Stained glass gets new life

Friday, May 16, 2003

Mike Reydell, from Moss Stained Glass, prepares to dismantle a stained glass window at the Union United Methodist Church for restoration.

Even stained glass must acquiesce to the decadence of aging. The beautiful stained glass windows at the Union United Methodist Church on east Airport Road have focused the brilliant hues and shades of sunshine upon the church's congregants since 1923.

The church is beginning the last stage of a seven year renovation project. The devout congregation of 150 to 175 members have patiently and lovingly replaced the carpeting, painted, acquired new lights and a front door, rewired the sound system, reupholstered the chairs and pews, renovated the balcony and completed a brand new parsonage.

Jane Walters and Phyllis Mogan of the Window Restoration Committee, were at the church on May 8. They watched two craftsmen from the Moss Stained Glass company, out of Anderson, go about their work.

"The window braces were coming off," said worker Josh Clarke. "The lead compound was disintegrating and the windows were bowing." Clarke, who has worked for the Moss company for two years, is the son of Marvin Clarke from Bowling Green.

The workmen masterfully and gently removed part of the 52 stained glass sections from the 17 windows. The glass was made in Kokomo, Ind. So any broken piece can be replaced by the same company that originally made it.

The windows will be releaded, regrouted, put back in wood sashes and returned to the church. Members will then paint all of the wood trim inside and out. When that's complete, the Moss company will put new, clear storm windows over all of the stained glass. The final cost of the stained glass project will be approximately $60,000.

When asked how the relatively small church will fund the undertaking, Walters replied, "This is God's house. He lives here and is very active. Not just in the church but in every member who goes here. We think what's needed will be provided. Any donations would be appreciated.

"Our goal," Walters continued, "is that our children and grandchildren can still enjoy the beauty of these windows."

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