Soldier blessed by an Angel

Have you ever stopped to notice the stunning Roman Soldier being blessed by an Angel as you enter our main sanctuary. Enjoy the story of whose memory these two windows were given and the religious significance.

The leather-covered swinging doors at the entrance to the sanctuary when we pass from the narthex to the nave hold two very special small windows and plaques. A soldier in stylized Roman armor and dress on the right as one enters is being blessed by an angel on the left. The scripture that flows through both windows reads “Blessed are they that enter thru the gates into the City” and is from Revelation 22:14

In memory of Anthony Stow Butler, US Air Force

The plaque beneath the soldier reads “In memory of Anthony Stow Butler, First Lieutenant, United States Air Force, May 21, 1926–May 26, 1952.” Beneath the angel, the plaque reads “Server in this Church 1941–1944” and the scripture is taken from verses 9 and 10 of Psalms 139, “If I take the wings of the morning . . . Even there shall thy hand lead me and thy right hand shall hold me”.

This mid-century window is American and was designed by The Payne-Spiers Studios in New York City as a memorial gift. The look of the window is more modern than many others in the church. The colors of glass are subdued but, as in many of our windows, there are brilliant reds and blues. The overall effect works well with the Transfiguration window above. It is a visual reminder of those we remember on Memorial Day when we honor and mourn the military personnel who have died in the performance of their military duties while serving in the United States Armed Forces.

Lt. Butler, an aerial observer, lost his life on a routine flight from Langley Air Force base when the plane crashed and all three on board were killed. He grew up in Greenwich and as the plaque indicates, served as an acolyte while in high school (a server was the term for what is now an acolyte).  Lt. Butler was an exceptional young man  who earned honors all four years at Greenwich High School and was a member of the fencing team, National Honor Society, National Thespians, Navigation Club, Opera Club, and the Debating Club. He attended Yale and joined Naval ROTC there. He finished at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis. Sadly, Lt. Butler died less than a week after his 26th birthday and a few weeks shy of his first wedding anniversary.

The swinging doors that hold these windows also serve as an apt metaphor for us as we re-enter life in our town and church campus, which opened after 430 days of COVID closure (2020 to 2021).

Karen Royce