Glass Act

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



(page 2 of 3)

A Greenwich Storybook

Looking at the chapel windows is like leafing through a Greenwich family album. Images of the first settlers from 1640 are here, including Elizabeth Feake, who bought Greenwich Point from the Sinawoy Indians and was the only woman in town to own land. The first pastors are represented, as is John Davenport, the spiritual leader of the New Haven Colony, under whose jurisdiction Greenwich was established. “A very strict Puritan,” comments Dan England, assistant minister and director of adult education. “It’s ironic that he should be in the window, since he’s what the Congregationalists were fighting against.” Davenport tried to enforce the strict Congregationalism of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, from which the Connecticut sect had fled.
The first meetinghouse, built in 1694, was a white clapboard building of severe New England character with clear glass windows (stained glass was considered gaudy). “It was called a meetinghouse,” says George Handley, the congregation’s business administrator, “because it was the center of the village, where people would come to meet.”

“You couldn’t have a Greenwich,” adds England, “until you had a church.”  To “procure and maintaine an orthodox minister” had been a condition of the town’s incorporation, and Greenwich residence was predicated on a certificate, signed by a minister, attesting to one’s moral character.

The windows also depict William Grimes, a reclusive bachelor who bequeathed the church thirty-two acres that provides income to this day; and the 1837 Greek Revival meetinghouse, which stood on the site of the present cemetery. The old burying ground on Tomac Road is quaintly painted with gravestones naming the movers and shakers of the seventeenth century: Perrot, Peck, Reynolds, Mead, and Ferris, for Jeffrey Ferris, who named the new community after his hometown of Greenwich, England. And, under full sail, is the Morning Star, which ferried Victorian missionaries to remote islands in the South Pacific, and the tireless churchwomen who packed the missionary barrels. Linking past with present and future, the final window shows the young people of the church carrying the cross to Greenwich Point for the Easter Sunrise service.

“I think one of the great virtues of being a part of the Christian tradition,” says England, “is that we are surrounded by history, by what Paul called clouds of witnesses. All of these people [he gestures to the windows] have been a part of who we are now. It’s the continuity with the past that gives you a real sense of participation, and an obligation to continue for the future.” 

 

Greenwich Agenda

  • Nigh Season: New Paintings By David Konigsberg

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM  Public Invited   NIGH...

  • Undulate: Paintings By Julie Gross and Margaret Neill

    2014.09.13
     @ Kenise Barnes Fine Art

    GALLERY II Dates: September 13 – October 31, 2014 Opening Reception: September 13, 6 – 8:30 PM Public Invited...

  • Parties at the JCC Center

    2014.09.02
     @ Stamford JCC

    A place to celebrate birthdays and special occasions. Be a guest at your own party! The JCC offers a wonderful space for you and your guests to...

  • Greenwich Harbor Sunset Wine Cruise | Greenwich, CT

    2014.06.05
     @ Delamar Hotel Dock

    The boat "Prudence" departs from the Delamar Hotel Dock on 500 Steamboat Rd. All the wine is sponsored through VALS with food...

  • Laurel House Family Seminar Series

    2014.09.18
     @ Laurel House

    Thursday evenings, September 18, October 2, 16, 30, 6:30-8:00 pm Join us Thursday evenings for this four part Family Seminar Series as...

  • Isaia Fall Trunk Show

    2014.09.19
     @ Richards

  • The Many Faces of Multi Media

    2014.09.20
     @ Meli-Melo of Greenwich

    Dr. Julia Trebing, Director Creative Therapies in Stamford, CT exhibits her paintings at Meli-Melo Creperie & Juice Bar  during Sept...

  • SoulCycle GWCH for Make-A-Wish CT

    2014.09.20
     @ SoulCycle

    Make-A-Wish Connecticut is thrilled to be partnering with SoulCycle's Greenwich location for a charity ride on Saturday, September 20th!...

  • Wall Street Tennis Challenge

    2014.09.20
     @ Greenwich Country Club

    The goal of The Wall Street Tennis Challenge is to support the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation’s efforts while spreading awareness...

  • Nam Cho Trunk Show

    2014.09.20
     @ Richards

  • Arts & Crafts on Bedford

    2014.09.20
     @ Bedford Street

    Shop at over 100 craft and artisan boutiques on Bedford Street, which will be closed to traffic for the weekend. Dine in our extended sidewalk...

  • Puttin’ On The Dog Festival

    2014.09.21
     @ Roger Sherman Baldwin Park

    Puttin’ On The Dog Festival Greenwich, Connecticut the place to be on September 21st for dogs and their owners...

  • Candy Fairies Book Reading

    2014.09.21
     @ Imagine Candy

    SCARSDALE, NY, Imagine Candy brings the acclaimed children's author Helen Perelman, the writer of the wickedly sweet Candy Fairies book...

  • Chizi's Tale Book Launch Party

    2014.09.21
     @ Tudor Investment Campus

    You and your family are invited to join Diane's Books of Greenwich and TUSK USA to celebrate the launch of Chizi's Tale: The True Story...

  • Chizi's Tale Book Launch Party

    2014.09.21
     @ Tudor Investment Campus

    You and your family are invited to join Diane's Books of Greenwich and TUSK USA to celebrate the launch of Chizi's Tale: The True Story...

  • SM&NC Farm Market

    2014.06.15
     @ Stamford Museum & Nature Center

    Sundays, June 15 – October 5, 10am – 2pm We're thrilled to bring back the SM&NC Farm Market — now on Sundays!...

  • "Israel and the U.S."

    2014.09.22
     @ New Canaan Library

    The public is invited to attend a World Affairs Forum Great Decisions event featuring Seth Anziska, Columbia University. Mr. Anziska will speak...

  • Annual State of the Town Address and Luncheon | Greenwich, CT

    2014.09.25
     @ Milbrook Club

    Greenwich Chamber of Commerce Annual State of the Town Address and Luncheon will be held at Milbrook Club. Registration 11:30am; start at...

  • Aaron Henry Trunk Show & Personal Appearance

    2014.09.26
     @ Richards


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