google-site-verification: google8185a54c17c0ee16.html
 

Our History

Contents
1818: Our Foundation and the Church Building

Our congregation first met on September 8, 1818, when a group of five men and eleven women gathered in a barn... Read More...

 
1918: Our Centennial Celebration

The most significant change to our church building in the years leading up to our Centennial Celebration was the installation of a new pipe organ in 1917. Read More...

 

1965: Stained Glass Windows

In 1965, new windows were installed in the sanctuary, as well as the rest of the church. Ten beautiful Art Glass windows flank the nave, depicting Biblical scenes.

The original church windows were simple, as shown here, installed when the building was constructed in 1868. Each of the nave windows is 24 inches wide and 18 feet high, with a triangular inset joining the top of each gothic arch. Six of the windows have an opening device for ventilation during warm summer Sundays.

Over the years, they had undergone several repairs, including the installation of a new layer of protective glass in the 1950s.

Plain Windows circa 1918

 

Mr. Lyman Gibbs of Elmira had performed all of these repairs; so when it was discovered that new windows were required, church leaders naturally turned to him first. They commissioned Mr. Gibbs to develop new art windows that would fit into the existing architectural spaces.

 

He was assisted by Swedish-born artist Ernfred Anderson, who created the inspirational scenes that are central to these designs, as well as the overall layout of each window. Well known as a sculptor and art teacher, Mr. Anderson received his education at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland before moving to America in 1920. Famed for his bronze bust of Mark Twain and reliefs at the Woodlawn Cemetery grave site, Mr. Anderson was also the second director for the Arnot Art Museum in Elmira.

The congregation was so enthused with this project that the windows were entirely paid for by families and individuals, as memorials or gifts, even before completion. These new windows were installed throughout the sanctuary and narthex in 1965, and the dedication ceremony took place on June 5, 1966.

Ten beautiful pairs of Art Glass windows flank the nave, with three more above the balcony, as shown below. Click on a window to see its details: The caption for each photo includes a description of its various art glass motifs; from the Symbol in the triangle at the top of each arch, to the Medallions in the red circles, to the vibrant central scenes, to the Scripture quotations included in the scrolls at the bottom. Dogwood blossoms are also included within diamond shapes on each nave window, above and below each central image, as an enduring message of our hope in the crucifixion and resurrection power of Christ. (Legend has it that the cross itself was made of dogwood.)

The Prophetic Hope Window
The Prophetic Hope Window

The Star of David, the emblem of Judaism, holds these two ancient prophets together. They are Jeremiah and Isaiah, the best known of the Old Testament characters and the strongest prophets. Who will ever forge their words of beauty as they for tell the coming of the Messiah who will be the Saviour. The medallions at the top give us a greater lesson in the strength of these two, the one who was stoned and the other who was sawn asunder for his faith. Thus they are symbolized by a stone and a saw.

press to zoom
The Annunication Window
The Annunication Window

The Fleur de-Lis is used as a symbol of Mary, the mother of Jesus. A Dove, which represents the Holy Spirit descending, forms one medallion on these windows, while the other is an angel messenger. Here, Mary receives word that God has selected her to be the mother of our Lord and the angel Gabriel brings her this message: "For Thou Hast Found Favor With God" and "Blessed Art Thou Among Women." Mary is almost overcome as she begins to realize that she has been chosen to bear the Son of God.

press to zoom
The Nativity Window
The Nativity Window

The Chi Rho symbol is the oldest monogram referring to Christ. These are the first two letters in the ancient Greek word XPICTOC, pronounced Kristos: X (Chi) and P (Rho). The pictures in the medallion are lilies for Mary, and a square which is used for Joseph, her husband. The main image is an artist's interpretation of Joseph and Mary, who became the parents of the Saviour of the world. Scripture is taken from Matthew: "And His Name shall be called Jesus" and "Joseph also went up from Galilee."

press to zoom
The Good Shepherd Window
The Good Shepherd Window

This scene recalls Psalm 23 and the many times the New Testament calls Jesus a Good Shepard. The symbol suggests both eternity and the trinity; a circle with neither start nor end, and a triangle with three angles in one figure. Scripture says "I have seen thy tears, I have heard thy prayers" and "Jesus of Nazareth! King of the Jews." Medallions are the Cross and Crown, for the faithful who suffer in this life for a reward in the next, and Praying Hands, where our strength and power are derived.

