Trinity United Methodist Church
620 East Armour Blvd
Kansas City, Missouri 64109
“A joyful people daring to live God’s inclusive vision of justice, love, and reconciliation in Midtown Kansas City.”
“Trinity United Methodist Church is called to be a community of persons who are deepening their love of God and expanding their love of neighbor for the transformation of the world.”
[Remember, you can enlarge any image in this blog simply by clicking on it.]
According to the Trinity United Methodist Church website, “the history of Trinity has been one of courage, inclusiveness, and faith.” In 1916, the Howard Memorial Church merged with the Hyde Park Church. That union gave birth in 1919 to Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church (as it was called then). The current church building was built in 1918-19 and dedicated on September 21, 1919.After the union of the Methodist Episcopal Church with the Evangelical United Brethren Church in 1968, the formal name of the church became Trinity United Methodist Church. However, the name which is carved above the South Entrance on Armour Boulevard still reads as “Trinity Methodist Episcopal Church.”
The Austin Opus 844 Pipe Organ in the sanctuary was a gift to Trinity in 1919 by John Wesley Jenkins, owner and founder of the well-known Jenkins Music Company of Kansas City. The organ boasts 4 sections, 3 manuals, and 36 ranks.The 18-note Deagan Tower Chime System was donated by Jacob and Ella Loose in 1922.The Deagan Chimes were completely restored in 1974 and critical operational parts were restored again in 2012. The renovated sanctuary was completed in 1964.
The Windows in the Sanctuary
I believe that the current sanctuary windows were fabricated and installed in 1964 when the sanctuary was renovated. However, I have been unable to locate records that would confirm that. The only record that I have located naming a fabricator of these windows is the name inscribed on the great window in the South wall at the rear of the sanctuary. It reads Kansas City Art Glass. A name indicating the possible identity of the craftsman who fabricated this window (and others?) reads as Alec Dougherty. However, the inscription does not indicate a date. More research is needed for information about fabrication and dates of installation.
The windows in the church are arranged in three levels. On the main floor of the sanctuary, the mostly square windows start just to the right of the altar area, at the front of the church, with a progression around the entire sanctuary. The windows feature important New and Old Testament figures as well as icons that reflect important aspects connected with their identities. Above this level, there is a full balcony which runs around the entire sanctuary. Windows depicting important biblical personalities sweep around the sanctuary at this level as well.
At the rear of the church, on the South wall, above the choir and organ lofts, is a very large pointed window displaying important symbols relating to the church’s spiritual teaching and mission. Many of these symbols are also included in the windows at the lower levels.
This beautiful window is Dedicated to Dwight and Gayle Brown who brought light to Trinity with their presence, love and prayers.”
Finally, there is an even higher level of large windows on both sides of the sanctuary which are not figurative, but include the decorative abstract assemblage of colored glass similar to many of the windows elsewhere in the church. The color scheme and decorative pattern of colored glass elements is a consistent and repeated pattern throughout the sanctuary.
On the East wall are four large, square windows devoted to each of the Evangelists.
Starting at the front of the sanctuary, and to the right as one faces the altar area, is a window devoted to Saint Matthew.
We see Saint Matthew holding a pen and a book, as do each of the Evangelists in these windows. Each of the Evangelists is also identified with an iconic winged creature. This window features images of a Winged Man (Head) and a Purse with Coins. The Winged Man (Head) In this window may reflect Saint Matthew’s writing of Christ’s incarnation, His human and divine nature. The Purse with Coins recalls Matthews’s occupation as a tax collector.
Saint Matthew’s window is dedicated in Memory of Mr. and Mrs. Frederick H. Richardson.
The next window is devoted to Saint Mark.
Saint Mark is also shown holding a pen and a book. This window features the images of Sandals and a Staff along with Saint Mark’s traditional symbol of the Winged Lion. The Winged Lion may serve to remind us of Christ’s resurrection and of courage on the path of salvation. Saint Mark’s house was where Jesus would meet with His apostles and where he celebrated Passover with them. It was in this house that the Apostles gathered when the Holy Spirit descended on the day of Pentecost. Thus Saint mark’s house is frequently thought of as the first Christian church.
The Sandals and Staff may serve to remind us of Saint Mark’s first mission to Egypt, of his walking the streets of Alexandria, Egypt, and of the cobbler who mended his torn sandal. It is said that when Ananias, the cobbler, was mending the sandal, he cut his finger and cried out “O the One God.” Saint Mark healed his finger and spoke to him about who the “One God” was. Ananias and his household were baptized after professing their belief in the Christian faith and Ananias’ house became a meeting place for the faithful and before leaving Egypt in 62CE, Mark ordained Ananias as bishop in Alexandria. Ananias is considered the first of the unbroken line of Patriarchs of the Coptic Orthodox Church.
Saint Mark’s window is dedicated in Memory of Margaret Earleen Reid by her Parents, Mr. and Mrs. Robert Earl Israel.
