River He­bert church saves a piece of its past

Stained glass win­dow res­cued from de­mo­li­tion

The Citizen-Record (Cumberland) - - CUMBERLAND COUNTY - BY AN­DREW WAGSTAFF THE CIT­I­ZEN-RECORD RIVER HE­BERT awagstaff@cit­i­zen­record.ca Twit­ter: @ADNan­drew

The for­mer Trin­ity United Church may be gone, but the con­gre­ga­tion has made sure a piece of it will live on.

The stained glass win­dow from the old church, which was made and in­stalled in 1925, has been re­stored and added to the cur­rent River He­bert-Jog­gins United Church on the same property, which was for­merly the church hall.

The win­dow in­cludes the names of those from the church who served in the First World War, some of whom did not re­turn, and pre­serv­ing that win­dow was im­por­tant to the mem­ber­ship, ac­cord­ing to mem­ber Alan Lin­klet­ter.

“It was a hope, but be­cause of the state of the win­dow, we weren’t sure if it was go­ing to be pos­si­ble,” he said. The win­dow had been in the church’s back ex­te­rior wall, exposed to the sun for more than 90 years, and had de­vel­oped a two-inch wave that Lin­klet­ter compared to a “piece of pasta.”

He turned to Neil Delaney of Amherst, who has re­stored sim­i­lar windows in the past, and Delaney agreed to take on the job.

“Neil ex­plained to me that the UV from the sun had re­ally de­te­ri­o­rated it, and it had a real wave, so we were afraid it was go­ing to get broke into pieces when we tried to re­move it from the other build­ing,” said Lin­klet­ter. “But we just felt, be­cause of the sig­nif­i­cance and be­cause of what it rep­re­sents ... it’s also a memorial and keep­sake for our church and com­mu­nity for fu­ture gen­er­a­tions.”

Stand­ing at nine-and-a-half feet, and four feet wide, the 1,500-pound win­dow was lifted out with an ex­ca­va­tor prior to the build­ing’s de­mo­li­tion last June. It was then laid on the ground nearby, a sight that hor­ri­fied Delaney when he ar­rived on the scene.

“When I saw it lay­ing on the ground, I was ready to turn around and go back home,” he said. “I was more than up­set. That’s an ex­pen­sive win­dow. You can’t re­place it.”

Delaney worked on the win­dow with his friend Robert Mills from June un­til Oc­to­ber. Nine breaks were re­paired, and the wave in the glass was re­moved. The orig­i­nal wooden frame of the win­dow was pre­served, while ad­di­tional wood­work was built to sup­port its weight in­side the sanc­tu­ary of the cur­rent church.

The big­gest chal­lenge was the dif­fer­ent thick­nesses of glass, ac­cord­ing to Delaney, who worked to pre­serve its value as an an­tique.

“This win­dow is orig­i­nal, and the only thing new is lead came and putty,” he said. “In or­der to keep its an­tique value, I just ce­mented the glass (breaks) back to­gether. If I had taken a piece of bro­ken glass out and re­placed it with mod­ern glass from to­day, the an­tique value would be less.”

The end re­sult has been well re­ceived by the con­gre­ga­tion and com­mu­nity, as it stands in a back­lit win­dow shadow box. It catches the eye of any­one who walks into the sanc­tu­ary, es­pe­cially when its new LED light­ing is turned on, a feature that gives the ap­pear­ance of nat­u­ral sun­light coming through the painted bot­tle glass of the win­dow.

“Peo­ple were pretty up­set when we took the church down, but by sav­ing this win­dow it’s re­ally put ev­ery­body at ease,” said or­gan­ist Jim Scopie. “If you asked peo­ple be­fore the church went down, they said save that win­dow. We never thought we’d even have the money to do it.”

The cost of the project was $6,100.

The church will present a Cel­e­bra­tion Hymn Sing on Sun­day, May 28, at 7 p.m. as a cel­e­bra­tion of loved ones both liv­ing and de­parted.

AN­DREW WAGSTAFF/THE CIT­I­ZEN-RECORD

Neil Delaney (left) and Alan Lin­klet­ter with the stained glass win­dow from Trin­ity United Church, now pre­served at the River He­bert-Jog­gins United Church in River He­bert af­ter a suc­cess­ful restora­tion project.

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