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Glass Act

The First Congregational Church undergoes a restoration of its richly-hued stained glass windows — preserving an invaluable local history



A close-up of the 1691 window depicts Greenwich's earliest burial ground, which still exists.

Photographs by William Taufic

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There is something both simple and splendid about stained glass windows. Simple because they’re still made the way they first were in twelfth-century Europe — splendid because they transcend mere bits of colored glass and strips of lead. They speak to us, telling ancient and uplifting stories, transforming molten sand and metal into a timeless fusion of nature and art and faith.

And the stained glass windows of the First Congregational Church in Old Greenwich have many stories to tell. They will take you through the life of Christ and his apostles, through the history of the denomination and, in the six charming medieval-style windows in the chapel, through the history of the first church established in Greenwich in 1665, a church that forged a community from a handful of far-flung farms.

“The windows are such an important part of the history and the identification of the church, here in Old Greenwich,” says Dr. David Young, the senior minister. This year all the windows in the sanctuary are being restored, after a subscription campaign called “Let the Light Shine” raised the necessary $300,000. “We have wonderful windows,” he continues, “that reflect a kind of spiritual radiance as they change with the light and the weather. They’re also a welcoming and inspiring greeting to anyone who enters the sanctuary. And we wanted to restore them so the light would shine for many years to come.”

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