Events

Calendar

Contact Us | Directions

Staff

The Reformed Church

Site Map

 
 

 

North Transept

South Transept

Great Rose

Single Lancets

Samaritan Woman / Restoration


These windows are represented in Stained Glass from Medieval Times to the Present: Treasures to Be Seen in New York, by Sturm and Chotas, 1982, folio number 128.
Heinigke and Bowen Stained Glass_Old First Reformed Church
Otto Heinigke was the designer of these windows. He was partner with Owen J. Bowen, former associate of Tiffany and La Farge, the creators and designers of opalescent glass. ad
Heinigke and Bowen Ad c.1909

Heinigke began his career as a painter, and became interested in stained glass when renovating the “painted glass” Bolton windows, created in 1844, at the Holy Trinity Church (Saint Ann’s) in Brooklyn Heights. Heinigke then proceeded to create windows of equal or greater quality over the next several decades. By the end of his career he was designing windows in the medieval (mosaic) style. This ensemble at Old First, from the middle of his career, represents a transitional stage in his development and blends elements of the three styles of stained glass.

Our attention is first drawn to the painted faces and figures, but if we look closer we can discern both brilliant mosaic-type pieces and opalescent sections, often several layers thick. Of special interest is the sky, made of soft hues and metallic; it is almost white gold or platinum in appearance, with very pale lemon yellow and cyan in metallic finish; a subtle beauty nearly impossible to capture in photography.

The windows were build and installed circa 1893. Looking across the sanctuary to the south ensemble, one finds another Heinigke window, The Return of the Prodigal Son, from the same period.

729 Carroll St
@ 7th Av
718 638 8300
Reformed Church | Park Slope, Brooklyn
sptitle

Otto Heinigke stained glass "Three Parables" Heinigke Bowen, Old First Reformed Churcn Sower window Good Shepherd window Vineyard window Oscar Schenck memorial window Van Orden memorial window James Ray Lott memorial window sp
This ensemble in the North Transept, built by Heinigke and Bowen, is one of the stained glass treasures of New York. Designed by Otto Heinigke, the ensemble represents the whole history of stained glass that one might encounter: medieval mosaic style, painted style and American opalescent. One's attention is first drawn to the painted faces and figures, but if one were to look closer, one would discern both brilliant mosaic-type pieces and opalescent sections, often several layers thick. Thematically related in story and design, the families who donated these windows must have worked closely together to select parables that had meaning to their families, and with the designer to create this enduring work of art.

The medallion within the large rose window above the triptych, depicts crossed plumes (pens) symbolizing the Word of God. Heinigke’s three lancets beneath the Rose comprise a triptych from three great agricultural parables of Jesus. Arranged, from left to right, as spring, summer, and fall, they also represent the triple menu of the Passover Meal and the Lord’s Supper: the bread, the Lamb, and the wine.

The Sower_Otto Heinigke_Heinigke and Bowen_Old First Reformed ChurchspThe Sower

The Sower is a springtime scene. The window’s left panel depicts the parable as related in Luke 8. Jesus compares himself to a farmer sowing grain, saying, “The seed is the word of God,” referring to the planting of seeds in young fertile ground, or symbolically, knowledge and faith in young, fertile minds. The grain will be used to make bread, a reference to the Bread of Life, and symbolic of the body of Christ.

The top right panel depicts, as some have suggested, the Schenck family coat of arms or, from a biblical viewpoint, a shield representing the Four Apostles with Christ’s crown above; note the Trinity element of the design.

The quatrefoil, below the shield, can be symbolic of the four evangelists, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The intricacy may be purely decorative or it may indicate the evangelists’ connection to the rest of the world as teachers, with Christ in the center.

Schenck Family Memorial Window
Frederick Schenck, a banker, gave this window in honor of his father, Oscar, an elder of Old First who died on September 4, 1876. Oscar is described as a kind and gentle man, "living in peace with all men". He married Cornelia Ann Brett of Fishkill, New York. Both Oscar and his son were Sunday School teachers, and thus the theme of this window.

