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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

DorcasProfile

Dorcas is one of a set of two windows purchased by William Amory (1808-1888) in memory of his parents Thomas Coffin Amory (1767-1812) and Hannah Rowe Linzee Amory (1775-1845).

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Located in the north transept of Trinity Church in Copley Square, the window was installed between 1877-1878. According to the literature, both the Amory and Linzee families had long been associated with the parish which was found in 1733. Designed and executed by Burlison & Grylls of London, the window depicts the biblical figure of Dorcas, a woman of wealth, who aided those who were in need. In this case the artist shows Dorcas throwing a garment over someone beseeching her for aid.

 

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It is a beautifully rendered window full of drama and rich colorful detail. See for yourself when you have the chance: http://trinitychurchboston.org/visit/tours

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Dudley A. Tyng, 1855

In 1856 Reverend Dudley A. Tyng delivered the sermon, Our Country’s Troubles,  before the congregation of the Church of the Epiphany in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Times were indeed quite troubled in the country. As he began he acknowledged the general disdain of discussing politics in the pulpit: “It is undoubtedly a great evil when the teachers of religion forsake their appropriate themes to mingle in all the heated controversies of the day.” But then he goes on to say, “But may there not be also an opposite extreme? May there not be silence when great principles are at stake? … May not the dread of offence be carried so far as to put the pulpit in bondage? Society can suffer in no member without a true-hearted Christian’s ministry suffering with it. … At such times the Christian ministry may be criminal if it does not speak out boldly in behalf of right … It seems to me that we have now reached such a time.”

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1856 map showing the slave states (gray), free states (pink), U.S. territories (green), and Kansas in center (white)

Kansas was bleeding. Two years earlier, Congress had passed the Kansas-Nebraska Act which allowed people in these two territories to decide for themselves, at the polls, whether or not they would allow slavery within their borders. The Act nullified the Missouri Compromise of 1820 which had prohibited slavery north of latitude 36 30′. Corruption and coercion were widespread as people tried to control the polls and the spread of slavery. Conflict erupted between anti-slavery and pro-slavery interests. Thousands poured into the state to sway the voting through rhetoric and violent intimidation.

 

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Abolitionist John Brown, 1856

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Pro-slavery Border Ruffians

Violence would erupt within the walls of Congress as well. In May 1856, anti-slavery Massachusetts Senator Charles Sumner delivered an address titled The Crime Against Kansas. He’d written and memorized 112 pages of text. It took him five hours over two days to share it. He focused his carefully crafted ire at two pro-slavery Democratic senators, Stephen A. Douglas of Illinois and Andrew Butler of South Carolina, authors of the Act.

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Stephen A. Douglas and Andrew Butler

Butler was not present in Congress during the address but his cousin House member Preston Brooks of South Carolina was in attendance. Two days after Sumner spoke, Brooks entered the Senate chamber and severely beat him with a heavy cane. It is considered one of the precipitating events of the Civil War. And it certainly must have inspired Tyng to write his sermon, Our Country’s Troubles, one month later.

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Charles Sumner and Preston Brooks

I claim a patient hearing…,” Tyng beseeched the congregation as he brought the issues of the day into the pulpit. “For the first time in this country it is the scene of civil war. Armed men, in battle array, are marching on its soil and carrying with them all the horrors of a hostile invasion. Towns are sacked, houses pillaged … Society is in confusion, public security at an end … Families are driven out from lands which they have tilled, and houses which they have built, and warned to leave the country or be hung. … Hardly a day passes without bringing telegraphic news of some new outrage, so dreadful that we can scarce realize its possibility, or arouse ourselves to feel as the occasion demands.”  As for the author of these outrages, our “own countrymen, citizens of our own free and happy land, imbuing their hands in brother’s blood! And what is the crime … Merely difference of opinion. Merely assertion of their right to think, speak, write and act according to their own conscience and interests …”

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Tyng  outlined the strategic construction of the Kansas-Nebraska Act and how ultimately its purpose, and the ensuing violence in Kansas, was to give slave-holding interests control of Congress. He describes voter fraud involved with election of a Territorial legislature, a legislature that would go on to pass laws that not only enabled slavery but penalized those who were anti-slavery including preventing them from sitting as jurors, and “That writing, printing or circulating anything against slavery should be punished with five years’ imprisonment at hard labor.”

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With regard to the attack on Sumner he asks, “Without the right of freedom of speech, neither our liberties or our religion are secure. If the bludgeon is to be the ruling power in our country, where will be our boasted freedom and national Christianity? If the flag of our country and the symbols of her liberty cannot protect the members of her government within the walls of her Capitol … what is to become of our republic? … The act itself itself is not so ominous of evil as its endorsement. To hear it defended and eulogized [throughout the Southern states] by public assemblies giving votes of thanks to [Brooks’s] iniquities, by the press almost unanimously holding it up as worthy of imitation, and by fellow representatives who screen the offender from punishment, may well make one feel sadly apprehensive for our country.” …

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…why are Southern men so madly resolved that Kansas shall be thrown open to slavery? Is it because they desire to be residents of the country? Very few of them have any such idea. But it will give them first an increase in political power. It will wheel another state into the phalanx, and give them two more Senatorial votes for the control of the government which the far swifter progress of the free states has taken from them in the House of Representatives. Few among us have reflected on the political power given by slavery to the few.

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“Three-fifths of all the slaves are counted in with the whites as the basis of representation, largely increasing the political importance of the white person at the South over the white person at the North. … [Southern] Political honors and influence are confined to a few.  … these are the persons who control the policies of [the sixteen slave holding states] and by their influence at home and at the North have controlled the policy and monopolized the honors of General Government. …” 

“Doubtless one sin for which we are suffering is the base spirit of truckling and pandering to sectional interests … Vainly do we look for patriotism in the wire-working of our political parties. The whole government is administered upon the principle of the division of the spoils. There has been no prejudice so opposed to the spirit of our institutions, no sectional interest so degrading, that political leaders, low and high were not willing to sell themselves to it for votes.”

Tyng held everyone culpable, from Northern politicians courting slaveholder votes to the people sitting in the pews before him.

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As Mark Twain is thought to have said, history doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes. How prescient are Tyng’s words for this day in these United States about people and politics?

Well, in his day, Tyng did not completely leave his audience in despair with his sermon. He left them with what I describe as not so much a call to action as a list of action steps including the following:

“Ours is a government of opinion. To public opinion every party and coalition is compelled to bow. It is mightier than bayonets.  … There is freer circulation of news in this country than in any other, and yet there is surprising ignorance and unconcern in what is taking place in the country.  … Very few of the political journals have reported a faithful report of facts. They have been advocates not witnesses, catching up events for special pleading for party effect, instead of relating the whole truth before the tribunal of the people. … Now let every person seek to inform himself and his neighbors of events as they are. Put the facts before the people. … Let them be taught to view the facts and principles of the present crisis, irrespective of party affinities. … Our first duty, therefore, is to enlighten the public mind. …”

Now, I’m not sure if it was this sermon or if this was simply one of a series of sermons that would so disgruntle the congregation of Church of the Epiphany but it was in the same year as this sermon, 1856, that Tyng would resign and take his followers to form Church of the Convenant in Philadephia. He would die in a tragic farming accident just two years later.

Now the only reason I learned of Tyng and his horribly timeless yet wonderfully timely sermon is through a reference made by Phillips Brooks.

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Phillips Brooks in Philadelphia

While more well-known for his later work as Rector of Trinity Church in the City of Boston, prior to that placement Brooks served as rector at two Philadelphia churches including Church of the Holy Trinity. On Thanksgiving Day in 1863, just three years after it had become an official holiday, Brooks delivered a renowned sermon, Our Mercies of Re-Occupation. Preaching during the midst of the Civil War, like Tyng, Brooks chose to bring the issues of the day into the pulpit. He spoke during a time when people questioned the economics of ending slavery, whether or not slavery was in the bible and so on.

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For Brooks there was but one answer:

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Brooks known for his whirlwind sermons that carried listeners away would touch upon many subjects in his sermon and always remind people, no matter their position, that they could do better. For instance, he states, “If the negro is a man, and we have freed him in virtue of his manhood, what consistency or honor is it which still objects to his riding down the street in the same car with us if he is tired, or sitting in the same pew with us if he wants to worship God.”

