One of the striking architectural features of Marble Collegiate Church is its stained glass windows, some of the most beautiful in New York City. When the church doors first opened in 1854, the congregation entered a sanctuary illuminated by light from ten windows of clear, unadorned glass. A redecoration in 1891 transformed the windows to diamond panes of blue-green and amber.
Dr. David J. Burrell, senior minister of Marble Church during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, envisioned ten narrative stained glass windows that would inspire and instruct all who gazed upon them. On December 9, 1900, the first of those windows, designed by the acclaimed Tiffany Studios, was dedicated as a memorial to the donor’s son (south wall, Joshua Leading the Israelites). The following year, a second window created by Tiffany Studios was installed (south wall, Moses and the Burning Bush). Ninety-seven years passed before another stained glass window was unveiled at Marble Church.
Interest in Dr. Burrell’s vision was renewed in 1997, and a committee was formed by senior minister Dr. Arthur Caliandro and Dr. Edwin G. Mulder to oversee thematic content, design, and manufacture of eight new narrative windows.
In keeping with motifs established in earlier windows, scenes above the balconies would depict the light and power of God coming from beyond to enter the human experience. Window panels below the balconies would incorporate a series of key biblical passages that address such spiritual themes as new beginnings, giving and receiving, the rich diversity of God’s family, revelation, and the search for God’s will. On December 6, 1998, the first of these new windows was dedicated (south wall, Crucifixion and Pentecost), which set in motion the continuation of a dream begun more than a century ago.
Each of Marble Church’s stained glass windows is a tribute to the positive, radiant Spirit that has guided this faith community since 1854.
For it is the God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” who has shone in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. –II Corinthians 4:6