Oscar Schenck memorial window_Old First Reformed Church_Brooklyn_Otto Heinigke_donated by son Frederick Schenck

If you are interested in learning more about the Schenck family of Old First, browse the History of the First Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Breuckelen, now known as The First Reformed Church of Brooklyn, 1654 to 1896, put out by the Consistory of Old First in 1896, which is searchable online through Google Books.

Return to Top



The Good Shepherd_Otto Heinigke_Heinigke Bowen_Old First Reformed ChurchspThe Good Shepherd

The Good Shepherd depicts the parable in John 10. It is a summer scene of nurturing, protection and growth. Note the face of the angel in the rosette, a guardian figure; like the depicted Christ / Shepherd who is the protector of those who follow His teachings. According to the teachings, he is both the Lamb of God, and is depicted in the parable holding a lamb, food of the Passover. Clearly discernible in this window are both multi-layered panels, mosaic pieces and an opalescent glass sky.

In the memorial window, shown below, note the fruit tree in the left panel. We offer two possible interpretations of this image. The first would be symbolic of the bounty one might receive by adhering to the Lord’s teaching, according to the parable of the Sower. The second interpretation would recall the forbidden fruit in the Garden of Eden and the fall of Man; hinting at Christ’s victory over sin.
Note the beautifully textured earth tones in the panes below, creating an iridescent batik effect.

Van Orden / Gaul Family Memorial Window
This window was given in memory of Mary Jane Gaul by her husband, Henry De Witt Van Orden. Mary Jane was the daughter of John Gaul, a lawyer who practiced in New York City, and Rachel Miller. She was baptized on 19 August 1821 at the Reformed Church, Claverack, Columbia County, New York. Husband, Henry Van Orden, was an Elder and Sunday School Superintendent, and for many years, Legal Counselor for the church.

Jane Gual_Henry Van Orden memorial window_Old First Reformed Church_Brooklyn_Otto Heinigke

If you are interested in learning more about the Van Orden family of Old First, browse the History of the First Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Breuckelen, now known as The First Reformed Church of Brooklyn, 1654 to 1896, put out by the Consistory of Old First in 1896, which is searchable online through Google Books.

Return to Top


The Good Shepherd_Otto Heinigke_Heinigke Bowen_Old First Reformed ChurchspThe Vineyard

The Laborer in the Vineyard, representing autumn, depicts the parable in Matthew 20, where workers are sent out to tend the vines; the vineyard here representing the Kingdom of God. It is in the autumn season that we reap what we shall sow. The left panel in the lancet says, “Go ye also into the Vineyard,” a call for all Christians to nurture, grow and share their faith.

The right panel depicts a harvester gathering grapes. He will make wine, symbolic of the blood of Christ of the Holy Communion. Note the beauty and detail of the grapes; the colors are rich and autumnal; not unlike the color scheme of the sanctuary itself. This window has been an especial favorite of our congregation, with personal meaning for many.

The memorial window below reflects the theme by repeating the fruit and vine motif, and is illustrated with a trumpet, presumably from the heralds of God in heaven. Again, note the beautiful opalescent and layered glass, especially the muted cross under his name.

Lott Family Memorial Window
The Vineyard window was given in memory of James Ray Lott, a founder of the Mechanics and Traders' Insurance Company, who was an Elder and Sunday School teacher at Old First. James was the son of Henry Lott and Elsie Ray and was a descendant of Peter (Pieter) Lott, who came to Flatbush in 1652. “His master called him home” unexpectedly early one morning while sleeping, to which the entwined trumpet refers. The window was donated by his widow (possibly named Harriet A. from LDS familysearch).

James Ray Lott memorial window_Old First Reformed Church_Brooklyn_Otto Heinigke

If you are interested in learning more about the Lott family of Old First, browse the History of the First Reformed Protestant Dutch Church of Breuckelen, now known as The First Reformed Church of Brooklyn, 1654 to 1896, put out by the Consistory of Old First in 1896, which is searchable online through Google Books.


The Great Rose
South Transept
Single Lancets
The Samaritan Woman
Restoration: The Samaritan Woman

Return to Top

 

sp