Over the years that we’ve been restoring church stained glass windows, we’ve gained a deeper understanding of how churches are connected to their community. In addition to their religious work, churches provide important services like education, public health services, charitable services such as clothing drives and food supply. They do this all without asking anything in return. Continue reading »
Why Is There Stained Glass in Churches?August 29, 2019 in Aggrigate, Church And Religious Stained Glass
There is no denying that stained glass is lovely. From the towering windows of Notre Dame Cathedral to small windows on scores of local churches across the nation–stained glass is simply a delight to church members and communities. They have been delighting congregations for more than a thousand years. In fact, they span generations and denominations alike. Regardless of people’s beliefs from church to church, one fact that most agree on is–stained glass windows are simply enchanting. But why do churches have stained glass–beyond simply beauty. Is there something more to these pieces beyond artistic value? Why are they such a ubiquitous part of cathedrals and chapels across the US? As it were, there are actually a few reasons why stained glass is so prevalent in churches. Today we will highlight the two most prominent ones–spiritual and practical.
The Christian Religion’s Relationship With Light
In the Christian religion, there has always been a special relationship with light. Stained glass in churches clearly represents this. In fact, it allows for the use of light in a particularly ethereal way. It is understandable then, that churches from Methodists to Catholic appreciate the play of light combined with the iconography so important to them. In Genesis, God’s first words were “‘Let there be light” (Genesis 1:3-4) With this type of reference to light so early in such a sacred book, it is easy to see why Christian churches would embrace light through stained glass. And accordingly, spend much time and energy developing a church feature that perfectly embodies God first gift to man. Stained glass windows in churches shine light into an otherwise dark interior, it casts out shadows and brings relief. Not unlike the God of Genesis. There is no doubt that early architects wanted light through the lovely ornate windows of old to play out much like it did in the Bible. They saw stained glass as a perfect way to highlight the spiritual truth of light while at the same time being functional. Ostensibly this happened over 1000 years ago, as, the oldest surviving stained glass window is found in the Augsburg Cathedral in Germany and was built in the 11th century. Since those days stained glass windows in churches have changed significantly. However, embracing the proverbial light of God has not. In fact, stained glass windows evolved in their relationship with the church over time to become more than just spiritually significant but practical as well. Eventually, these windows began to not only served as a representation of the light of God but as a critical teaching tool as well.
Stained Glass Symbolism As A Teaching Tools
During medieval times, stained glass windows were the primary way to teach the poor about God. During this period, the masses were illiterate. Everybody lacked access to biblical stories in written form, save the rich and clergy. Bible stories were, therefore, easier to recount through the glass itself rather than books. It was more accessible and easier for the poor to understand. If fact, in some larger church windows almost all the important stories from the books of Genesis to Revelations played out in glass. Soon the saints too appeared on windows and helped inspire both the poor and rich struggling on their Christian journey. They lent hope to the hopeless in their time of need in a most lovely way. The stained glass and the light dancing light were the perfect primers for the Christian religion. As cathedrals grew in size and technology so too did the depth of the symbolism contained in the stained glass. The new colors achieved through evolving chemistry appeared on the windows and were given deep meaning. Read the list of the various ways colors and symbols came to have meaning on stained glass over time.
Stained Glass Symbolism Explained
- Jesus: Represented by Lifelike images; cross; lamb; a shepherd
- Holy Spirit: Represented by a flame; wind; a white dove
- The Saints: Represented by an image of the man or woman; the name of the saint; the way the saint was martyred
- Virgin Mary: Often depicted wearing blue robes; on her own or with her son
- Black: Death
- Blue: Heavenly Love, Virgin
- Brown: Death
- Grey: Mourning, Humility
- Green: Spring, Charity, Life over death
- Purple: Royalty God The Father
- Red: Love, Hate, Martyred
- Violet: Love, Truth, Passion, Suffering
- White/Gold: Innocence, Holiness
- Yellow: Jealousy, Treason, Deceit
Why Stained Glass In Modern Churches?
