Sherwood United Methodist moves 55-year-old stained glass window to new facility

lgierer@ledger-enquirer.comOctober 13, 2012 

It won't be quite as large in its new home but to those who have attended Sherwood United Methodist Church through the years that won't matter.

"We just could not leave it behind," longtime member Mark McElreath said of a 55-year-old stained glass window showing Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane.

The building's only stained glass window, McElreath called it the signature of the church, a picture of it appearing on church bulletins.

It is considered so important by members that a recent merger of Sherwood with Edgewood United Methodist Church might not have happened without an agreement to transfer it.

The newly formed Living Grace United Methodist Church meets in the building at 3969 Edgewood Circle that housed Edgewood.

The Sherwood building on the corner of 17th Avenue and 35th Street, will be sold minus one stained glass window.

It was on May 5 that the first service of the new church was held.

"A stirring day," Pastor Roy White recalled.

White, in his sixth year at Edgewood, did a Sunday morning service at Sherwood for several months after the church lost its part-time pastor.

At the time of the merger, Sherwood, which once had 800 members, was down to about 45 active. Edgewood had only a little more than 100 attending on Sundays, about a fourth of its overall membership.

"This is a renewal of hope for the future," White said. "It is a revitalization for both churches."

Money from the sale of the Sherwood building will be used, White said, to "strengthen the church's outreach programs."

White is glad the window will be coming to a new home. "It was an iconic part of their facility," White said.

"The two congregations are the same DNA," McElreath, 84, a former teacher at Jordan High and Columbus Tech, remarked. "There are a lot of blue collar workers "

The window is special. It was painted by Joseph Llorens Sr. who founded Llorens Stained Glass in Atlanta in 1920. His classic works are found throughout this country and five others, as well.

The stained glass in the chapel at Callaway Gardens is his work.

Though Llorens Sr. painted the glass at Sherwood, it was installed by his son Joseph Llorens Jr. who took over the company business and ran it for 35 years.

On Oct. 4, the great grandson of Llorens Sr., Ken Hardeman, owner of Hardeman Fine Art Glass Inc., and Llorens Stained Glass Studios in Duluth, Ga., removed the window from the Sherwood building.

Hardeman said it was a thrill to work with one of his great grandfather's works.

"Very rewarding," is how he described it.

The circular window, 6-foot-7 in length and width, will be short about seven inches when it gets put into its new frame being constructed by Hardeman.

His great grandfather's signature will remain near the bottom.

McElreath said he never noticed the signature until the day the window was removed.

Hardeman removed the glass from Sherwood in two sections. He will take all 125 pieces apart to refurbish them and fix breaks with a re-leading process. The pieces will be sealed tightly together so it will be stable and then Hardeman will install it in its new home at the rear of the sanctuary in a couple of weeks.

McElreath said, "If there was some way that we could not have the original then we wanted to have a replica but nothing is like the real thing."

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