Our Sacred Spaces

A Beacon of Welcome and Hospitality in the City of New York for 300 Years

Come Inside Our Sanctuary

Installed at First Church between 1893 and 1916, the memorial stained glass windows were the result of Dr. Howard Duffield’s vision to brighten the sanctuary. On the church’s north side, the windows depict “literary elements in the Holy Scriptures.” The south side’s windows reflect the interests of the donors, presenting historical figures who influenced Protestantism.

Throughout the sanctuary you will also find plaques and tablets in loving tribute to prominent members of our church community.

Sanctuary
The grand First Church sanctuary was built in 1844–1846 and designed by Joseph C. Wells in the Gothic Revival style. It is said to be modeled on the Church of St. Saviour at Bath, England, and the crenellated central entrance tower on the Magdalen Tower at Oxford.
Communion Table
The three seats behind the Communion Table represent the three churches that united in 1918 to create the present First Church. Below the carving of the particular church are listed the names of the pastors who served.
Among the gifts from the Madison Square Church, this baptismal font commands attention--both for its simplicity and the historical fact that President Theodore Roosevelt was baptized from it, as the inscription attests.

This plaque is in memory of William Adams, D.D., LL.D. (1807-1880). First pastor of Madison Square Church, he served for 21 years. “God gave him a spirit of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
The Rose Window
The Rose Window of stained blue glass sits high above the reredos in the back of the choir. It was the gift of Robert W. de Forest, the founder of the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum, and his wife.
The Rose Window
The Rose Window of stained blue glass sits high above the reredos in the back of the choir. It was the gift of Robert W. de Forest, the founder of the American Wing of the Metropolitan Museum, and his wife.
A chancel was added to the Sanctuary in 1919, and the reredos, painted by Taber Sears in 1917, was moved to its new west wall and repainted. Its theme is the ancient canticle, Te Deum Laudamus.
A few of the 5,000 organ pipes that comprise the magnificent sanctuary organ in our church.
Alexander Chapel
In 1937 the Alexander Chapel was built in the South Wing, named after the first pastor to lead the consolidated church, Dr. George Alexander. Decorated with the Scottish symbols of thistle, heather and ivy, its stained-glass windows depict the cathedral on the island of Iona, the Ionic cross of St. Martin, and a young Crusader setting forth from his Scottish homeland.

In 2004, former Clerk of Session, Mrs. Betty C. Jones, donated the chapel’s Sebastian M. Glück pipe organ in memory of her late husband, Rees.

In 1893, the church began the installation of memorial stained glass windows along the north and south walls of the sanctuary. Designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, Francis Lathrop, D. Maitland Armstrong and Charles Lamb, the glorious windows were the result of Dr. Howard Duffield’s vision to brighten the interior of the sanctuary. On the north side, the windows depict literary elements in the Holy Scriptures, while those on the south side reflect the interests of their donors and highlight historical figures who influenced Protestantism. The corresponding balcony windows, designed concurrently and especially for each location, use motifs of each “named” window below.

Moses
Moses, representing the Law. Presented by the Young People’s Society, in memory of its founder and first president, Mr. Algernon Sidney Sullivan. Designed by Maitland Armstrong.
David
David, representing Sacred Psalms. Designed by Charles Lamb and donated by Mrs. Hersey in honor of her father, a church Elder.
Isaiah
Isaiah, representing the Prophets. Presented by Eugene McJimsey, in memory of one of his ancestors, Elder John Keese, 1800-9. Designed by Tiffany Studios.
St. John
St. John, representing the Gospels. (This was the first window installed in the church.) Presented by Thomas Greenleaf, in memory of his father, Joseph Greenleaf, an Elder in the church, 1868-71. Designed by Frank Lathrop.
St. Paul
The family of Elder Richard Harrison Ball donated this depiction of St. Paul, representing the Epistles. Designed by Maitland Armstrong.
The Scotch Presbyterians
The Scotch Presbyterians, represented by St. Columba, Irish missionary to Northern Scotland about 563. Presented by Mrs. Emily H. Moir, in memory of her husband, William Moir, who was Treasurer and Elder of the church. Designed by Tiffany Studios.
The Huguenots
The Huguenots, represented by Gaspard de Coligny, Admiral of France, later converted to Protestantism, and the first victim to perish in the Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s Day. This window by Maitland Armstrong was presented by Dr. Benjamin G. Demarest in memory of Mary C. Demarest and Daniel Demarest.
The Reformation
The Reformation, represented by Martin Luther. Presented by Mrs. William R. Hersey in memory of Marcia Pennell Hersey and Arthur Temple Hersey, her mother and brother. Designed by Charles Lamb.
Peter Waldo
Peter Waldo, leader of a 12th century group that was a forerunner to Protestantism. Reverend and Mrs. Franklin B. Dwight donated this Maitland Armstrong window in honor of Elder James Lenox.
South Side Balcony Windows
A View of the South Side Balcony
South Side Balcony Window #1
South Side Balcony Window #2
South Side Balcony Window #3
South Side Balcony Window #4
North Side Balcony Windows
A View of the North Side Balcony
North Side Balcony Window #1
North Side Balcony Window #2
North Side Balcony Window #3
North Side Balcony Window #4
North Side Balcony Window #5
North Side Balcony Window #6
These beautiful stained-glass windows sit above the choir loft.
Zodiac Window
One of two Zodiac Windows just inside the main entrance to the church were designed, constructed and erected by Jessie Van Brunt in recognition of the tenth anniversary of Dr. Moldenhawer’s pastorate, and to commemorate the 200th Anniversary of the Presbytery of New York, which occurred on May 8th, 1938.

