Long ago, someone once said these windows “are sermons in themselves.” The exquisite beauty and craftsmanship of Louis Comfort Tiffany’s windows can be seen in every major window of the sanctuary. The collection at Park Church is a tribute not only to the skill of the artist, but also to the perseverance of earlier church members who commissioned them at the turn of the twentieth century.
According to the book The Windows of Park, written by James VanVulpen, published in 2002, these windows “represent an esthetic vision which has survived the shifting tides of fashion. Its elegance, at one time in critical and popular eclipse, now has become more valued than ever. With more than half the cathedral windows that the studio produced believed lost, to preserve for future generations a complete ensemble, conceived around a single theme, is truly a blessing.”
This single theme depicts scenes from the life of Jesus in a series of twelve windows, a project quite rare for a church of any size, but especially for a church in a town only 65 years from its founding. The women who undertook this project, determined and convincing, raised the funds window by window, so that by 1912, the entire grouping was completed. Additional windows were added over the years, including the 1927 Angels of Praise. This was the final window made during Tiffany’s lifetime for Park Church’s collection.
A fire in 1988 produced serious smoke and heat damage to the windows. However, all the windows were able to be restored. Although the cleaning and refitting took months, these refurbished windows give us a look at how they must have glowed when the church members first purchased them.
Guided tours are available by appointment. Contact the church office to make arrangements.
Of course, worshipping with the Park Church congregation on a Sunday morning provides the context that these visionary women and men had wanted 100 years ago and for which we are all grateful today: sermons and scripture, prayers and music, in a sanctuary in which we are surrounded by the light coming through these magical windows. You are welcome to join us.