TYLER, Texas (KETK)- Marvin Methodist church held a special dedication ceremony on Sunday to celebrate their restored stained-glass windows that were originally built in 1891.
The 36 windows that surround the sanctuary makeup 5,000 square feet and were valued between two million and 2.5 million dollars.
“Originally they were put in in the 1890s and have been here ever since, and some of them have not been touched since the 1890s and that’s why it was really critical to have them repaired and restored,” said Rebecca Dunn, a five-year member of Marvin United Methodist.
Beautiful is one word parishioners use to describe the large windows that line each wall. However, each one is a mystery when it comes to who originally created them.
Each elevation reflects a Christian symbol in the center circular pane. Executive Pastor Gerry Giles says these symbols serve as the anchor of the display. Representing hope and steadfastness, a cross and a crown represent the reward of the faithful who triumph over death, while the wheat and sickle represent the bountiful harvest.
The back of the church features four pictorial windows featuring Jesus, Elijah, a bridesmaid, and Moses.
SPARK OF THE RESTORATION
Two years ago, members of Marvin United Methodist started hearing and feeling the wind coming through cracks in the windows.
After an inspection, Executive Pastor Gerry Giles said, the interior framework had begun to separate from the stained-glass elevations.
“They have been in place for decades and the pieces that keep the stained glass together were worn out and weathered. Some of it was safety, a lot of it was safety, but some of it is just maintaining the natural beauty,” explained Shawn Dunn, a five-year member of Marvin United Methodist.
Concerned for the safety of members, the Board of Trustees agreed a total restoration would be needed to solve the long-term problem.
The restoration process has taken place in three phases, each encompassing one side of the sanctuary.
To secure the glass, each piece was removed and secured to be transported to Cathedral’s studio in Minnesota.
Once in the studio, nearly three hundred pounds of lead was stripped away allowing each pane of glass to be chemically cleaned and repaired.
Next the panes were reassembled with new leading and brass tie bars, transported back to Tyler, and reinstalled in the sanctuary.
BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE
The project was given a 25-year guarantee, however, church officials predict the restoration will last 50 to 80 years.
“Our monuments and relics are one of the things that really transcend time, there one the things that while can connect people throughout generations,” explained Rebecca Dunn, “I mean it’s our job to be stewards of those things and make sure that they do survive for future generations to be able to appreciate these things.”