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While Tyng’s sermon(s) forced him to leave his church and start anew, Brooks “only” lost a few parishioners and there were many ready to join his church. Self-deprecating, in a letter home, he simply says, “I am glad you liked my sermon. … I have just been reading over Dudley Tyng’s famous sermon from seven years ago. What a brave thing it was to do! Thank God anybody can do it now.”

Who in the world was Tyng, I wondered, to have touched Brooks so.

I subtracted 7 from 1863 and did a little search for Dudley Tyng 1856 sermon. And that was how I learned of a young man who wrote some timeless yet still timely words. By the way if you do a search for just Dudley Tyng (and not his sermons), you’ll most often find references to him being the inspiration for the hymn, Stand Up! Stand Up for Jesus!

Sources & Additional Reading

Dudley A. Tyng’s Our Country’s Troubles (1856) – http://deila.dickinson.edu/cdm/ref/collection/slaverya/id/64330

Charles Sumner’s The Crime Against Kansas (1856) – https://www.senate.gov/artandhistory/history/resources/pdf/CrimeAgainstKSSpeech.pdf

Bleeding Kansas – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bleeding_Kansas

http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/w/Bleeding_Kansas

The Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Division of Art, Prints and Photographs: Print Collection, The New York Public Library. “Southern chivalry – argument versus club’s.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1856. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/6232540d-9d12-b4e8-e040-e00a18061bf0

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division, The New York Public Library. “”The same chain that passes around the slave’s neck is fastened to the white man’s heel.” Par. XXVII.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1856. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47da-75da-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Photographs and Prints Division, The New York Public Library. “Young boys.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dc-4926-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Jean Blackwell Hutson Research and Reference Division, The New York Public Library. “Commissioner’s sale in 1863.” The New York Public Library Digital Collections. 1940. http://digitalcollections.nypl.org/items/510d47dc-9f9a-a3d9-e040-e00a18064a99

[Two unidentified Border Ruffians with swords / Blackall, photographer, Clinton, Iowa]. [Clinton, iowa: blackall, between 1854 and 1860] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <https://www.loc.gov/item/2016646192/>.

Our Mercies of Re-Occupation by Phillips Brooks. https://ia802305.us.archive.org/33/items/ourmerciesofreoc00broo/ourmerciesofreoc00broo.pdf

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Today I was browsing the online archives of the Library of Congress and chanced upon this 1930s drawing by Katherine Lamb Tait. Though it is not labeled as such, I realized it was an early rendition of her design for the unique stained glass windows at Tuskegee University known as The Singing Window.

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About two years ago, I wrote an article describing the story behind the windows. You can read it online here in Deep South Magazine and learn how Tait collaborated with Robert Moton, President of Tuskegee, to produce what would be a visual expression of eleven spirituals.

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Installed in 1933, the original windows would only be in place for about twenty years before a fire destroyed the chapel where they were located. But because Tait’s final design survived …

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… when a new chapel was built in the 1960’s, architects were able to recreate and include the new Singing Window as well.

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I hope to see it in person one day. This photo of the window can be found on the Library of Congress website courtesy of photographer Carol M. Highsmith.

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Installed between 1872 and 1957, the stained glass windows of First Church in Cambridge, Congregational “do not belong to a comprehensive scheme, nor to a single style, subject or studio. They are a melange. Each must be viewed in its own light.

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The Kimball/Rice Window by Horace J. Phipps and Company (1918) and The Willet Stained Glass Studios, Inc. (1960)

Those are the words of Pastor Allen Happe in the Foreword of the book, A Sympony of Color, by Patricia H. Rodgers. The book, published in 1990, provides a brief overview of the church’s 350 year history, and then focuses on the evolution of the physical building now present at 11 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA. It has been my pleasure to visit the building several times at night to attend concerts. Of course, I could not see the windows but  I was intrigued by their size and the lead outlines. Recently I made contact and was given permission to visit and photograph the windows. It was a cloudy day but there was just enough to light to illuminate the interior beauty.

