At the Annual Meeting in January, 1995, committee leaders were asked this question: "What are your dreams for our church within the next five years? " A long list was compiled. The Liturgical Guild, organized by Gay Sorensen, ranked stained glass windows as a high priority. One month later eight people met to discuss the possibilities of designing and building windows with Biblical themes. This ambitious project became a reality masterminded by Gay, a woman who dreams big dreams and engineers them to completion with God's help.
First, ideas were exchanged. Next, Gay created many watercolor designs, often making changes as suggested warranted. Then decisions were made for work rooms, racks for storage of glass, lead came, rebar and zinc framing. Two tables four feet by six feet were constructed. The final watercolor designs for six sanctuary windows were presented to the Session in June, 1995, with the Cross as the main theme. Throughout the summer, Gay enlarges these designs, free hand, to a size of forty three inches by fifty nine inches. Each pattern piece was designed so that the glass could be cut exact to that shape. Seed money was donated for materials throughout the Spring without requesting funding from the congregation.
Thousands of pounds of supplies were purchased requiring monumental decisions of color, size, texture, quantity, and quality. A bus and van transported everything a distance of two hundred miles, loaded and unloaded by volunteers. Glass was then sorted, labeled, and stored. Organization was crucial.
By October, 1995, full production of the windows began with a few dedicated people. Additional volunteers traced and and cut paper patterns, cut glass, fitted came, and cleaned the finished windows. The first window was completed within three months and in place by Christmas. The initial window became a motivational force and the six windows evolved into eighteen with an average time of one or two months for completion.
"Trends of the Chimes ", the church newsletter, reported monthly the progress of the stained glass window committee. Within several months all the windows had been purchased by the members, either to glorify God, or in memory/honor of family and friends.
By the end of 1996, the committee started the Chancel window which measured sixteen feet by seventeen feet. After approval of the design, it became the greatest engineering challenge; a window of twenty stained glass section.
Three mornings each week, volunteers continued tracing and organizing pattern pieces into large envelopes. Additional volunteers cut and fit glass, built two windows simultaneously, while a third was puttied and cleaned. An opening four feet by four feet was cut through the outside wall of the Chancel. Glass blocks were inserted allowing for God's light at the apex of the cross. Installation of fluorescent lighting, with dimmer controls, enhanced the beauty of the windows. After only six months the massive free standing open book was secured in place behind the permanently suspended wooden cross. Easter 1997, with gratitude and thanksgiving, we rejoiced.
Work continued two mornings each week concentrating on four Narthex doors. At the same time three Chapel windows were also being constructed with a theme Sky, Earth, and Sea - "and God saw that it was good. " Following that, the Good Shepard window, in the library, and the Ninth Presbyterian Confessional Banner window were completed.
The final project was a gift to the children of the church. Two windows were installed in the Youth Hall, one depicting Noah's Ark, the other Jesus with Children.
After twenty seven months and thousands of volunteers hours, we were most grateful to God for continued strength permitting us to accomplished our goal. January, 1998, only three years after the idea, presented as a dream, the windows became a reality. May these eighteen stained glass windows now serve as a reminder for generations to come that with God all things are possible.