The next window is devoted to Saint Luke.
Saint Luke is also holding a pen and a book. This window features a Caduceus, referring to Saint Luke’s occupation as a physician, and his traditional symbol of the Winged Ox (Bull). The Winged Ox (Bull) may refer to the characteristics of sacrifice, service and strength.
Saint Luke’s window is dedicated in Memory of William K. Trimble, M.D.
The next window is devoted to Saint John.
Once again, Saint John holds a pen and book. The symbol of a Winged Eagle as well the Chalice with a Serpent are featured in this window. The Winged Eagle may remind us of Jesus’s ascension and his divine nature. The Chalice with a Serpent recalls John’s being miraculously spared from the poisoned drink.
Saint John’s window is dedicated in Memory of Herman T. Mattern.
On the West wall are four more large, square windows devoted to figures from the Hebrew Bible.
The first window is devoted to Abraham.
Symbols in this window include Abraham’s Hand Holding the Knife, and the Angel’s Hand Restraining Him, reminding us of the binding of Isaac (Genesis 22:2-8), which Christians understand as foretelling the sacrifice of Jesus. A Goblet of Wine and a Loaf of Bread, recall Melchizedek, the Priest and King of Salem, who blessed Abraham after Abraham’s army defeated King Chedorlaomer and Abraham rescued his nephew Lot (Genesis 14:18-20). In the Epistles of the Hebrews, Jesus Christ is identified as “a priest forever in the order of Melchizedek.” Commentators have understood Melchizedek as prefiguring Jesus in the role of High Priest of Righteousness. Some have even understood him to be an archetype of Christ. And some have suggested that Melchizedek is in fact Jesus who is blessing Abraham. However one understands him, Melchizedek is venerated as a saint in both the Latin and Orthodox traditions.
The Abraham window is dedicated in Memory of Grace Poteet Greiner.
The next window is devoted to Moses.
Here we see Moses holding the Tablets of the Ten Commandments, received from God at Mt. Sinai, symbolizing the entire law of the Hebrew Bible (Exodus 20:1-17). To his side is an image of the Rock at Horeb Pouring Water ( Exodus 17:6 ). Also featured in this window is an image of the Tau Cross with its Bronze Serpent(Nachushtan). This particular image tells of how the Israelites who saw it were protected from the serpents God sent to punish those who rebelled against Moses and God (Numbers 21:5-9). In the Gospel of John, he compares the rising of the Son of Man to the serpent being raised up by Moses for protecting/healing the people (John 3:14).
In this image of Moses, we see two radiant beams of light rising from his forehead. Older works of art and some scriptural commentary depicted Moses with two horns on his head when he descended from Mount Sinai with the Tablets of the Law. The words in Hebrew for shine and horn are similar. Commentators suggest that the early translations were based on a mistranslation of Exodus 34:29 “And behold the skin on his face shone” (was radiant).
The Moses window is dedicated in Memory of Gertrude L. Scott.
The Hebrew Prophet Hosea is featured in the next window.
Hosea is holding a scroll reflecting his writing. Images in this window recall Israel’s unfaithfulness and her return to idolatry. The woman may represent Gomer, Hosea’s unfaithful wife, or simply the people condemned to exile and captivity. Hosea wrote of God’s undying, redemptive love in spite of the people’s moral corruption and spiritual alienation from God.
The Hosea window is dedicated in Memory of John Edward Reid.
There is also a memorial plaque to John Edward Reid located elsewhere in the sanctuary.
The next window is devoted to the prophet Isaiah.
Symbols in the Isaiah window are the Burning Coal taken from the Altar with Tongs (Isaiah 6:6) and a Large Handsaw. Having just seen the full glory of God and heard the Angels declare “Holy, Holy, Holy, the whole earth is full of His glory” Isaiah is ashamed and despondent over his awareness of his own failings and sinfulness. One of the seraphim takes a burning coal from the altar with tongs and touching Isaiah’ lips declares “Your iniquity is taken away and your sin is forgiven.” The large handsaw represents the means of Isaiah’s martyrdom, which according to some, was being sawn in two.
The Isaiah window is dedicated in Memory of Dr. and Mrs. Joseph W. McKee.
Windows on the upper level represent other important Biblical moments and ideas.
Five windows along the West side of the sanctuary are devoted to several important events from the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament or Pentateuch).
The first window recalls the Temptation, Sin and Expulsion from the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:1; 3:6;and 3:23).
We see the Snake and the Apple (Temptation), another Snake [?] (Sin), and the Flaming Sword of the Expulsion story .
This window is Presented by the Wesleyan Service Guild.
The next window is devoted to Abel, Cain and Eve.
In this window Abel, the keeper of flocks, is represented by a sheep and a shepherd’s crook, Cain, the tiller of the ground, by a plow (Genesis 4:2), and Eve by the distaff with a skein of yarn.
This window is Presented by the Fidelis Class.
