Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

Finding Grace in Elmira – Part III

October 18th, 2012, Promulgated by Bernie

This is the last of a three-part photo essay that explores Grace Episcopal Church in Elmira.

Part I

Part II

(The factual information in this post is quoted  from “The New Book of Grace Church” which was produced by the parish when it celebrated its centennial in 1988.)

Here are just three of the figurative stained glass windows in Grace Church.

The window above is in the baptistry. The top two panels represent child-like trust or faith and depict little children gathered around Jesus. Repentance is represented in the bottom left panel and depicts the return of the prodigal son. Jesus baptized by John the Baptist is shown in the bottom right and represents the sacrament of Baptism.

Above is the baptistry with one of the figurative stained glass windows depicting Pentecost, the Confirmation, and Ordination (of a deacon).

This window (above) is near the entrance to St. Michael’s Chapel and represents in the top register Israel (Jacob) and the twelve patriarchs of the Hebrew tribes. The bottom register depicts Noah and Japhet at the sacrifice after the flood (left) and the sacrifice of Abraham (right). The window was created by F. X. Zettler of Munich.

Below is the only other window I photographed of the several figurative ones at Grace Church. It is located on the side wall of the Lady Chapel and depicts the presentation of the child Jesus in the Temple (top register) and Jesus found in the Temple by his parents (bottom register).

All of the stained glass figurative windows are on in the ground floor walls and are the same size regardless of location.

Sacred music at Grace Church has always been an important part of the liturgical life of the parish as well as concerts at the church. The quality of the music at grace Church was recognized as early as 1888 when it was described as “very fine” in the local newspaper.

A new organ was dedicated in 1908 in the new (current) building. A men and boys’ choir was established and sang until the 1950s when a girls’ choir was established and eventually integrated into the male choir. In 1971, a family choir of men, women and children sang at the 9 a.m. service. An adult choir and children’s choir have been singing at the second service from 1976 until today.

The present organ (a Tellers organ), containing 67 ranks and 3,900 pipes, was dedicated in 1962 but damaged in the 1972 flood. A major renovation was begun 1988 under the craftsmanship of the Reverend Richard Strauss and completed and dedicated in 1992. Dr. Kent Hill, has been the organist and choirmaster since 1969.

Father Rudd designed the carved oak front doors. Three shields are carved on the left door: from the left, the arms of the Diocese of Central New York, the parish arms, and the coat of arms of Bishop Olmstead. The right door shows the coats of arms of the United States, New York State, and Theodore Roosevelt who was president at the time the church was built.

There are many other items worthy of our attention in Grace Church so perhaps you could visit sometime soon. If some pictures on the parish’s website are any indication, Christmas might be a good time to visit! I hope you have enjoyed this three part ‘virtual’ tour.

“Thank you” to Father Donald Matthews and the staff for allowing me access to this beautiful church.

Here is the parish website.


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One Response to “Finding Grace in Elmira – Part III”

  1. flowerchild says:

    We attended a wedding at Grace Episcopal a few years ago.
    It was a lovely evening ceremony in November with the bride’s brother officiating, but it was too dark to see the majesty and beauty of the stained glass windows. Thank you for another look.

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