press to zoom
The Gospel Window
The Gospel Window

IHS are the Greek letters for Jesus. A Bible is open for our aid. A Celtic cross with burning bush, dove, cross-orb, and Bible-arrow, symbolize our church. A winged man shows Matthew tracing Jesus' human genealogy. A winged lion is Mark "crying in the wilderness" like a lion's roar. A winged ox is Luke stressing Christ's atoning sacrifice. The eagle is John with his lofty narrative. Scripture is "Ye shall be my witness to the end of the earth" and "be ye doers of the word and not hearers only."

press to zoom
The Parables Window
The Parables Window

The Chi Rho symbol is joined in rings of matrimony. The first medallion is a lamp, the Word of God, "a lamp unto my feet." The other shows a sheaf of wheat and a cluster of grapes, the Bread of Life and Communion Wine. The main picture is of Jesus with the "Rich Young Ruler" pondering the most important goal of life, and a poor woman casting her "Widow's Mite" in the temple treasury. The scripture tells us "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet", and words of Communion, "This do in remembrance of me."

press to zoom
The Sermon on the Mount Window
The Sermon on the Mount Window

The symbol is Alpha-Mu-Omega, the first letters in the Greek words for Yesterday, Today and Forever. One medallion is "a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul", that is Christian hope. The other is a harp symbolizing the joy of music, singing and praise. As Christians, we are called to "make a joyful noise unto the Lord." The main picture depicts Christ teaching the disciples. Scripture shows "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul" and "Singing with grace and with your hearts to the Lord."

press to zoom
"Behold the Man"
"Behold the Man"

The symbol is a lantern; Judas entered Gethsemane with men and officers carrying lanterns and torches on the night of the Jesus' betrayal and arrest. One medallion shows a secret sign used by early persecuted Christians: the Greek word for fish, IXOYC, an acronym for "Jesus Christ, God's son, Saviour." The other shows a money bag, the emblem of the treachery of Judas. The tremendous scene shows Christ on trial before Pilate. Scriptures state "Behold the Man" and "What shall I do unto Jesus."

press to zoom
The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ
The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ

The symbolic nails, driven through the palms and feet of Jesus at his crucifixion, remind us of our Lord's great physical suffering. One medallion shows the Lamb of God. When reclining, it tells of the suffering Christ; but standing with a banner, it symbolizes Christ's victory over death. The crown of thorns medallion reminds us of the mockery of the Roman soldiers. Scripture says "And it was the third hour and they crucified him" and "Father for give them, for they know not what they do."

press to zoom
The Resurrection Window
The Resurrection Window

The Latin letters INRI stand for Iesus Nazarenus Rex Iudeaorum; Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews. The medallions symbolize the Resurrection and immortal life: The bursting pomegranate shows resurrection power shattering the tomb; the mytical phoenix bursts into flame, but rises from its ashes. We see the risen Christ, triumphant over death and the grave. This is our faith. Scripture resounds "I ascend unto my Father and your Father" and "They have taken away my Lord and I know not where."

press to zoom
The Harp Entrance Art
The Harp Entrance Art

A harp with Cecilia, patron saint of music, honoring Mrs. David Love, our church Choir Director for over 30 years

press to zoom
The Ascension Window (1 of 3)
The Ascension Window (1 of 3)

Here the artist has taken the three large windows and made three life-sized figures to represent, in the center, the Christ, triumphant and risen in all his glory. While the church choir spend the worship hours gazing on this, it must remind them of the glory and greatness of the Lord. He is surrounded by two angelic figures, one in each window, who are there as if to assist us in the climb to reach our ascended Lord.

press to zoom
The Ascension Window (2 of 3)
The Ascension Window (2 of 3)

Here the artist has taken the three large windows and made three life-sized figures to represent, in the center, the Christ, triumphant and risen in all his glory. While the church choir spend the worship hours gazing on this, it must remind them of the glory and greatness of the Lord. He is surrounded by two angelic figures, one in each window, who are there as if to assist us in the climb to reach our ascended Lord.

press to zoom
The Ascension Window (3 of 3)
The Ascension Window (3 of 3)

Here the artist has taken the three large windows and made three life-sized figures to represent, in the center, the Christ, triumphant and risen in all his glory. While the church choir spend the worship hours gazing on this, it must remind them of the glory and greatness of the Lord. He is surrounded by two angelic figures, one in each window, who are there as if to assist us in the climb to reach our ascended Lord.

