August 21, 2014

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Wellington church gets a bright restoration

WELLINGTON — A lovely thing is happening to the huge stained glass window featuring Jesus as a shepherd at First Congregational United Church of Christ.

Restoration work is being done on the stained glass windows facing Main Street at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Wellington. (CT photo by Steve Manheim.)

Restoration work is being done on the stained glass windows facing Main Street at First Congregational United Church of Christ in Wellington. (CT photo by Steve Manheim.)

Crews from Church Art Glass of Clinton, Ky., are restoring the circa-1896 stained glass that has deteriorated over the years, said the Rev. Brian Burke.

Soon, the light will shine in brighter than ever.

The $42,000 job includes removing a Lexan covering installed in the 1970s that has yellowed.

Crews are building a new frame of wood and aluminum that will hold in place quarter-inch thick glass that will protect the window from the elements, said Brent Perlowski of Church Art Glass.

It should last for many decades, he said.

Click here for more photos.

While working on the stained glass itself, one must be very careful to avoid a crack because the stained glass often is painted before it is kiln-fired, and replacing a portion is difficult, Perlowski said.

“It’s just painstaking and you need that special touch,” said Perlowski, the fourth generation of his family to work on church windows.

The best thing about working on churches is the gratitude of church members who stop by to see the progress, he said.
When the work on the window and transoms above the doors is complete, it should be easier when the church is lit up at night to see the stained glass in the windows facing South Main Street, Burke said.

Several panels that were in particularly bad condition have been sent to the company’s studio for repair and will be brought back in several weeks to be reinstalled.

The work was made possible by the congregation’s $250,000 capital funds campaign that also will include renovation of the church’s electrical system, replacement of other windows and tuck pointing of the bricks to ensure the integrity of the building, Burke said.

The capital campaign also will include restoration of the church’s pipe organ, which was featured in a recent tour of some of the area’s most beautiful pipe organs.

Money from the campaign also will be put into the endowment for ongoing mission work, Burke said.

An earlier restoration in 2003 gave new life to the stained glass window on the south wall, which features Jesus knocking at the door — an image inspired by the verse, “I have knocked and come for you,” Burke said.

Burke is taking pictures to chronicle the work for the congregation and is placing the photos on the church’s Facebook page.

Contact Cindy Leise at 329-7245 or cleise@chroniclet.com.