The next window continues the Genesis story with images related to Salvation, Hope, and. Progress from the story of Noah.
The Ark and Rainbow (Genesis 6:14 and 9:12) represent Salvation; the Dove with the Olive Branch (Genesis 8:8) represents Hope; and the Spade, which Noah used to plant a Vineyard, (Genesis 9:20) represents Progress.
This window is Presented by the Business and Professional Women’s Class.
More events from the Book of Exodus and Deuteronomy are represented in the next window.
The Law, Rebellion and Promise are represented by images of the Tablets of the Law (Exodus: 20:1-17), the Golden Calf (Exodus 32:4), and Grapes for the bounty of the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 1:8).
This window is dedicated in Memory of Mr. and Mrs. H. D. Laycox, and Presented in their memory by Miss Mayme Laycox.
The final window in this series is devoted to the Biblical rulers Saul, David and Solomon.
Solomon is represented by the Temple, David by a Harp, and Saul by the Crown with a Sword .
This window is Presented by Mr. and Mrs. Otis Rice in Memory of their Parents.
Additional windows on the upper level are devoted to important figures in the New Testament. Images in these windows depict the common iconic emblems used to remember these Apostles, saints and others.
The first window is devoted to Saint Simon, Judas Iscariot, and Saint Jude.
Here Saint Simon is represented by the image of a Book with a Fish because it is said he was a fisher of men through preaching the gospel. Judas Iscariot is represented by Coins (pieces of silver) to recall his betrayal of Christ and a Rope fashioned into a J to recall his suicide by hanging himself. Saint Jude is represented by a Boat recalling his missionary travels.
This window was Presented by Mr. and Mrs. Kenneth Long.
The next window recalls Saint Matthew, Saint Thomas, and Saint James the Less.
Here, Saint Matthew is identified with an image of a Flame and Case [?]. Saint Thomas is represented by an image of a Builder’s Square and a Spear. Saint James the Less with a Saw. The Flame and chest recall [??]. The Square reminds us of Thomas building a church with his own hands, and the spear of the instrument of his martyrdom. The saw recalls Saint James being pushed from the pinnacle of the temple at age 96 and then being beaten and finally sawed into pieces.
This window was presented in Honor of Miss Mary Blaschko, Deaconess by Mr. and Mrs. Luther Tilman.
A memorial panel mounted elsewhere in the Church reads “Mary Blaschko 1888-1982 Consecrated Deaconess 1910. Faithful child of God in service to His people. Beloved Deaconess of Trinity Church 1919-1982.”
Another window is devoted to Saint Paul, Saint Philip and Saint Bartholomew.
In Saint Paul’s section are Two Crossed Swords. Paul spoke of the Word of God as the “Sword of the Spirit.” Saint Philip is represented by a cross and Two Loaves of Bread. Saint Philip was martyred by crucifixion or by being tied to a cross and stoned to death. The two loaves of bread recall his comment at the feeding of the multitude recorded in John 6:7. Saint Bartholomew’s window depicts three knives. According to tradition, Saint Bartholomew was flayed alive, crucified and then beheaded.
This window is dedicated in Memory of Messana Hugo and Presented by Mrs. Edna Walsh.
The next window is devoted to Saint Peter, Saint Andrew, and Saint James.
The Crossed Keys in the window devoted to Saint Peter remind us of Jesus’ telling Peter “I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.” Saint Andrew, thought to be Peter’s brother, is the patron saint of both Russia and Scotland. His image of Two Crossed Fish reminds us that he was a fisherman and crucified on a cross saltire. The image for Saint James is Three Scallop (or Cockle) Shells which remind us of his pilgrimages by sea.
This window was Presented by the Trinity Men’s Club.
The window panels devoted to Timothy, Silas, Barnabas have no figurative elements. It simply continues the theme used throughout the church windows of an abstract design of colored panels.The same is the case of the window panels devoted to John the Baptist, Lazarus, and Phoebe.The window panels devoted to Stephen, Nicodemus and Philemon are also filled with irregular colored elements.As are the panels devoted to three women: Lydia, Mary, and Martha.The window panels devoted to Stephen, Nicodemus, Philemon are similarly devoid of figurative elements.
As mentioned above, the windows in the upper level of the sanctuary are all non-figurative and continue the abstract theme of colored elements found elsewhere throughout the church.
Finally, some windows in administrative and hallway areas of the church seem to be older than those in the sanctuary and present a simple bordered design in more muted colors than seen in the sanctuary windows.
This “mid-century” stylized retelling of important events and people who populate the scriptural and spiritual tradition of Trinity United Methodist Church are presented in glorious color and sensitive design. They continue to inspire all who enter and pray in this welcoming space.
“Trinity United Methodist Church offers a unique and diverse community of faith where each individual is welcomed and celebrated as a beloved member of God’s family. Working together, members of Trinity create an environment where worship, service, community, and faith thrive.”