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Rev. Warren Wenzel creates stained-glass art piece: The UMC in 2020

By: Doreen Gosmire, director of communication, Dakotas UMC

Wenzel Cross and Flame

The finished stain-glass art piece by Rev. Warren Wenzel. Note the gold that holds the flame together. Photos courtesy of Rev. Warren Wenzel.

Healing and brokenness are part of the church. Accepting our messiness and allowing God to guide us is why Rev. Warren Wenzel, believes in a healthy future for The United Methodist Church.

Wenzel, a retired elder of the Dakotas Conference, lives with his wife Iva in Langdon, North Dakota, in the spring and summer, and Mesa, Arizona, in the winter. This winter, while in Arizona, Wenzel, created a stained-glass art piece and named the artwork, “The UMC in 2020.”

“It started when our pastor in Arizona shared a series of sermons titled, “The Art of Kintsugi.” At the same time, I was taking a class in stained glass,” says Wenzel.

The Wenzels attend Red Mountain United Methodist Church in Mesa, Arizona, while at their residence in Arizona. The sermon was part of a service of healing and reconciliation

Kintsugi involves mending with gold. There is a short story or fable called the “Fable of Kintsukuroi.” In the story, the King’s son repairs a particular vessel that had been broken. The son uses the gold from his crown to make the repairs. 

Rev. Wenzel says, “All beautiful things have unique imperfections. Our scars and wounds and imperfections are our beauty. Like broken objects mended with gold, we are all Kintsugi.”  

The leader of Wenzel's stained-glass class told the participants to make anything they wanted and the leader would help them make it. Wenzel chose to make the cross and flame, the symbol of The United Methodist Church.

“I knew I would break some of the glass cutting the glass in the flame. Using the idea of Kintsugi, I put the broken and cut pieces of flame together with gold,” he says. 

He chose the name, “The UMC in 2020” for his glasswork. “We are broken, yet Jesus welcomes the broken. His love mends us, his love is gold,” says Wenzel. “This is a hard time for the UMC, but it is all still well in God’s hands.”

The fable of Kintsukuroi fits well with Philippians 2:6-8, shares Rev. Wenzel. “Jesus experienced brokenness, but in His brokenness, we find healing. Jesus had more trouble with the “not broken” people than with the “broken” people. The question for us is how we can still be the church if we are broken, and we are, and have cracks in us, which we do.”

In the stained-glass artwork created by Wenzel, the cross is not broken, the flames are broken but are mended with gold. Wenzel believes that the art piece represents the future and hope for The United Methodist Church.

About Rev. Warren Wenzel: Rev. Warren Wenzel, retired, served the Dakotas Conference at Williston Faith; Williston First/Grenora; Mohall/Sherwood/Tolley; Bowman; Harvey/Martin/Chaseley; Fairmount/Bethany/Rosholt; and Linton/Moffit/Braddock.

About General Conference: General Conference will convene in August of 2021,  the 2020 session was postponed due to the COVID pandemic.  The the new prospective dates for The United Methodist Church’s General Conference are Aug. 31-Sept. 10, 2021. The General Conference will consider multiple proposals to split the denomination and divide assets after longtime debate over biblical interpretation and the status of LGBTQ people. 


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