Preserving Our Stained Glass Windows

Stained glass has been around since the Middle Ages; the first reference to stained glass dates from 675 A.D. The beautiful stained glass windows in our church have been in place since 1897.  The light that comes through the windows in our church is never static Throughout the day, the windows are illuminated by the changing light, their patterns wandering across the floor, inviting your thoughts to wander with them.  These “illuminated wall decorations” allow the light of God into our church. On a sunny Sunday morning, the stained glass windows in our sanctuary just glow with light! Those windows have been shining down on all of us for 122 years. Stained glass, as an art and a craft, requires the artistic skill to conceive an appropriate and workable design and the engineering skills to assemble the piece. A stained glass window must fit snugly into the space for which it is made, must resist wind and rain, and also, especially in the larger windows, must support its own weight. For 122 years our stained glass windows have done just that.

There are fifty stained glass windows in our church, and these irreplaceable works of art are in urgent need of restoration. Careful inspection of our church’s windows indicate that we must undertake this restoration project or risk irreparable damage to many of them.  This labor-intensive process requires removal of some of the
windows and repair of others that can remain in place. During this process:
• the “caming” (the lead flange between the pieces of colored glass) that is in poor condition will be replaced.
• any cracked glass will be stabilized and recemented.
• loose paint on the outer surface of the window casework will be removed, and all the casework will be
• the stained glass will be cleaned, and the windows restored to their original brilliance
• all of the windows will be covered on the exterior with a clear acrylic material in a rigid aluminum frame that will protect the windows from future damage.

The restoration work will be performed by Associated Crafts/Willet-Hauser, the premier stained glass studio in the U.S., based in Winona, Minnesota, taking between 18-24 months to complete. Our goal is to raise the necessary funds, $150,000, by the end of 2021.