Obviously, times have changed quite significantly since stained glass began adorning churches. Today most churchgoers here in the US can ready and don’t need stained glass to guide the way. However, stained glass on churches still remains revered and important. Beyond the Christian religion–many religions have come to embrace these lovely works of art. Today, rather than being a teaching tool for this generation, stained glass has become a way to preserve history for the next generation. Because today’s church stained glass has significant historical value. Furthermore, while still useful for conveying religious themes–it also has become very valuable secular art. Every window of every church here in the US has significant historical value since it was made in an era of what could be considered the last frontier. Furthermore, churches today often use stained glass windows to honor beloved family and patrons–making it valuable on a personal level. For these reasons, although stained glass in chapels and churches has changed over time, it is just as important today as it was 1000 years ago. It is an incredible asset for any church to preserve and restore when necessary.
Beautiful Examples of Stained Glass Throughout EuropeApril 27, 2019 in Church And Religious Stained Glass
Today, stained glass windows can be found across the United States, in churches, temples, and even people’s homes. But before stained glass ever became a common feature in American architecture, it found its beginnings way overseas, and grew in popularity in Europe. In fact, a set of what are believed to be the oldest stained glass windows existing today are from an old English monastery called Jarrow.
From these humble beginnings, stained glass blossomed as an art form and soon became commonplace. Today, stained glass windows can be found in numerous historic churches in Europe, many of which are considered to be masterpieces. Below, we’ve described a few of our favorite stained glass windows in Europe churches and buildings.
Five Gorgeous Stained Glass Churches to Add To Your Travel Bucket ListApril 16, 2019 in Aggrigate, Church And Religious Stained Glass
Churches have always used stained glass throughout history in an effort to teach the illiterate about the Bible. This tradition has lead to some of the most impressive historical stained glass pieces that truly are pieces of art. For art lovers and stained glass enthusiasts alike, traveling around the world to see these features in person can definitely be tempting. Our top five gorgeous stained glass churches on our bucket list should definitely be considered for your travel bucket list.
Inspiring Religious Stained Glass from Around the World
Sainte-Chapelle in Paris has 15 Gothic-style stained glass windows that are each about 50 feet in height. 1113 individual stained glass panels make up these 15 windows offering intricate detail work, each depicting a different scene from the New and Old Testaments. King’s College Chapel located in the University of Cambridge has incredible narrative stained glass windows. With religious and royal motifs, these stained glass windows deliver an inspiring look for the advancements of England’s Gothic art movement. The Nasir al-Mulk Mosque, also known as the Pink Mosque, located in Shiraz, Iran is one of our favorites– with beautiful, symmetric stained glass throughout its facades, the brilliant colors are truly breathtaking. The vivid colors enhance the interior’s rose-colored tiles and Persian carpets. La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona has multicolor stained glass windows that range in rainbows and grand aesthetics. The Thanks-Giving Square is a non-denominal church that features a beautiful seashell shaped stained glass window filled with vibrant colors.
Preserving Your Church’s Stained Glass Windows
Church Stained Glass Restoration is honored to deliver our renowned restoration process for properly preserving your church’s stained glass windows. Our vision is to protect these works of art so that future generations can appreciate them as well.
For more information regarding religious stained glass restoration for your church, please contact us!
The History Of Stained Glass In The United StatesApril 10, 2019 in Aggrigate, Church And Religious Stained Glass
The Beginnings Of Stained Glass In The US
The US was relatively late to the stained glass game–given that settlers from Europe got here in the 1600s and stained was “invented” somewhere around 1000 AD. However, this artform permeates the American church culture and is a prominent feature on many homes to this day.
The Beginning Of Stained Glass In The US
The first stained glass production was actually set up almost immediately in Jamestown shortly after settlement in 1607. The reason for this? Wood in England was running out. And in order to make stained glass windows like those in churches all across Europe, incredibly hot furnaces fueled by wood were. Here in the Americas, there was plenty of wood, therefore, stained glass manufacturing made good sense as new world trade. Many workshops were built, one of which was set up by Jan Smeedes, in 1679, in Lower Manhattan where made roundels. Another was William Gibson, who was labeled the “Father of Painted Glass.”
However, the Puritans rejected the religious imagery of the Churches of England, so almost no glass is left from the colonial times –as much more was exported than created for churches here in the US. In fact, less than 1% of the Nation’s stained and leaded glass predates 1700.
However, the 1700s is what is called the golden age of stained glass in Europe and by the early 1800s an intense interest in the craft arose again in and production began to increase steadily throughout the century. The most significant early stained glass piece in America was by John and William Jay Bolton between 1843 and 1848, called St. Ann and the Holy Trinity.
The Age of Stained Glass In The US
The 19th and 20th century gave rise to the incredible breadth of stained glass we see on churches and homes across the country, with notable contributions by
Louis Comfort Tiffany: Known for his designs of richly colored works of glass in the art nouveau style and also a type of iridescent glass called Favrile.
Frank Lloyd Wright: A pioneer of geometric representations of natural motifs and use of angled glass.
While the “great age of stained glass” has ended, there are still many, many remaining stained glass windows remain all over the country today. It is this rich history of stained glass in the US that we here at Church Stained Glass Restoration work to preserve everyday. If you have a vintage stained glass window in your church that you would like us to inspect for restoration, reach out to us today to schedule a consultation.
3 Things To Consider Before Having Your Church Stained Glass RestoredMarch 22, 2019 in Aggrigate, Church And Religious Stained Glass
Stained Glass Restoration Tips for Churches
You may have noticed many beautiful churches across the country whose original stained glass windows have succumbed to age and the elements. At the 80-100 year mark, even the best stained glass from the early 20th century begins to disintegrate. These fragile glass panels are too easily broken or cracked by harsh weather, frames bow over time, and the leading begins to sag noticeably. But, as technology and expertise have advanced over time, we can now restore these crumbling monuments for another 150-200 years. This is no small feat, and we invite you to investigate how to move ahead.
What Will Your Church Stained Glass Restoration Cost?
Church stained glass restoration is delicate work, and can quickly run into the thousands. But, the splendor restored to the church not only serves as a blessing to the congregants but preserves and draws attention to the rich historical context that surrounds that church. When contemplating if a stained glass restoration project is right for your church, a thorough estimate is a necessity.
How Long WIll The Restoration Take?
We at Church Stained Glass Restoration understand very well the time and expertise required to completely and beautifully rejuvenate your stained glass treasures. Please understand, that there’s no royal road to accomplish this! One should consider that the repairs will take time, so please think about how temporary windows that could be in place for several months might affect daily routines. We just want to you to be fully prepared with a complete estimate that truthfully includes the “down-time” while your stained glass windows are restored.
How Will Your Church Raise Funds For Restoration?
If the windows are badly in need of repair, large, or many, the costs for such a project can grow pretty rapidly. An open discussion with your congregation can be a fruitful place for fundraising ideas! At Church Stained Glass Restoration, not only have we done impeccable work for many satisfied clients, but we have been fortunate enough to work with several churches on their own fundraising efforts. We’d love to share our ideas with you!
The processing can seem daunting and technical, but please reach out to us with any questions big or small, at Church Stained Glass Restoration can help your church recapture its due glory!
Exploring Tradition: Why Do Churches Have Stained Glass Windows?February 26, 2019 in Church And Religious Stained Glass
You have stained glass windows in your church, your congregation is not only blessed with a beautiful piece of art, but also an important part of history. Stained glass windows have been a traditional part of church architecture for decades and continue to be incorporated into modern church designs today.
But where did worshipers get the idea to add stained glass to churches in the first place? How come stained glass windows show up in churches more often than another type of building?
An examination of the history of church stained glass shows us that these traditional works of art were used for more than just aesthetics. Stained glass windows had a very practical role in the church and continue to do so today.
Stained Glass Restoration Highlight: Bethel A.M.E.February 15, 2019 in Aggrigate, Church And Religious Stained Glass
What Church Stained Glass Restoration Does For A Community
The fact of the matter is, Church stained glass restoration can be an expensive undergoing. But it is very important to note that these types of revitalizations are critical to the history of American churches of any denomination and a way to breathe new life into congregations. They are, in addition, simply a joy to parishioners. So, for churches across the country with history and love for their chapel, stained glass restoration should be a very real consideration.
A Stained Glass Restoration Rich In History And Love
A perfect example of how amazing stained glass restoration is for churches and their members is can be seen by the sanctuary restoration of Bethel A.M.E. Church, located in Huntington in NY. This charming historic church has the distinction of being Huntington, NY’s oldest African American church and that carries with it deep historical and a fair amount of sentimental significance too; both for the area and for the African American community. The project cost about $50,000 and took two years to complete. However, as the parishioners discovered, it carried deep meaning as they ended up feeling like they had directly contributed to preserving more than just their windows but their culture too. In the end, they got the windows they cherished back into stunning shape while at the same time paying homage to bygone parishioners who had put so much into founding the church and installing the original stained glass windows.
