York Town Square

Part of the USAToday Network

Window transom honors Charles Fishel: Beautiful First Moravian Church in York, Part 8

This window transom stained glass window at York, Pa.’s, First Moravian Church is one of 31 designed by noted York County artist J. Horace Rudy. This is another in a series on those windows. Also of interest: All Rudy stained-glass window posts from the start and York native Steve Zirnkilton’s ‘Law & Order’ voice known to the world and York County enthusiasts could find historical event, site to visit every day.

Charles Fishel, a member of an early First Moravian family, was honored with the dedication of this stained-glass window about 100 years ago.
“The inscription at the window’s base note: In Memoriam – Charles Fishel,” Terrence Downs wrote.
Here is the rest of Terry’s explanation of the window and the family name on the window’s inscription:

The Lord said to Moses, “Write down all these instructions, for they represent the terms of my covenant with you and with Israel.” Exodus Ch. 34, vs. 27

Symbolically this window transom illustrates the 2 blank tablets of stone Moses took to Mount Sinai as God instructed, and 40 days Moses spent on the Mount writing down a new copy of the covenant as given by God. At the top of the tablets is a 5-sided star signifying God in the Heavens. The inscription at the window’s base note: In Memoriam – Charles Fishel.
The Fishel Family (original spelling ‘Fischel’) are another product of longevity of the charter members at our Church, this family’s original members from the 1740’s – the root of this family line as Michael and Julianna Lanius Fischel, Charles’ grandparents. Family association to York Moravian Church followed with Johannes (Michael’s family) emigrating 1730’s from their homeland at Esenheim in Europe; and Julianna Lanius being born (1740) at Kreutz Creek – the starting place of the York Moravian Church. It is interesting to note that Jacob Lischey, the Reformed Pastor who, when he came through Kreutz Creek in 1744 from Bethlehem (PA), Julianna Lanius family was among those who heard Rev. Lischey speak of his ‘inspired meeting with “the Moravians” ‘ at a synod there nearly 3 weeks prior. Rev. Lischey remained in York as a Reformed minister, serving no less than 6 York area congregations during his long and interesting career.
Charles Fischel was born in York Township on April 18, 1801, the son of Jacob and Christine Koenig Fischel. Baptized May 1, 1801 and confirmed May 23, 1830 at the York Moravian Church, he married Elizabeth Brillhardt on March 20, 1828. This union lasted until Elizabeth’s death June 6, 1853, after which he married the widow Sarah Schreiber Lauman. It is not certain of progeny to either wife, but First Moravian records at Mr. Fishel’s death indicate his survivors as one married son, 4 married daughters and an unmarried daughter. Charles Fishel outlived the second wife by nearly 2 years – his expiring June 10, 1880. Other York and Moravian Church names connected to this family aside Lanius include Fahs, Zeigler and Cronenwett. And during the time of Charles’ life – the spelling of his surname changed from European to American identity.
The Fishel window unit itself is situated on the south side of the sanctuary, and holds a very vivid array of teal and violet swirled glass. No different than other units within the nave area of the room, each window holds its own characteristics, and takes on light values of different hues and colors within the course of a given day, and also the change of sun angles throughout the various seasons. This technique as installed by the John Rudy Studios in 1910 were also integrated in the windows of the 1907 Temple Beth Israel Synagogue, located at corner of Newton Avenue & South Beaver Street. This building, along with (most of) its stained glass windows still exists.
A unique attribute is a ‘foxing’ pock pattern that is imposed within the glass when sun levels are at either a low angle or at early morning/ dusk – this light milky glass installed just below the transoms within the body of the rococo panels. These panels take on a ‘white-on-ivory’ spotted appearance. The tablets themselves are a mixture of off-white, deep blues and yellows, slightly mixed into the swirl of the glass at the time of the manufacture. It is not definite if this exceptional glass is Tiffany, but is a very vivid blend that give the tablets a rich, rustic look.