NEW WINDSOR — Working to preserve a bit of the church's historical beauty, St. Paul's United Methodist is refurbishing the building's 95-year-old stained-glass windows.
The $50,000 project, begun in the spring of 1990, has progressed slowly as money is collected.
Only two of the 28 windows have been renovated, while another three are expected to be in place for Easter Sunday.
"The windows hadbegun to buckle," said Ruth Ridgely, the church trustee who heads the stained-glass window committee. "We began to fear that they would just come tumbling down."
Pastor Charles Acker, who took over in February, agreed.
"Some of them had buckled out as far as 4 inches,"the new pastor said. "You could see the daylight coming through them."
The church hired John Patton of the Frederick Glass Shop.
Tocorrect the problem, caused by the weight of the 15-foot windows weakening the lead that holds them together, each one must be removed and releaded at the artist's home studio. Patton also must replace someglass and repaint panes that have faded because of the southern exposure.
"We have to be careful about how we clean these," Ridgely said. "We can't just go up there with a bottle of Windex. But we have to keep them carefully dusted."
Ridgely said the major obstacle to having the windows repaired is money. The church has had a number of fund-raising drives, but now must divert money to paint the outside of the structure.
"I think when I first got into this, I thought, 'Oh, we'll get the $50,000 raised and have the job done in five or sixyears,' " she said. "Now, I don't know when we'll get done.
"Oncewe get the exterior painted, hopefully we can come back to concentrating on having the windows repaired once more."
Among the more successful fund-raisers: a member's yard sale where the 280-member congregation earned $450 by selling pies, and $3,354 received from a member who had a cattle sale.
Ridgely also has contacted descendants ofthe members who originally donated money for the windows in 1847. Current members also pledged money, most of which already has been received.
"I think our letter drive received a good, fair response," she said.
In addition, money has been received from citizens who are not members of St. Paul's.
"We have community friends who have donated money because they value the beauty of our windows," Ridgely said.