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Detail from the Kimball/Rice Window by Horace J. Phipps and Company (1918) and The Willet Stained Glass Studios, Inc. (1960)

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Detail from the Kimball/Rice Window by Horace J. Phipps and Company (1918) and The Willet Stained Glass Studios, Inc. (1960)

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Detail from the Kimball/Rice Window by Horace J. Phipps and Company (1918) and The Willet Stained Glass Studios, Inc. (1960)

In her book, Rodgers identifies at least six studios whose work is represented including the Tiffany Glass & Decorating Company, The Willet Stained Glass Studios, Inc., Horace J. Phipps and Company, Reynolds, Francis and Rohnstock, Arthur Murray Dallin and Cummings Studios. There are several windows for which the studio is unknown. One of those windows is the Hart Window.

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Produced by an American glass company in 1901, it is composed of layers of opalescent glass. According to Rodger’s research, the windows was restored in 1987 and at that time it was discovered that there were up to three layers of glass in places.

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There are several striking windows by Tiffany Studios including St. Catherine of Alexander (1908). Catherine represents saintliness, beauty, and learning. This window, the last to be installed by Tiffany for First Church, was given in memory of young woman who was a noted scholar and dedicated to her missionary work.

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The Catherine window is situated between several non-figural grisaille windows.

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There are at least eight Tiffany Studios windows present.

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Detail from They Shall Be Mine, Saith the Lord, 1895

Perhaps one of the most captivating windows overall is Tiffany’s The Four Elements, 1895.

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Designed by W. Frederick Wilson for the Tiffany Studio. As Rodgers notes in her book from a period newspaper, the window apparently has over one hundred thousand separate pieces of glass and one half tone of lead and solder used to hold the pieces in position. They are the largest set of windows at First Church.

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The robes of the largest angels, representing earth, air, fire and water, are made from drapery glass.

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Tiffany Studios closed around 1928. Windows installed after this time reflect a different aesthetic as in the Bancroft Window, 1929, produced by the studio of Reynolds, Francis and Rohnstock.

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First Church in Cambridge, Congregational is quite the expansive space with a long history, and it is a welcoming place. I’m grateful for the opportunity to visit this lovely place and share the beauty of its windows.

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Learn more about this church online at http://www.firstchurchcambridge.org/

Sources & Additional Reading

https://www.amazon.com/symphony-color-Stained-glass-Church/dp/0962619604

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Detail from opalescent chancel window, Cummings Studios, 1954

 

 

 

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I recently visited First Church in Cambridge with my camera. Looking forward to sharing what I saw. Have a good Friday!

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I stepped into another church again. This one also sat in the middle of Dublin’s city centre, this time on Clarendon Street. The website describes St. Teresa’s as a quiet oasis of prayer and that was certainly true. On the streets, people were rushing about but once inside, there was utter quiet.

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People entered and wandered into particular chapels to light candles, pray. Perhaps to simply sit and be.

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I wandered …

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… just enough to “discover” the stained glass.

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I didn’t wander long but I didn’t need to in order to see the beauty of the place.

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I could find no literature on the tables about the building’s art and architecture.

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An eclectic mix of styles accrued over time as tastes vary.

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Whatever one’s desire, for prayer, for quiet, to view beautiful art, it is a lovely place for a respite.  More about St. Teresa’s on Clarendon Street, Dublin can be found via this link:  http://clarendonstreet.com/

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… and so we walked into the Church of the Assumption Howth. Howth is a fishing village east of Dublin and easily accessible via DART, the public rail transportation system. We were walking, quite frankly trying to find another destination, when we noticed a church and though there did not immediately appear to be stained glass inside we took a chance and entered. Built in 1899, the church was designed by William H. Byrne. Not every church needs stained glass windows but it was a pleasant surprise to venture far enough inside to see the three apse windows dedicated to the Virgin Mary.

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The sequence begins with the angel Gabriel announcing to Mary that she is bear a son.

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The next features the Assumption of Mary into heaven, based on text from Revelation 12, her body and soul raised up to heaven.

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And finally Jesus placing the crown of Queen of Heaven on Mary’s head. She gazes down on humanity while angels keep watch from a sky full of stars.

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A quick, lovely, unexpected visit. You can read more about the village of Howth here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howth

You can learn more about the church here: http://www.howthparish.ie/heritage

 

 

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