Mount Olive Lutheran Church is a 100 year old building located in a historic neighborhood in Dallas, Texas. The church served as a meeting ground for notable civil rights activists like Martin Luther King Jr. during the ’50s and ’60s, and even today, it continues to play a notable role in the community.
In May of 2016, members opened the doors of the church one morning to discover that it had been vandalized the night before. Caught on the security tapes was footage of a man throwing bricks through the church’s historic stained glass windows. A total of 18 windows were shattered around the building.
The church contacted our company to assist with the repairs. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived, much of the stained glass was missing. Someone, in a well-intentioned gesture, had swept up the broken glass and disposed of it. This made our task more difficult because there was no way for us to be able to know exactly what the windows looked like before the damage.
Essentially, key pieces of the original design were missing, quite literally. As a solution, we began to search for a photograph that would tell us what the design looked like. Any event, wedding, or gathering with the stained glass in the background would work. The pastor of the church made an announcement to the congregation, and soon we were able to obtain a photograph. Someone had taken a Polaroid snapshot of a wedding in which the stained glass was visible.
We used this photograph to recreate the design with computer aided software. The windows were brought to our workshop for the restoration. After soaking in a gentle cleansing solution, the panels were carefully taken apart. It was around this time that we encountered our second challenge.
Many of the glass pieces had been hand painted, but the details of the paintings were hard to identify from the photograph alone. Our painter had to do her best to replicate the likeness of the original imagery. We also had to make several different versions of each painted piece in order to match the colors correctly or in case one of the pieces exploded in the kiln, which is something that happens commonly with painted glass.
After making several iterations of each painted piece, we were able to match the designs and colors and put the panels back together. The leading was replaced, and all the pieces of badly damaged glass were disposed of. After a lot of work and effort, we were able to successfully restore the broken stained glass windows so the church could once again enjoy their beauty.
While this was one of the most challenging projects that we’ve ever worked on, it was also one of the most rewarding. The stained glass was important to the church both historically and sentimentally, and we were glad that we could be of assistance.
While the vandalized stained glass has been fully restored and is now protected, the Mount Olive Lutheran Church still has several historic windows that need care. If you are interested in donating to their cause and would like to help with the restoration, please contact our office. These windows are of great value historically, and any assistance that could be provided to the church would be greatly appreciated.
Bring new life and beauty to your church with Church Stained Glass Restoration from Scottish. Contact our office to speak to a designer about your project or to receive an estimate on our services.