Emmanuel Church in the City of Boston is an Episcopal parish located on Newbury Street. Consecrated in 1861 it is a masterpiece among the many architectural treasures to be found in Boston’s Back Bay. Its history as a place of worship and advocate for social justice for over 150 years are well documented on the church’s website. On the day that I and a friend visited to view the interior, an arts program for the homeless was concluding. Based on brief interactions with some of the participants it is clearly an empowering project, and just one of many offered in service to those in need. I hope to learn more in the future but on that day my focus was the stained glass windows. From the literature shared by one of the clergy, the stained glass artists whose work can be found in the church include John Ninian Comper, Charles Connick, Frederic Crowninshield, Harry Eldredge Goodhue, Heaton Butler & Bayne, Charles Eamer Kempe, Tiffany, Samuel West and Henry Wynd Young.
With expansion and construction into the 1920s, there are many different styles represented in the windows of Emmanuel Church.
Windows have been lost over time.
Others have been beautifully restored including the church’s signature window, Emmanuel’s Land, comprised of 15 panels of leaded glass with 17 smaller sections of tracery above, and done in the opalescent style made famous by John La Farge, Louis C. Tiffany and Frederic Crowninshield. Emmanuel’s Land is one of Crowninshield’s largest works.
The window is especially notable because it does not depict a religious scene but instead a scene from John Bunyan’s book, The Pilgrims Progress.
Piety, Discretion, Prudence and Charity show Pilgrim Emmanuel’s Land. The window was designed in memory of Mrs. Howard Payson Arnold, Crowninshield’s mother.
The windows are housed in a structure that has evolved quite a bit over its history from its original construction in 1861. As the parish grew, adjacent plots of land were purchased and new adjoining structures were built including a parish house, west transept, and two chapels. The Lindsey Chapel was the last to be built between 1920-1924. A poignant tale is at the heart of its construction but I shall save that story and those images for another post.
In this post I’ve shared just a brief glimpse of the windows inside this lovely church. I hope you have the chance to see firsthand. Learn more about the church via the following link: