WALTON — A fundraising campaign is under way at the First Congregational Church to restore a dozen stained glass windows nearly 150 years old.
The windows were installed in 1881, 41 years after the church was built on its current site on Mead Street, according to trustee Charlene Gregory.
“They’re a beautiful example of stained glass,” Gregory said, noting that the windows are made from leaded glass and not painted like some later models.
“They’re in various states of disrepair,” trustee Karen Inglis said of the windows. “But you couldn’t replace them.”
Oneonta glass artist Gene Mallard is overseeing the restoration of the windows, some of which are bowing out of their frames and near collapse, Inglis said.
A few patchwork attempts at repairs have been made over the years, Inglis said, but the current initiative is the first inclusive effort to restore the windows.
The restoration of the windows coincides with a church-wide repair and renovation campaign, according to Inglis.
For a three-month period beginning Jan. 19, Sunday services will be held at 10:15 a.m. at the Christ Episcopal Church while walls are plastered and repainted and other fixtures restored, Inglis said.
The church was awarded a $14,000 grant through the New York Landmarks Conservancy’s Sacred Sites program to restore the windows, according to Gregory.
If the funds are matched through individual and family contributions, the church will meet its goal of restoring three windows by the end of the year, Gregory said.
“It costs a lot of money to keep a building this old,” Inglis said.
Organized in 1793, the congregation is the oldest in Walton and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, according to Gregory, whose family was among the founding members.
Gregory said she and her two sisters sponsored the restoration of a window in memory of their late brother, Charles, the former Walton town supervisor.
Windows may be sponsored in memory of a family member or loved one as part of the restoration campaign, Inglis said, but donations of any amount are accepted and all donors will be honored on a plaque in the church’s narthex.
“We’re used to working with small money,” Inglis said. “We’re a very small congregation.”
For more information or to donate, call Charlene Gregory at 607-865-7485.
Sarah Eames, staff writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-441-7213. Follow her @DS_SarahE on Twitter.