press to zoom
Organ Pipes Entrance Art
Organ Pipes Entrance Art

A flight of organ pipes, honoring Abigail O'Daniels, our Church Organist for over 50 years

press to zoom

Three large Ascension Windows were also installed above the balcony. These windows contain life-sized figures to represent, in the center, Christ Triumphant and Risen in all his Glory, surrounded by angelic figures who are there as if to assist us in the climb to reach our ascended Lord. While the church choir spend the worship hours gazing on this, it must remind them of the glory and greatness of the Lord. Sitting high above our Decatur Street entrance, these windows are illuminated at night as a reminder of the Christian belief declared to the world. With this light on every evening, the other sanctuary windows are also somewhat illuminated in the darkening hours.

Smaller windows were also inserted on either side of our main entrance to honor veterans of our music ministries: one showing a set of organ pipes and the other representing Cecilia, patron saint of music.

^ back to top

 

1968: Remodeling for Our Sesquicentennial

During the 29-year pastorate of Rev. William J. Cartmell, our building expanded to better serve our community. Read More...

 
1990s: The Broadcast Era

Starting in the mid-1990s and continuing for about a decade, our Sunday worship services were broadcast on network television. Read More...

 
2004: Millennial Modernization

The new millennium brought many changes to the church building under our new pastor, Rev. Bev's guidance. Read More...

 
2018: Our Bicentennial Celebration

In 2018, our newly installed pastor, the Reverend Cara S. Milne, created a small group of dedicated workers to organize a gathering... Read More...

 
2020: COVID Shutdown

With only two years in Watkins Glen, Pastor Cara found herself at the helm of another turning point in our congregation's history; or rather, in all of history! A new strain of coronavirus ravaged the world's population as nothing had in the previous century. Read More...

 
Ongoing: Charitable Programs

As we continue to maintain, repair and refurbish our beautiful Romanesque building, of course, we are ever mindful of the fact that the true Church is the body of believers, and not just a piece of architecture. Read More...

Additional Resources

Much of this information was taken from "A Brief History: United Presbyterian Church of Watkins Glen, N.Y." by Abigail O'Daniels, dtd. October 20, 1968. (Get PDF Reader)

 

For additional information about the history of the Presbyterian Church in the United States, please refer to extensive resources available at "Presbyterian Historical Society: The National Archives of the PC(USA)."

Follow Us

 

  • Facebook
  • Vimeo
  • YouTube
  • Google Listing
  • Blogger
Help Us Help Others

 

Were you blessed by one of our videos? Please consider making a donation via PayPal now:

 
Pastors Through the Years
Sixth & Decatur (1868-Present)

2017 Rev. Cara S. Milne

2016 Rev. Cynthia A. Weaver *

2015 Rev. Nancy Meehan Yao *

1997 Rev. Beverly Karr-Lyon †

1996 Rev. Thomas C. Montgomery *

1987 Rev. W. David Ashby
1985 Rev. William R. Knox *
1969 Rev. Clark N. McKinney
1939 Rev. William J. Cartmell
1934 Rev. Clayton T. Griswold
1916 Rev. Arthur B. Herr, D.D.
1910 Rev. James Elmer Russell
1905 Rev. Selden L. Haynes
1893 Rev. Louis F. Ruf
1888 Rev. Bryce K. Douglas
1882 Rev. George D. Meigs
1877 Rev. Milton Waldo D.D.
1876 Rev. William Lowrie
1870 Rev. J.S. McNair

* interim pastor

pastor emeritus

 

Fifth & Decatur (1847-1868)

1860 Rev. Franklin S. Howe
1855 Rev. Benjamin Russell
1847 Rev. S.B. Shearer

 

The Savoy Site (1833-1847)

1843 Rev. Samuel Stryker
1838 Rev. Samuel Scott
1836 Rev. Royal West
1835 Rev. Egbert Roosa

 

The Diven Barn (1818-1833)

1832 Rev. Charles Goodrich
1831 Rev. David Harrower
1829 Rev. Richard Williams
1826 Rev. Jabez Chadwick
1826 Rev. Samuel White
1825 Rev. Henry Ford
1822 Rev. Joseph Crawford
1821 Rev. Lyman Barrett
1818 Rev. Samuel Parker
1818 Rev. David Higgins