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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

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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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I think the lady meant Jesus, but in any case …

I heard her coming before I saw her. She made her way up the ramp with an awkward sliding gait, using a cane for additional support. I walked over to greet her. A small woman — a good wind could blow her down — but she exuded presence even when she wasn’t talking. Now when you enter the building where I was that day one of the first things you might see is the No Public Restroom sign, a not uncommon sight in the heart of Boston. And it was when she saw that sign that she made her declaration about God and peeing but she quickly moved on from that topic to talk about life more generally. And as the air around me became lightly perfumed by the scent of alcohol, I gently interjected to ask, “Ma’am, I see, but how can we help you today?” She seemed perplexed by the question so I added, “Would you like to sit in the sanctuary for a bit and maybe pray or something like that?” She looked me straight in the eye and said, “Of course!” Now when she went in, I did peer through the window to make sure that that was all that she was doing. She sat with head bowed and I let her be. Eventually she did come out and as I held the door for her — she was trying to coordinate handling several bags as well as her cane — she asked, “Now where’s the bathroom?”

After letting my colleague know I was going to be occupied for a while, I guided her to the restroom. It was a long walk because as she explained several times, she can’t walk fast anymore. As we came to the stairs, she held onto the railing for support. At one juncture, I took one of her bags. And all the while she talked to me, telling me of her daughters, her son out west who was buying a house where she might stay one day. As for today, she was waiting for a bus. “And I planned it just right,” she explained, “so that I have time to come here to pray and then go to the bathroom and then get to the bus stop. I got plenty of time. Cause you see I don’t like to be rushed.”

“Where are you going on the bus?” I asked. And when she said to the shelter, I asked which one and she said Pine Street Inn. I could only say, “I’ve only heard good things about Pine Street.” And she nodded.

Now by the time we make our way down the stairs, there is no railing for support and so I say, “If you need to, you can hold my arm.”

She leaned her whole self against my side and took my hand.

Resuming our slow walk toward the bathroom, she apologized, “I don’t walk fast anymore.” I said, “That’s okay.”

Eventually we made our ascent from the restroom, back up the stairs.

She said, “You’re a lot like my friend Sue. She doesn’t mind that I’m slow. She never rushes me. Sometimes she lets me stay at her place. I can take the bus there too. She’s got her own place you see. She’s the best friend I ever made at Pine Street.”

Finally back in the lobby she adjusts her bags and we agree after looking at the wall clock that she still has plenty of time to make it to the bus top for her journey to the shelter.

“What’s your name?” she asked. I told her and then I asked her name. With a big smile she said, “It’s Theresa. Like Mother Theresa. Maybe I’ll be a saint one day too.”

And then she was gone.

http://www.pinestreetinn.org/

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detail from sermon on the mount, 1902

It was a quick visit but well worth it to see the interior of Arlington Street Church in Boston. The church has sixteen stained glass windows designed by Tiffany Studios of New York at the turn of the 20th century. Here are details from just a few.

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detail from john the baptist, 1905

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detail from jesus in the temple, 1903

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detail from the good shepherd, 1900-1905

More pictures in the future. View for yourself generally between 10-3. Learn more online at http://www.ascboston.org/about/building.html

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Detail from stained glass window, The Resurrection, by John La Farge (1902) at Trinity Church in the City of Boston.

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