Songs in Light
by Charles Clare Blauvelt, 1956
THE STAINED GLASS WINDOWS & CHANCEL
Throop Memorial Universalist Church
To the church family of Throop Memorial in sincere gratitude for their innumerable expressions of kindness, friendship, and good will during the years it was my privilege to be their minister.
Throop Memorial's present church building, of which Frederick Kennedy, Jr., is the architect, was dedicated on November 18, 1923 - a worthy expression of the sacrificial loyalty of those whose gifts and labors helped make it possible, and a fitting monument to Dr. Carl F. Henry, the minister during its erection, whose unfaltering faith and devoted leadership contributed immeasurably to the successful outcome.
This church edifice honors the memory of Amos G. Throop, a Universalist layman whose zealous devotion to the cause of liberal religion led in 1886 to the formation of a Universalist group in Pasadena. With a gift of more than $100,000 he also founded Throop College of Technology, now world-famous as the California Institute of Technology. Throop Memorial has the good fortune and distinction of being among the half dozen churches on the entire Pacific coast to have stained glass windows created by Charles J. Connick, a master craftsman in this medium.
It is singularly fitting that the windows in this church of the free mind and spirit should have come from the Studio of Brother Sun as this "magician with light" called his workshop in Boston. Throughout Mr. Connick's career he fought to liberate his craft from the cheap commercialism, the shallow ostentation, the inane sentimentality, and the downright ugliness too often seen in the familiar picture windows, reminiscent of the late Nineties, made of heavy opalescent glass which attempt to rival painting by portraying with photographic realism events from the Bible, pastoral scenes from nature, or have as their subject huge figures of winged angels in flowing robes, and upon occasion even the likeness of those to whom the windows are dedicated -- the whole effect one of murky, depressing gloom.
With the free spirit of the pioneer and the daring of the experimenter, Mr. Connick waged unrelenting warfare against this expression of bad taste until, at the time of his death in 1945, he was one of the most eminent stained glass artists in the world, "a singer in light" whose windows reveal the ecstatic brilliance, the luminous color, the eloquent significance of symbolism, and the superb craftsmanship found in the windows of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, the Golden Age of stained glass.
Like all superb windows, those in Throop Memorial express the moods of the passing hours and the changing seasons. In full sunlight they have the radiant splendor of jewels, with the reds and the yellows, the greens and the purples, most brilliant; on dark days of clouded skies or rain, and in rise gathering twilight, there are rich depths of quiet, subdued beauty in them, with their blue tones shining forth like a benediction of serenity and peace.
THE STAINED GLASS WINDOWS
The description of the windows begins with those on the south side, to the left when facing the chancel, continues down that aisle toward the chancel, then along the north aisle to the rear of the church, and ends with the Great West Window.
The South Aisle Windows
The North Aisle Windows
Glossary of Terms
The original booklet (in fine print and short supply) was computer scanned (with manual corrections) in 1999 by Rev. Dr. Daniel O'Connell (UU Parish Minister) of West Redding, Connecticut. It was then edited by David Lawyer (member of Throop Church): Ordered windows in all caps (such as "THIRD"). In the CHANCEL section removed most references to the cross and other furnishings no longer present. Added short Glossary.