CLARKSVILLE – Each of the circular symbols in the middle of the stained glass windows at Clarksville United Methodist Church represent deep layers of meaning: allusions to millennia of Christian tradition and Biblical parables.
They formed the theme for the Rev. Art Moore’s remarks Sunday at an event rededicating the windows. The windows had been threatened by more than a century of wear and tear.
Moore acknowledged that he could not account for the entire meaning of even one of the roundels in the time allotted Sunday. Thanks to the work of his congregation, future generations of worshipers should have another century to plumb those depths.
The current home of the United Methodist Church was dedicated in 1908 (the windows were installed shortly after the building was completed). The day of the dedication Bishop H.C. Morrison disclosed that the ceremony would not go forward until the $1,000 in debt still assigned to the church was paid off by the 750 people in attendance.
Saturday’s re-dedication of the church’s grand stained glass windows featured no such hard sell.
It had been a daunting challenge for the small congregation to preserve the windows, which ultimately cost $80,000.
That building program — building, window and lot included — had cost $9,500.
The repair process had sometimes been nerve-wracking. Moore remembered being chased out of the room by the terrifying sounds produced as the crew worked on the northern window.
“We had to repair the bottom sill, and to do that we had to jack the window up. There was a lot creaking and popping — more than he was comfortable with,” Greg Mowery, of Art Glass Unlimited, told those gathered for the re-dedication.
At other points, the repairs seemed meant to be. They needed a particularly hard piece of wood to complete the repairs on the north-facing window. At a hardware store in Louisiana they found a piece of wood that had, they were told, been sitting there for 13 years.
“He was able to get that piece of wood, and bring it down there, and it fit right where it was supposed to go.” Moore said.