EDMOND, Okla. (KFOR) – When Will Hodges first walked through the doors of First United Methodist Church, he had no idea the late morning, colored light glancing off the vaulted wood beams would have the kind of power to settle he and his family the way it did.
“It was kind of a familiar feeling in an unfamiliar place,” he says. “You really don’t realize how much of an impression that makes, or how many memories you have until you get reintroduced to it.”
A church is, of course, is made of its people, but it was another generation of people here, many of them still enshrined in plaques beneath these magnificent windows, who made a sacrifice to re-build the church less than two years after a fire destroyed it in 1927.
Hodges says, “We still have a lot of folks who know the names on those plaques. Their legacy is still strong.”
For more than 90 years, the stained glass did more than just keep the weather out.
They told their own story, as well as the Bible’s, in resplendent rainbow colors.
The idea of replacing them versus restoring them hardly seemed worth the discussion.
“From the initial meeting,” he recalls, “We knew within a week the way that we were going to go.”
In early summer, 2023, the first of 23 windows, the ones that had faced the worst of Oklahoma weather, came out.
They didn’t go far though, just a few miles where Tim Brown and his Artistic Glass Studio started what might be a two-year effort, first removing old lead and putty from around the stained-glass pieces.
Brown explains, “Once we get finished with this (the deconstruction), we’ll clean every piece of glass.”
As he works, he can see the same craftsmanship of long-gone artisans. The tools themselves haven’t changed in a thousand years.
“You can tell window to window,” who made it, he insists.
Seeing the light, through the pane.
How many generations of worshipers sat in the pews at First Methodist and looked up for inspiration?
As many as there are pieces of glass? Maybe.
But when combined and preserved, they will still create a complete picture.
For more information on First Methodist Church of Edmond or the campaign to restore their stained glass windows, go to their website.
Great State is sponsored by Oklahoma Proton Center