October 14, 2015

Building History

Immanuel Baptist Church was designed by renowned architect J. Foster Warner in 1926, and is one of our city’s finest national landmarks. The charm of the church begins with exquisite historic detail and endures with community efforts to preserve it through the ages.

 

Tradition of Beauty and Craftsmanship

Its English Gothic features — from asymetrical towers and rustic stucco finish to half-timber details — resemble those of Saint Margaret’s Church in London. The church is one of Warner’s numerous distinguished projects, which include the 1050 East Avenue mansion, the Monroe County Offices and work on the Eastman Theater. Its beauty extends from elegant arched entrances and windows to masterful works of wood and glass in the sanctuary. The effect is a distinctive combination of elegance and warmth.

Vision in Color and Light

Stand back, watch light filter through intricate patterns of color, and prepare to be awed. The chancel window above the cross is a masterful work of stained glass and a source of inspiration. Presented to the church in 1941 in tribute to husband and wife physicians Dr. John Alder Lichty and Dr. Cora Stoner Lichty, the window depicts Christ the healer. It represents the solace Immanuel offered to families and professionals from the former Park Avenue Hospital across Brunswick Street. The window was created by Pike Studios of Rochester, New York. Turn and look above the balcony to see the Kendall B. Castle windows installed in 1959. The top panel shows Jesus the teacher. Three panels at the bottom show the towers of the University of Rochester, Immanuel Church, and the Colgate Rochester Divinity School.

Inspired Instrument

The Immanuel Baptist Church pipe organ was built in 1926 and it continues to grace the sanctuary with its beauty and sound. The instrument was built by the Moller Organ Company and was played for many years by George Eastman’s organist, Elizabeth Harper Vaughn. In 1972, the organ was rebuilt and enlarged to carry on the church’s tradition of music and song. Immanuel Baptist Church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. We are also pleased to acknowledge support for the restoration projects from the New York Landmark’s Conservancy Sacred Sites Programs and the National Trust for Historic Preservation.