- Associated Press - Sunday, August 27, 2017

ANOKA, Ind. (AP) - When Mary B. Frey thinks about the stained glass windows in Anoka United Methodist Church, the church’s Easter Sunday sunrise services come to mind.

“You sit here and it’s coming up through the east and the sun’s coming in, it just makes it a reverent place,” she said.

But after 104 years, the sagging and buckling of the church’s original stained glass windows along with the cracks throughout them are demanding their restoration. Church leaders have launched a fundraising campaign to preserve the 17 windows they say have been a significant part of the church and their connections to it.

Traian Jay, who chairs the church’s board of trustees, measured the temperature of one of the stained glass windows on Tuesday, Aug. 15 and said it was reading over 100 degrees. The day before, he said, the window was 140 degrees.

“The high temperature means the lead deteriorates more quickly,” he said, adding the church’s windows have outlived their design life by almost 30 years.

Jay said the church intends to enlist Fort Wayne-based William L. Lupkin Designs to restore the windows. It’ll take about a year, he added.

Workers will do a third of the windows at a time and start by making a stencil of each one so they know exactly how it goes back together, Jay said.

“Then they tape everything together so it doesn’t come crashing apart as they get it out of the frame,” he continued.

They’ll take the entire window out, Jay went on to say, and transport it back to their shop to be dismantled.

The church’s large stained glass windows have glass behind them but the other smaller windows will need to be boarded up in the interim, Jay said.

During the restoration, the windows’ rotting wooden frames will be replaced with aluminum ones, he said. New panes will replace cracked pieces of glass.

Plate glass will be installed outside the windows for protection, Jay also said.

He said the first third of the windows may be replaced by Christmas.

Three of the larger windows have medallions respectively depicting a Bible, a dove and a lamb representing Jesus on the Book of Revelation with the seven seals described in that final book of the New Testament.

“We’re lucky the medallions are all in good shape, because those are expensive to redo,” Jay said.

The project is estimated to cost about $150,000.

Jay said his family joined Anoka United Methodist Church during World War I. He grew up at the church and remembers the days before its air conditioning was installed, when staying cool meant using hand fans and opening the stained glass windows, which he demonstrated on Tuesday.

“It’s how we grew up, it’s part of the character of the church,” he said of the windows. “We’re not ready to knock it down and built a contemporary one. We have some sentimental attachment to it.”

Average Sunday attendance is about 60, Jay said.

“For a small church I’d say we have a pretty long reach,” Frey said. “We do a lot in the community and it’s just on (U.S.) 35, just a little beacon here. A hundred-and-four years, it’s quite a tradition. The thing that is impressive to me is it’s been maintained as it was built.”

Jeanne Helvie, an Anoka UMC parishioner, lives near the church and said she enjoys getting to look at the windows on a regular basis.

“They’re most beautiful at night when something’s going on here at the sanctuary,” Helvie said.

Jim Mayhill, who was married in the church, said many others also tied the knot there and that the new couples often take pictures posing in front of the windows.

The church is seeking help with the cost of the window restoration. Donors can make tax-deductible contributions to Anoka United Methodist Church, PO Box 209, Logansport, IN 46947.

The church’s monthly breakfasts on the third Saturday of each month throughout the school year will be starting back up again soon. The next one will be 7:30-10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 16 at the church, located at 4890 E. 300 South. It will be by donation and proceeds will go to the restoration project.

With no endowment funds, Jay said in an email that the church often tackles capital projects through the generosity of its congregation and friends.

“Rather than rely on an endowment, our capital projects have been successful because of the financial support of the congregation, friends, neighbors and our extended church family,” he said.

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Source: (Logansport) Pharos-Tribune

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Information from: Pharos-Tribune, https://www.pharostribune.com

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