Second Presbyterian Church was originally located downtown and has been at its current location, 7700 North Meridian Street, since 1959.
The memorial garden on the east side of the sanctuary offers a quiet retreat for reflection and remembrance.
Stained Glass Windows
Stained Glass Windows
The History Around Us
Sanctuary Ascension Window
Are you aware when you sit in the sanctuary on Sunday mornings that in front of you is one of Indianapolis's finest masterpieces of art? The masterpiece is our chancel's Ascension Window, as it is commonly called.
Our former church building, located next to the World War Memorial on the northwest corner of Vermont and Pennsylvania Streets, was built in 1870. In 1905 the Tiffany Studios of New York redecorated the sanctuary. Ten stained glass windows graced the sides of the sanctuary, five on each side. The "crowning glory" of the redecoration was located in the back of the church on the south wall. Created by Louis Comfort Tiffany, the window was named "The Ascension with Passion Flower and Vine." It shone resplendent on Sunday mornings as the sun streamed through it, basking the sanctuary in deep, rich colors.
When the church moved to our current location, everything in the Vermont Street building was sold at auction except for the window and the Kilgen organ, which was moved to our current building and later replaced. Stained glass windows were not in "vogue" in 1959, and one of the side windows, which consisted of two panels each 16 feet high with a rosette at the top, sold for $25.
With the move to 7700 North Meridian Street the Tiffany window did not "fare too well."
First, there were two additional lancets in the original window making a total of seven. They didn't make it to the new church. They contained the "passion flower and vine" of the window's original name. For some unknown reason, they were sold at the auction and are lost forever.
Second, in the move, the top two panels of the middle lancet were broken and replaced with two pieces of deep purple glass cut to fill in the window. One can notice that instead of fading to the darker colors, there is an abrupt change at the top.
For years after the move there was much debate in the church as to whether the window was actually by Tiffany. Some people argued that, since his signature was never found on the window, it probably wasn't by him.
However, in 1980 the book Tiffany Windows, the indispensable book on Louis C. Tiffany's masterworks by Alistair Duncan was published.
It documents all of the Tiffany windows known to exist and gives their names and locations. There are only five in Indianapolis: Second Presbyterian Church (The Sayles Memorial Window), Meridian Street United Methodist Church (The Steward Memorial Window - "Resurrection Angel"), First Presbyterian Church (The President Harrison Memorial Window - "St. Michael" now in the Indianapolis Museum of Art), and two in private Mausoleums at Crown Hill Cemetery located just north of the Gothic Chapel (Dickson Mausoleum - "Light of the World" and Knight Mausoleum - "Return of the Soul").
The book also states, "Not all were signed; the vast majority, in fact, were not. Nor can a distinction be made in this respect between important and lesser commissions; some of the windows which the Studios considered of major importance were not signed. The windows were unique undertakings, each designed to meet a customer's specific wishes. The window took on the customer's identity; it became for example the Sayles or the Harrison Memorial. Further identification seemed unnecessary as no duplicate window would be produced. On occasion, no doubt, the client requested that the window be signed or the Studios itself decided that one of a series -- as in certain church commissions -- bear witness to Tiffany's work but no clear patter of signing is evident."
Further documentation was noted in a newspaper article dated October 29, 1905, from the Indianapolis Star, which goes into quite some detail about the sanctuary redecorating.
The window was given in memory of Charles F. Sayles who was treasurer of the church and a trustee from 1888 until his death in 1902.
by Fred Kortepeter
Originally published in The Spire, March 2003
Art and Architecture
Art and Architecture
When we worship God at Second Church, we are surrounded by highly symbolic works of art that point our minds and our hearts toward our Creator and Savior. Beautiful in themselves, these works are an inherent part of community worship, inspiring and enhancing our appreciation of the glory of God. Because of its creative nature, art is truly a reflection of God’s creative spirit. Through the creation and the perception of beauty, we praise and celebrate the creative power of God. Art is, in this, respect, an aspect of worship.
Anyone can enjoy Second's labyrinth located off of the north parking lot. The classic design provides an inspirational respite for community members.
Our Memorial Garden allows parishioners to rest next to the spiritual home they loved in life or to honor loved ones with an engraved bronze plaque placed on the Memorial Walls.
Nestled in the shadow of the spire, outside the east wall of the Sanctuary, this beautiful and consecrated place features Indiana limestone and Italian granite with tasteful landscaping, walks and benches to create a lovely retreat for generations to come.
Handicapped access is provided, and perpetual maintenance is assured through the Building and Grounds Committee of Session.
In addition, biographical information regarding each person remembered there is entered into a permanent record book available to descendants and friends.
Plaques are displayed on walls within the garden, and niches holding one or two urns have an exterior panel with appropriate names and dates inscribed.
For more information about the Second Presbyterian Church Memorial Garden, contact Catherine Carvey.
McFarland Hall Art Gallery
McFarland Hall Art Gallery
The Fine Arts Advisory Team coordinates art exhibits featuring works by members and friends of Second Presbyterian Church. Most of these installations are in McFarland Hall, on the third floor of the north addition.
The gallery space consists of three bays for sculptural art, and space for as many as 56 hung works of art. Available space includes the three bays in McFarland hall, extended space on the opposite wall in McFarland Hall, and just down the hallway towards the Sanctuary. The Fine Arts team also has a limited amount of high quality pedestals and display cases for sculptural pieces.
Each fall the Fine Arts Advisory Team coordinates the show Eight Days of Creation, an open, multimedia exhibit of art pieces by members of Second Presbyterian Church. Other shows have featured sketches, photography, and sculpture from artists in Indiana and beyond.
Building Use Policy
Building Use Policy
Through its facilities at 7700 N. Meridian Street, Second Presbyterian is pleased to serve its congregation and its community.
It is expected that all organizations and persons utilizing the facilities at Second Presbyterian Church would treat the property and furnishings in a manner consistent with biblical stewardship principles. There is no charge for the use of the building for Second Presbyterian Church church-related groups.
Priority of use is as follows:
1. Regularly scheduled meetings connected with Second Presbyterian.
2. All other functions of Second Presbyterian, not regularly scheduled.
3. Activities and functions of the Presbyterian denomination.
4. All inter-denominational church meetings.
5. All church-related groups.
6. Social service and community groups.
7. Outside groups (with approval).
The Executive Administrative Assistant to the Director of H.R. and Administrative Services handles all outside group intake and scheduling. The Director of H.R. and Administrative Services approves groups and may adjust or waive outside group fees. At the time of application, the expressed purpose and intent for the facility use will need to be made in writing to the Executive Administrative Assistant of the Director of H.R. and Administrative Services. A church representative will be on-site for the duration of large events.
Welcome to Second
Welcome to Second Presbyterian
Second Presbyterian Church is God’s house. All are welcome.
We believe church should be uplifting and encouraging, without compromising the truth of God’s Word, the Bible. Our purpose is to share the good news of Jesus Christ and learn how to live out our faith everyday.
People who attend our church come from all types of different experiences and church backgrounds. Others come with no church or religious background at all. No matter what your background, you are welcome at Second Presbyterian Church.
Some may look at our magnificent limestone structure and think we are a church of wealthy people who will be cold and unfriendly, but inside you will discover some of the warmest, most caring people you will ever meet.
At Second, you will find committed people who are reaching out to the community to make this world a better place for others. We support mission projects throughout our city, our country, and our world.