SHERIDAN — First Congregational United Church of Christ saw a need to restore its stained-glass windows. The windows were installed in1911 with the building of the brick structure.
Community members thought the church was closed and the windows looked like they were boarded up, said Rev. Dr. Sheila Naismith, pastor at UCC.
UCC hosts a soup kitchen during the week along with other activities such as bible studies and addiction support groups
Most of the stained-glass windows in the building at Works and Brooks Street have been restored and the outside covering has been removed. Naismith said the sanctuary is brighter and the church looks more inviting from the outside. A congregation member said it the best, the windows appear to be smiling, Naismith said.
Restoring the windows has been an expensive investment for UCC. To repair and restore the windows, the church set the goal of raising $85,000. Thanks to not only the UCC congregation but also broader community support, Naismith said UCC was able to reach that goal within a year.
To help raise money for the new windows, UCC hosted different fundraising events. UCC offered an adopt-a-window program that allowed people to donate the money needed to get a window replaced. Naismith said Willet Hauser quoted the 32 windows individually, giving a price for each one. Those who adopted a window will have their name on a plaque below the window to recognize the contribution.
UCC started “The Last Friday” concert series to help raise money for the windows. One of the concerts also included a silent auction.
All but one window will be restored by July 4. The last window to be restored is the rose window on the south side of the church. UCC is waiting for the final quote on how much it will cost to fix that one.
Windows were restored by Willet Hauser Architecture Glass, a company that specializes in stained-glass windows. Arturo Hernandez has been working for the company since 2004, restoring stained-glass windows throughout the United States.
Hernandez said some of the panels began to bulge out and would break if they were not flattened.
To restore and repair the stained-glass, Hernandez and his other two crew members removed the outside covering from the stained glass, then smooth out the frames around the windows, getting them ready for a new covering. If any of the window panes were bulging, Hernandez and his crew were able to flatten them.
Once the stained-glass is fixed, a new outside covering is placed over the glass. This outside covering is clear, allowing for more light to enter the building compared to the previous covering.
Hernandez and his crew will take a break to celebrate the Fourth of July with their families and will return to finish the work. The only window left will be the rose window. The crew has been working on the project for about two weeks.
Hernandez said his crews range from two to four people depending on the size of the job. His crew is based out of Winona, Minnesota, and they cover the western United States. Naismith expressed deep gratitude for those who contributed to the success of the project.