York Town Square

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Beautiful First Moravian Church in York, known for its neat features – Part II

This stained-glass window is another at York, Pa.’s, First Moravian Church from Rudy Art Studio. This window, expressing Jesus’ name, is given in memoriam of William H. Yost. Also of interest: York County enthusiasts could find historical event, site to visit every day and York native Steve Zirnkilton’s ‘Law & Order’ voice known to the world and York Moravian’s Putz is an unsung, well-sung annual attraction

First Moravian Church member Terrence Downs has embarked on a congregation newsletter series that explains the J. Horace Rudy-made stained glass windows in that beautiful North Duke Street Church.
The series is enhanced by Terrence’s explanation of the windows’ sponsors, often prominent York-area residents of the early 20th-century, when the windows were made.
A short history of the windows on First Moravian’s Web site gives some insight into the artist as he gazed particularly upon the chancel window: … .

“C. William Dize, a member of our congregation who passed away in recent years and eminent Architect in York recalled in his youth that John Horace Rudy, the artist whose studios created this marvel, and Mr. Rudy gaining in age would visit First Church regularly – sitting and visually drink in its artistry. He was reported to say that it was one of the most beautiful commissions he ever undertook and was glad it was around the corner from his offices so he could visit at will whenever the spirit spoke.

Here’s are excerpts from Terrence Down’s history of the windows, focusing on the art in memoriam of William H. Yost:

York City and environs was on the move and growing, this sense of community interaction faceted into the Life of churches in America. Pride, along with the ability to create and erect fine church facilities was affordable to many parishes at this time. During this period many of York’s distinctive church edifices were either rebuilt or remodeled, reflecting the styles brought on by early 20th Century America pride. And in York City – you need not go very far in any direction to see buildings from Civil War era construction to retrofits up to the latter 1920’s: Our fine facility fits that mode of operation as well.
The focus this segment is the window expressing Jesus name, and so befitting, we focus our attention to the window which holds this element: This unit is given In Memoriam – William H. Yost.
The transom mimics the credo of Moravians – “in simplicity…” as this unostentatious tribute shows: Within in a pale yellow shield is the Hebrew acknowledged symbol of Jesus’ name. The interlocking of the initials I H S is an abbreviation or shortening of Jesus’ name in Greek to the first three letters. Thus ΙΗΣΟΥΣ, ιησυς (iēsus, “Jesus”), is shortened to ΙΗΣ (iota-eta-sigma), sometimes transliterated into Latin or English characters as IHS or ΙΗC.
The memoriam was given to recognize William H. Yost who was born in Dover Township in 1847, attended Millersville Normal School, married Amanda Sprenkle of Manchester Township in 1873 and he lived until 1918. Mr. Yost was a manufacturer and real estate developer, aided in the creation of North York Borough. Yost Addition as it was known on 1902 maps was a 205 acre parcel (part of it previously being the adjacent Sprenkle Farm) that held farm operations, a large family home, 2 barns, orchard & employee housing for one of his businesses – the Yost Shoe Box factory. The warehouse yet stands aside the Lebanon Cemetery.
Parts of Yost Addition were sold to Prospect Hill Cemetery in the mid 1950’s, when the cemetery annexed this adjacent parcel that extended to Pennsylvania Avenue, and the remaining farm land yielded to suburban development as construction of U.S. 30 bypass in 1967 was initiated. The Yost Family was an active faction at York First Moravian, as many present older members recall “the Misses Yost”, in name of Nettie, Susie and Sadie Yost. To their immediate credit was the gift of their fine home at 1298 North George Street in 1958, for many years providing comfort as a Moravian Pastors’ Retirement Home, and was attended by the sisters. Serving 9 residents at a time – the stately manse served this capacity until 1974, at which time Lititz Moravian Manor accepted residents and Yost Manor ceased operations. The house and reduced estate grounds are now owned by the County of York as a Youth Home.

For hours that the public can view First Moravian’s Putz, a 20-minute sight and sound showing of the Christmas story, and tours of First Moravian, click here.