February 12th, 2016 / Mt. Vernon News

Windows That Really Say Something

By Alan Reed / Mt. Vernon News February 12, 2016

MOUNT VERNON, Ohio — Workers from Franklin Art Glass Studios have been very diligently removing seven stained-glass windows from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 100 E. High St., this week. And not to worry, they will be putting them back … only in better shape.

“Time and weather have taken their toll, and it’s the congregation’s turn to ensure the longevity of this structure,” said Todd Mizer, who is coordinating a project to have seven stained-glass windows at the church refurbished.

Installed in 1863 and made in France, the stained-glass windows on the east and west sides of the church at St. Paul’s have begun to show extensive wear. Mizer explained that the wood casings have blistered away from the stone facings. Water setting in and freezing has also caused the paint to break away from the casings.

“They’ve reached the end of their useful life,” Mizer said. “The casements will be completely replaced, and the windows will be tuned up, so to say. The lead will be smoothed around and replaced as needed.”

Casements for the windows are being manufactured at Arch Casing and Millwork in Plain City. Tempered glass at 1/4-inch thick will also be applied over the windows. Funds for the window rehab project have all been raised by parishoners.

“We’re very close to meeting our goal. The total project cost is $143,000,” Mizer said. The first payment was already made, a second installment was to be made this week, and the final installment will be made when the windows are completed, which is expected to be in July.

And it wasn’t just a whim when making the decision to refurbish the windows. Because, according to the congregation, “Every window represents something.”

“If you were to sit in here on a sunny summer evening and watch the sunset on the west side of the church, you can’t be help but get that angelic feeling about the ambiance that a window brings to a church such as this,” Mizer said. “They always talk to you.”

The seven 20-foot tall windows being replaced in the sanctuary include in-laid symbols which are very meaningful to the church, including a Bishop’s hat, the Ten Commandments, staffs, crowns, etc. Stained-glass windows need to be worked on about every 50 years in order to maintain their integrity.

Sharing some insight on the symbolism behind the stained-glass windows is David Kendall-Sperry, currently serving as Rector at St. Paul’s.

“What they do, from a story-telling point of view, is tell people about the stories of the Bible or of church items,” said Kendall-Sperry. “Now, of course, we have much higher levels of literacy, but still we have these stained-glass windows as examples of telling stories, especially the Biblical stories.”

Other stained-glass windows inside St. Paul’s include a large rosette window from 1878 which symbolizes Christ’s ascension and the commissioning of the church; a V-shaped window from 1972 which depicts St. Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus, his shipwreck and the writing of his letters; a window from 1939 which symbolizes Jesus as the resurrection and the life; and four small windows in the narthex representing St. Peter (keys), St. Andrew (cross), St. James (scallop shell-baptism) and St. John (quill pen).

A dedication celebration is planned once the window project is complete.

“This sort of culminates quite an investment for us,” Kendall-Sperry said. “We’re just trying to keep them repaired and keep them restored to maintain the heritage we have here at St. Paul’s.”
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