academies activity: star enclosed by wreath, for patriotism and honor; broadswords and scales, right and justice; open book flanked by torches, tradition and learning; and oak leaf surrounded by a chain, strength of fellowship.

Upon entering the narthex through the great doors of the main portal, one is reminded of the sacrifices and courage of those 6,500 alumni of Culver whom the building memorializes. Enshrined in the slate and marble floor is a bronze seal of dedication bearing the inscription "To the Glory of God, and in Tribute to Those Immortal Sons of Culver Who Arose in Arms with Courage and Devotion to Defend Their Country and the Cause of Freedom for All Men – 1941-45.

On four limestone panels nearby are carved the names of Culver’s 288 alumni, who, while serving in the Armed Forces of the United States and her allies, made the supreme sacrifice so that free people might endure. Flanking the narthex are the vestibules containing the east and west portals and stairways leading to the balcony and tower.

 

Stained-Glass Window

The great stained glass window over the altar was designed and executed in Exeter, England, as was the rose window over the balcony. The scene of this chancel window is set within the precincts of a temple whose architecture suggests in its classical dignity the universality of religion, transcending all boundaries of time and place. Under a portico, whereon is poised a winged angel holding the treasured crown of life, is the robed figure of Christ, standing with hands upraised as He teaches the multitude. On either side of Him are gathered the disciples, and on the double stairway, leading up from either side of the ambulatory, are gathered people from all walks of life to hear the words of Christ. In the center lancet at the bottom is a fountain symbolizing the life-giving virtues of the words of the Master. At the apex of the window is a blaze of golden light, symbolic of the divine glory of God the Father, who here casts the warmth of His light, like a benediction, over the whole scene below. In the tracery at the bottom of the window is our Lord's assurance, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life – If Ye Keep My Commandments, Ye Shall Abide In My Love."

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