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Central Missouri church’s stained glass windows get restored

Post Time:Oct 12,2015Classify:Industry NewsView:305

ST. THOMAS, Mo. (AP) - The colorful panes of artfully-cut glass show brilliantly at night outside St. Thomas the Apostle Parish in St. Thomas.


Although the view outside is beautiful, it’s the precise storytelling of the century-old, stained glass windows that impress those who enter.

Like the other pieces of art in the sanctuary, the windows help draw people to the sacred, said the Rev. Jeremy Secrist, pastor of St. Thomas.


For the last five weeks, workers from Associated Crafts Studios, the nation’s largest stained glass company headquartered in Arizona, have been reviving the windows and ensuring their security for the next several decades.


The parish is looking ahead to its 150th anniversary in 2019, though it was founded as a mission by Father Ferdinand Helias. Before the fundraising effort to cover the repair costs of the stained glass windows, the parish had the four-bell tower secured and re-tuck-pointed.


And after this project, the parish of about 250 families will collect donations to go along with a bequest to refurbish the 1897 J. G. Pfeffer pipe organ in the balcony.


The present project included exposing hidden windows, rebuilding a few panels, replacing wooden sills, replacing exterior protective glass and adding new colored glass to windows that had only been plain white, likely as a quick fix after the tornado of 1948.


The small, rural church, built in 1883, features two Emil Frei Studios windows. The rest are by a yet-unknown artist, Secrist said.


It’s amazing poor, immigrant farmers were able to build this,” he told the Jefferson City News Tribune (http://bit.ly/1LgyyXl ).


The stained glass windows, installed about 1940, certainly are the dominant features of the church, as each scene is 5-feet-by-15-feet and few feet of plaster-covered wall in between.


Four days each week, the 87 pre-kindergarten through eighth-grade students from St. Thomas School celebrate Mass in the sanctuary, surrounded by these images.


Secrist said he tries to incorporate the visuals into his lessons.


For example, the Flight into Egypt window shows the holy family as immigrants, which ties into the recent visit to the U.S. by Pope Francis, whose major emphasis has been embracing immigration.


Each of the 12 “Munich style” windows in the nave of the church survived the 1948 tornado, which toppled the church tower and destroyed most of the buildings on campus, Secrist said. The two windows closest to the altar are attributed to the Emil Frei Studios, whereas the remaining 10 are from an unknown artistic studio.


Secrist said one of his favorites is the Jesus Christ, King of Eternal Glory by the Frei studio.

Source: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2015/oct/10/ceAuthor: shangyi

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