St. John's Lutheran Church

In the City for Good!

St. John's Lutheran Church participates in God's mission to bless, save, restore and reconcile the world through meaningful worship and faithful witness in the city of Des Moines and around the world.

St. John's Lutheran Church invites and welcomes all people to experience the Good News of God's grace, forgiveness and unfailing love. The Good News calls and empowers us to share God's love in word and deed throughout our city, nation and world.


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Please join us each Sunday for worship. The 10 am worship service includes instrumental ensembles plus music from the Cathedral Choir. Handbell and children's choirs provide worship music about once a month. Please refer to the Performing Arts page for all Performing Arts and Arts in Worship events.

Mosaic Created in Spring 2015

The St. John's Community created a mosaic that was displayed during Holy Week 2015. The triptych was removed on Maundy Thursday when the altar was stripped, and then re-installed for the Easter season.

The mosaics installed on the chancel were created in response to the theme for this year’s Lenten season: A Beautiful Brokenness. During the 2015 Lenten season, mid-week services centered on the beautiful broken-ness of God made visible in the cross of Christ. And because our gathering around that cross is what we call “worship,” we examined our worship life as a place of beautiful brokenness also; for in worship, time itself, along with word, bread and the community are broken apart and given away for love of God and neighbor.

The triptych was designed specifically for this theme and the St. John’s sanctuary. The waves of color that anchor the three pieces represent nature: water, earth, crops, sun, earth’s atmosphere, eternal light.  Each mosaic depicts a cross:

The Greek letter Χ combined with the letter Ρ represents the first two letters of Christ (ΧΡΙΣΤΟΣ) and is the most common monogram of Christ. The sign was an abbreviation of chreston, "auspicious," used by scribes to mark a good passage in a papyri. The sign is often combined with the Greek letters for Alpha and Omega to indicate Christ as the beginning and the ending.In early Christian uses, the sign is found on oil lamp handles, glass gold plates, various utensils (spoons for the host, for instance), and marked or carved in the catacombs. It is one of the most frequently found symbols on early Christian rings.

The Jerusalem cross is a Greek cross formed by four tau crosses and Greek crosses within each quadrant. Interpretations of the design include symbolizing the five wounds of Christ; the different countries participating in the crusades (the crusade started with a plain papal banner); the four corners of the earth; and the four evangelists.

The Tau (T) cross is the anticipatory cross, one of the signs from the Old Testament believed by the Early Church Fathers to prefigure Christ. During the middle ages, the Tau cross became associated with healing and St. Anthony’s fire, and considered the most likely form of cross on which Christ was crucified. In Greek, the T represented Theos or God. (2) As a mark, a large T appears in some of the inscriptions in the catacombs. (3) However, for most of the first millenium after the crucifixion, either a Greek or Latin cross is used.

The mosaics were designed by Beth Ann Edwards and created by members of the St. John’s community. In a span of three weeks, over 60 people spent time fitting pieces of glass on the boards to create these works of art. Special thanks go to Nicole Krayneski James, artistic consultant; Mark Welsh, frame builder; Eric Burmeister and Casey Smith, materials donors; Greg Anderson, construction supervisor; ASAP, equipment lenders; and volunteers who provided countless hours of cutting, fitting and gluing stained glass.  This project was sponsored by Friends of the Arts.



 600 6th Ave. Des Moines, Iowa  50309 - 515.243.7691 - a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America