After many years of deliberation and debate, St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, 1229 Vt., has begun restoring its stained glass windows.
Pat Lechtenberg, a member of the church's pastoral ministry team and church interior planning committee, said she knows she is not alone in her excitement to see actual improvements.
"I would say about 100 percent of the parishioners are excited to see the work being done on the windows, since they are a particularly nice part of the church," she said.
The church has hired the Shenandoah Studios of Stained Glass Inc. of Front Royal, Va., which is currently restoring two of the church's 11 larger windows measuring 4 feet by 10 feet.
The church will restore other windows after more funds are raised, Lechtenberg said. The windows were originally installed in the church in 1925.
THE FIRST step in restoration is to remove the window sections that contain damaged glass. The whole sections then are shipped to Virginia, where Shenandoah uses up to 15 firings to adequately duplicate the original size, shape and color of the glass.
The restored window then is returned to Lawrence, where it is cleaned and reinstalled with a protective sheet of Lexan, a clear material that doesn't yellow over time, said Richard Beaty, the parish maintenance director. Beaty, who also is a member of the interior planning committee, noted that Lexan is not breakable.
Lechtenberg said it takes from three to four weeks to restore one window.
The planning committee would like to restore all of the stained glass windows in the church, she said. There are 11 large windows and about 27 windows measuring 1 feet by 3 feet.
Beaty said the total cost for restoring all of the stained glass windows is expected to be about $45,000.
LECHTENBERG said the restoration of the windows is just "one part of the big picture of deferred maintenance projects" the planning committee has on its agenda. That big slate of projects is the main reason the committee had deliberated for years whether to undertake the task of restoring the stained glass windows.
Other projects for the church, built in 1924, include repainting the church, installing new carpet, refinishing the pews, repairing plaster on the ceiling and building an addition to the church.
"All of those projects are in the planning stages. The only one we've made a decision about so far has been the stained glass windows," she said.