The Sanctuary of The First Congregational Church of Redlands is adorned with beautiful stained glass windows depicting the ministry of Jesus Christ. The morning sun floods into the sanctuary and illuminates “The Resurrection,” a stained glass window created by Tiffany Art Glass Company of New York. It is difficult for the passerby to ignore these beautiful works of art and the warm, multi-hued colors bring a sense of calm, peace, and reverence in the sanctuary.
Not so visible and less well known, but equally artistic, is the contemplative “Christ with Children” statue. Centered in a small section of the Garth (patio) surrounded by beautiful red roses is a statue commemorating James, Ethan, and Nathan Heavilin, sons of Glen and Marilyn Heavilin. The statue is of cast bronze and is the work of Linda Hundevadt Pew, a member of the church and a gifted artist.
The statue depicts Jesus with a young boy in his arms and a small girl at his feet. In recounting the conception and creation of the statue, Linda stated: “To Marilyn and Glen’s credit, they not only chose ‘generic’ depictions, but also agreed to include a little girl, both of which added a greater, more universal appeal to the piece. I chose to clothe Christ in the garb of the day and to put the children in modern attire to indicate the continuing love of the Lord through the ages.”
“I admire Glen and Marilyn for their deep compassion in wanting the commemorative bronze to honor many lost children in addition to their precious boys. I am privileged to have been asked to create this work, and even more blessed to have these now treasured friends in my life.”
The Heavilins chose to use the tragic, untimely death of their sons as an opportunity to witness to their faith and to reach out to others who have experienced similar loss. Regarding the statue, Marilyn Heavilin said: “The ‘Christ with Children’ statue created by Linda Hundvadt Pew, was given by Glen and myself in memory of our sons, Nathan, James and Ethan. It was our goal to ‘provide a place of comfort and encouragement for other bereaved parents who would outlast us. The words on the dedicatory plaque express our feelings and motivation.”