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First Presbyterian Church finishes restoring stained glass windows

Rev. Joel Alvis talks about window restoration

First Presbyterian Church in Columbus, Ga. has had windows dating back to 1892 restored.
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First Presbyterian Church in Columbus, Ga. has had windows dating back to 1892 restored.

The Rev. Joel Alvis says the stained glass windows at First Presbyterian Church in Columbus bring “light and excitement to the worship experience.”

And now they will do more so than they have for many years.

Sunday, the church will be rededicating 24 windows that have been beautifully restored at the sanctuary on First Avenue.

The interim pastor said this will be done at both the 8:45 a.m. and 11 a.m. services and the public is invited.

“This will really allow the wonderful colors to shine forth and be a reminder to people of the wonder and beauty of God’s creation,” Alvis said.

The windows date back to 1892. Alvis said there was a church fire around that time and workers recently found charred wood during the work.

The project, with a price tag of approximately $650,000, began with the removal of some windows on Aug. 8, 2016.

The restoration of the windows was done in Virginia by Lynchburg Stained Glass, which was chosen from four contractors who bid on the project. C&C Painting from Cordele, Ga., did repairs on the window framing and seals including painting.

The idea for the project goes back to 2009 when a renovation was being done at the church.

“This has been a long time in the making,” Alvis said.

He added that the glass not only improves the appearance of the building for congregants, but also enhance the area downtown.

“It will brighten up our little corner,” he said.

He said there was not much disruption during the process, but the church members are excited about the work being finished.

“The work needed to be done. The windows were too vulnerable,” Alvis said.

When the work began, the church’s facilities manager Joe Addison said, “we want to make sure these windows last for another 100 years.”

He said a couple of windows cracked during the work but are in fine shape now.

Crews disassembled the windows down to each individual pane of glass. According to Addison, the team had to dislodge the glass from the came, a divider bar used between small pieces of glass to make a larger panel, and the lead that has held it in place for more than a century. Once removed, the glass was cleaned of cements, lead, oils and other materials.

The glass was reassembled to their original beauty.

A protective storm-style window was installed in addition to the windows. The protective shield is clear and vented to provide a protection against damage. It is vented so moisture will not build between the two, thereby causing premature deterioration. This will enhance the appearance and beauty as the glass will allow the true colors and designs to be seen from outside as well as inside.

Formerly, a cloudy plexiglass shield currently covered the windows, hiding the vibrancy of the colors.

“We are thrilled this is done and hope others will come Sunday and join us in the celebration,” Alvis said.

Larry Gierer: 706-571-8581, @lagierer

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