The First Presbyterian Church in Topeka Kansas

 

The First Presbyterian Church       

817 SW Harrison        Topeka, Kansas 66612

http://www.fpctopeka.org        email  info@fpctopeka.org

Hello, good friends and followers. I haven’t posted anything on this blog for quite a while. Since I have not visited any churches in the Kansas City area recently, I thought you might enjoy seeing some of the stained glass windows I have seen on some recent trips. I won’t be documenting entire churches as I try to do in Kansas City, but I do want to share some of the windows I have looked at and loved. I hope you enjoy these journeys to “Inspired Glass” with me. 

Tiffany Medallion (1911)

Topeka is the state capitol of Kansas, about one hour (65 miles) west of Kansas City, Missouri. About five hundred miles further west, across mile after mile of open prairie, one reaches Denver, Colorado and the beautiful Rocky Mountains. It is a full day’s drive from our home in Kansas City to Denver. So Topeka has always been a small city we passed quickly on our way “out-west.” (After 8-10 hours driving across the wonderous “ocean” of Kansas and Eastern Colorado prairie, the mountains are always a welcome sight.) But as so often happens, if one slows down and stops to “see the windows”, wonderous beauty awaits you in small towns and cities all across this beautiful country.

The Kansas State Capitol Building in Topeka is a gem and worth a visit. And just across the street from the Capitol building is the First Presbyterian Church of Topeka, Kansas. This church and its wonderous collection of Tiffany windows is certainly worth a detour from I-70, or even a special trip from Kansas City.

Angel from Christ Blessing the Children (1911)

  I want to share some of my photos from a recent visit to this church with you, but I won’t be able to provide the comprehensive documentation I provide on the posts and pages I often share with you in this blog. Usually, I try to provide you with documentation of as many windows in the featured church as I can see and photograph. I also try to provide information about the history of the church, the designers and fabricators of the windows, and some background about the content of the windows. But for this church in Topeka (and others from “far away” that I want to share with you), I hope you will be willing to see just a few of the windows and some details from them.

Detail from Jesus and Nicodemus (1911)

So this post offers a selection of some of the wonderful Tiffany windows in The First Presbyterian Church of Topeka, including selected details from a few. The church web site has excellent images of each of its beautiful Tiffany windows, some of which I have included here, and a good history of the church. (Images from the church website are indicated with “FPCT” in the caption. All other  photographs are mine.)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(The text in this section is from the First Presbyterian Church web site.)

Christ Blessing the Children (1911) (FPCT)

The Tiffany Windows of First Presbyterian Church of Topeka, installed in 1911 for a cost of $14,000 represent not only a resplendent addition to the treasury of religious art but serve as continual inspiration to pilgrims on a spiritual journey. Their value cannot be assessed in terms of monetary appraisals or even captured by the word “irreplaceable,” which they are.

The windows display an iridescent quality, their hues and accents changing with the light outside or inside the sanctuary, even with the differing moods of the viewer. There is, therefore, no “ideal” time to view the windows, and, as long as even a glimmer of light flickers in the skies, the windows continue to work their charms. Each viewing, each journey, will reveal something new, something not seen before, some new meaning or nuance to the family biblical stories they depict. 

Favrile Glass

Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848-1933) coined the word “favrile” and later had it established as a trademark of the Tiffany Studios, to apply to the special glass he created. The word derives from the old English “fabrile” meaning handmade or belonging to a craftsman. As early as 1875, Tiffany began work which would minimize the use of paint or enamels applied to the surface of glass, the traditional method of creating “stained glass.”

In order to create glass where color is inherent within the glass rather than applied, Tiffany determined that it was essential to have his own glassworks to control chemical experiments and glass production. In pursuit of these ends, he established a new glassworks factory at Corona, Long Island, New York in 1892. Being able to oversee his own furnaces allowed him to experiment with and carry out his own ideas. In these furnaces, a pot-metal glass was forced into folds and wrinkles while in a molten condition. These folds were adaptable to many forms of drapery. The development of iridescent colors and all the varied hues and shades in Favrile glass called for a great chemical knowledge on the part of Tiffany.

Here are a few of the windows from the First Presbyterian Church. 

A woman of Valor

Christ and the Valiant Woman has for its subject the figures of Christ and the woman of faith memorialized in Proverbs 31:28. The woman represents the highest type of Christian love and charity.

 

 

The Calling of Matthew finds Jesus bidding Matthew the tax collector, to “Follow me.” Matthew is portrayed as rising from his seat in response to Jesus’ call to be a follower, a disciple.

In The Baptism of Jesus window, the shadowing on the robe of Jesus, and on the hand, arm, sleeve and face of John the Baptizer speak to Tiffany’s remarkable ability to place light just where he wanted it in his picture windows.

 

 

Jesus and Nicodemus is one of the most remarkable windows in the Sanctuary. Nicodemus, a respected Pharisee and leader of the Jews, “came to Jesus by night” so as not to be discovered by his friends and colleagues, who, no doubt, would disapprove of the visit.

Jesus and Nicodemus Window (1911)

In Christ Blessing the Children “Let the children come to me, and do not stop them” – Jesus rebukes the disciples as sternly as the disciples had rebuked the children in trying to keep them from bothering Jesus. Tiffany portrays a more glorified Christ the King, sitting on a throne surrounded by angels, rather than Jesus the Galilean carpenter

 

Angel from Christ Blessing the Children (1911)

 

The magnificent Ascension window is one of the largest examples of a Tiffany church window in existence, measuring approximately 13 feet, three inches, by 18 feet. It shows Christ, surrounded by a golden aura, ascending into the midnight blue heavens with two angels beside him. When the morning sun shines on this window, the sky above Jerusalem takes on a luminous hue, casting both light and shadows on the earth-bound disciples.

The Ascension Window (1911)

 

So here is a glimpse of the wonderful Favrile windows in the First Presbyterian Church in Topeka, Kansas. It is well worth the short trip from Kansas City. I hope to share more images from churches and synagogues in St. Louis, Chicago, and Hartford, CT. with you soon. Stay tuned, as they say, and thanks for following my blog about “Inspired Glass”.

This entry was posted in 20th Century, Angels, Kansas City, Missouri Area, New Testament, Tiffany, Uncategorized, United States and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to The First Presbyterian Church in Topeka Kansas

  1. sharon pendleton says:

    Truly glorious works of art. Glass provides an astounding variety of shading and color in the hands of such a master as Tiffany. Thanks for sharing, Bruce.

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  2. bappel2014 says:

    Thanks, Sharon. Stay tuned. Lots more lovely windows coming your way. Let’s make plans to get together soon. Give me a call.

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  3. Richard Gorell says:

    Thanks these are gorgeous

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  4. Alison Appel says:

    These are beautiful! I love the way the shadows are done

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  5. blosslyn says:

    Wonderful glass Bruce, looking forward to more 🙂 Lynne

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  6. These windows are incredible. I always enjoy your posts, Bruce. Thanks for sharing these pieces of art and snippits of history.

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    • bappel2014 says:

      Thanks so much, Jill. I appreciate your support and your enjoyment of these posts. I am starting to creat more blog posts and you should be able to hear/see mor of these wonderful windows. By the way I always enjoy your thoughtful writing. The piece about finding an appropriate college was great. So much is more important to these young people than the college’s basketball team. I think one of the important benefits of college is being exposed to people and ideas that may be different from what one is familiar with. But equally important is finding a place where the institution and people support your values and your developing sense of identity. For many students, the book you reviewed would be very helpful. I am looking forward to your continued writing. Be on the lookout for some new posts from me.

      Like

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