The Deterioration Of The Stained Glass Windows And What To Do
As you can see from the pictures, the stained glass windows in the sanctuary at Bethel A.M.E. were simple but lovely. They are prime examples of the 1920s era, as they were constructed in 1924. Over the years the condition of the stained glass windows had deteriorated to the point that in 2016, Rev Larry D Jennings made a decision to rescue them from their broken down state. He did this not only because the window really needed it but because he and his church body understood the history, culture and artistic value of them. It was also, as they saw it, a good way to respect the church members of the past who likely sacrifice for them to be installed.
How To Pay For The Church Stained Glass Restoration
Stained glass restoration can be an expensive undertaking, as well as finding funds a challenge. But as Bethel A.M.E discovered–very much not impossible and definitely well worth it. In their case, a town historian, Robert Hughes found grants from the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation for $20,000, them the Sacred Sites program of the New York Landmarks Conservancy for $10,000; and finally The Gerry Charitable Trust for $5,000. The rest of the costs were covered by the congregation members donating money themselves and results are clearly inspiring.
Stained Glass Restoration Guide And Pricing
If you have a church anywhere across the USA with old stained glass windows that your church members just love, perhaps it is time to consider having them restored as a way to breath new life into them and your congregation. Here at Church Stained Glass Restoration, we work on churches all across the country and we will guide you through the process, costs, and even fundraising too. Contact us today for more information and for a free consultation/stained glass inspection.
Stained Glass Restoration And Your Churches Aging Stained GlassJanuary 29, 2019 in Aggrigate, Church And Religious Stained Glass
Why Most Church Stained Glass Today Is In Need Of Repair
The world’s stained glass is rapidly declining and, as such, stained glass window restoration is becoming a popular avenue for churches to take. It is also necessary if there is any hope of preserving these wonderful pieces of history since much of this country’s religious stained glass has been exposed to the elements for over 100 years–, at which age deterioration forces repairs and restorations.
How Do I Know What Restoration My Churches Stained Glass Needs?
The best way to fully understand what type of repairs and restoration your church needs is to call a professional, like us at Church Stained Glass Restoration and have them inspect your window. After our inspections, we will be able to you tell which parts of the frame needs to replacing, which glass pieces of glass need repairs and which others may just need to be replaced. We will also examine the protective glazing system (if applicable) and take pictures of our findings.
The Evaluation And Bids On Church Stained Glass Repair
After we examine your church we will write up a thorough bid that details the time and cost for items like replacement of broken glass, fixing loose braces, cleaning glass in place and removing glass for repair in our studio. We will also give you a very accurate idea of how long the repairs will take in light of your individual scope.
What Happens At Our Stained Glass Studio
When we do need to take glass into our studio the windows are carefully removed from their framing, carefully wrapped and transported to our for restoration. Here the panels are disassembled, lead is removed and recycled and every glass piece is skillfully cleaned and repaired. The glass is then returned to your church and delicately installed back into position–looking as lovely as did 100 years ago!
If restoring your church’s stained glass is something you are interested in, please reach out to us at Church Stained Glass Restoration today! We have stained glass locations across the US and would be happy to bid on your upcoming project.
Texas Churches That Stained Glass Enthusiasts Will LoveNovember 5, 2018 in Church And Religious Stained Glass
For centuries, stained glass has been the dominating art form used in religious architecture. Since Early Egyptian times, humankind has used colored glass to bring beauty and elegance to religious settings. As attendees of morning mass and religious ceremonies stand beneath the vibrant, light reflecting windows, they are filled with a sense of wonder and inspiration. Just seeing the stained glass itself is almost a spiritual experience.
Today, beautiful stained glass windows adorn churches and cathedrals across the globe. Notable works include Sainte-Chapelle, Notre Dame de Paris, La Sagrada Familia, and more. But you don’t have to go far to see beautiful stained glass. In fact, there are many churches in the United States that have breathtaking stained glass windows.
If you’re a fan of stained glass or a church that’s seeking inspiration you’ll love these Texas churches with stained glass windows.