Throughout the sanctuary are plaques and tablets in loving tribute to prominent members of our church community.

(Left) In memory of Robert Lenox, 1759-1839, by his children. Born in Scotland, Lenox served as a Ruling Elder of this Church for nearly 30 years. John R. B. Rodgers, M.D.

(Right) In memory of John R. B. Rodgers, M.D., 1807-1883, by his children. Late Professor in the Medical Department at Columbia College and for 33 years a Ruling Elder of this Church.
George Alexander, D.D.
Minister of the Gospel Shepard of Souls 1843-1930 Pastor of the University Place Church 1884-1916 Pastor of the First Presbyterian Church 1919-1930 “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.”
Restoration of the Bell in the Tyler Tower
In 1994 the Restoration of the Bell in the Tyler Tower was dedicated to the Ministry of Harry Emerson Fosdick, influential Preacher and Pastor of First Presbyterian Church from 1919-1924.
This tablet is erected as a loving tribute to the worth and lasting influence of Frances A. Graham, Margaret W. Graham, Helen E. Graham. By the Alumnae Association of the Graham School, New York, 1916.
Memorial chimes presented to Reverend Howard Duffield, D.D., pastor of this Church. By Edgar, John and Maren Fellowes, 1915. “There is One great Society Alone on earth: the noble living and the noble dead.” - Wordsworth. (These chimes have accepted the fate of disuse.)
In memory of Aaron Betts Belknak (1816-1880), a Ruling Elder of this Church from 1846-1880.
(Left) This plaque was given by the descendents of John Nicoll, M.D. Born in Scotland, Nicoll established the first church for the worship of God in the Presbyterian form in New York City. The building was erected on Wall Street in 1719.

(Right) The lights of the church installed in 1916 are the gift of five members of the Greenleaf Family as a memorial to their ancestors who, in an unrboken line since 1742, have served the Old First Church.
This tablet was placed on the front of the Church in Wall Street in 1748 after the enlargement and improvement of that building. The new building had a steeple and bell, of which the early Presbyterians in New York were justly proud. The record reads: "10 September 1749, the bell was rung from a Presbyterian steeple for the first time in the city of New York."
(Left) Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam. The Te Deum Reredos dedicated in 1918 is a votive offering of all the people, a token of their grateful recognition of the goodness of God in founding the Church and continuing its ministry during two hundred years and a perpetual witness to their devotion of the Church, themselves and their children to his service.

(Right) The restoration of the Tyler Tower was in memory of Elder and Trustee George Grayson Tyler.
Latimer Bailey
To the dear memory of Latimer Bailey, for 17 years Superintendent of the Mission Sunday School of the First Presbyterian Church. Erected by the teachers and scholars of the school in 1886, following Bailey's death in 1885.
This tablet, immediately inside the south entrance, was likely in the Wall Street Church, as removal to its present location did not take place until 1845. It is a translation of the Latin Black Tablet across the vestibule, which is 1748 was placed on the front of the Church in Wall Street after the enlargement and improvement of that building, including a steeple and bell.
In memory of Alexander McDougall (1732-1786). Born in North Britain, he immigrated to New York in 1738 with his father. He went on to become one of the most prominent "Sons of Liberty," serving as a military leader, in Congress, and as a leading merchant, including as the first president of the Bank of New York. "A brave soldier and disinterested patriot." - Washington
This plaque was erected in loving memory of Pastor Julius Valdemar Modenhawer, who served this church from 1927-1948.
In loving remembrance of Francis Symington, wife of Rev. William W. Phillips, D.D., 1796-1883. "Her children rise up and call her blessed."
In memory of those beloved to this congregation who died at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001
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