Armory Art Center's Inner Circle tours Bethesda church, gardens

About a dozen members of the Armory Art Center’s Inner Circle enjoyed a tour of the art, architecture and gardens at The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea Monday in the art group's season finale of an insider look at art.

The Armory group, composed of high-level donors and members, looked earlier this season at Betty Marcus’ collection of weathervanes and James Swope’s fine arts conservation lab. Members also took in a lecture at The Chesterfield by Sandra B. Combs, the Armory’s executive director. On Monday, guests learned about the history of Bethesda and the stories behind the statues, carvings, paintings and stained glass windows. They’re rich in symbols and messages, from the apostles, the saints and bishops to biblical stories.

One important stained glass window is of St. Peter, brother of Andrew the fisherman, who received the responsibility to build God’s church on Earth. Symbols seen in the window include keys (signifying the keys to the kingdom of God) and the rooster, which crowed each time Peter denied Christ.

The largest stained-glass window, above Bethesda’s altar, was made in England and sent by several ships in 1940 to the United States.

Docents were John Pierce Archer, John Buxton, Peter Broberg, Charles Frankel and Robert Jackson. Archivist Jethro Hurt III and historian Ann Elizabeth Hall were on hand.

-- Betty Nelander