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Posts Tagged ‘sanctuary restoration’

Story by Jeannie Dortch. Photographs by Dean Hawthorne.

I have always been drawn to the stained glass windows in our sanctuary.  Everything about them intrigues me, from the decorative and colorful Doric Greek designs that surround them to the stories behind their creation and the scriptures chosen to accompany each one. Dr. Theodore F. Adams spearheaded the window project in the late 1940s, his vision inspired by Psalm 90:17, “Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of thy hands.”

Establish the work of our hands.
For close to seventy years, the stained glass windows on the east and west of our sanctuary have illuminated the story of Christ’s life and of His modern church. The upper windows follow Jesus from the prophecies of His birth to His ascension while the lower panels correlate with the windows above them to reflect how present-day worshipers live out Christ’s example.

Efforts are underway to refurbish these 26 windows. Since their installation, there has never been any regularly scheduled maintenance. The Premises Team has determined the windows have thermal and structural deterioration that needs to be addressed. With the restoration of the sanctuary complete, the need to protect the stained glass windows for generations to come has become paramount.

Given the significance of these windows to our Church, an opportunity has arisen to help offset the expense of this preservation. If the window repairs are funded through the capital expense budget, the project will have to be completed over two to three years. But, if the congregation underwrites the preservation, it can be finished sooner, will cost less, and the capital budget can be used for many other identified capital needs.

A committee has been commissioned by the deacons to encourage the congregation to sponsor the restoration of a window by an individual, family, Sunday school class, or other group. The restoration may be in memory or honor of a loved one, special person or group. The price to refurbish each of the 26 windows is $7,500, a goodly sum to be sure, but contributions of smaller amounts are encouraged and will be gratefully received.

A plaque commemorating and recognizing the donor and honoree of each restored window will be placed beside the original giver’s designation under each window. For those who contribute smaller amounts towards the restoration, a congregational designation will appear on the plaque next to the original. When the windows are rededicated, all donor names will appear in that day’s bulletin.

window detail

Window within a window: This detail cleverly depicts the artisans who crafted The Work of Our Hands window for our sanctuary.

Author’s notes: Detailed information and a submission form are in flyers on the church kiosks. Requests for a particular window will be handled on a first come, first served basis. Checks payable to FBC with “Window Preservation” on the memo line can be put in the offering plate or mailed to FBC, 2709 Monument Avenue, Richmond, VA 23220. To make other payment arrangements or ask questions, contact Becky Wills in the Finance Office, 804-355-8637, ext. 152.

Photographs and brief descriptions of all the sanctuary windows are in the Memorial Windows booklet written by Dr. Adams and available in the church library. Additional information for some of the windows is found in First Things First.

Windows Restoration Committee: Nancy Chewning, Virginia Darnell, Jeannie Dortch, Paul Kreckman, Richard Szucs and Charles Tilley.

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Photos by Paul Bickford, Susan Brown, Janet Chase, Win Grant and Jess Ward.

Worship is what we’re here for. In worship we acknowledge Who’s in charge and who isn’t, what’s important and what can wait. We give thanks and we praise and we intercede. We sing of God’s glory and blessings. We read the stories of God’s saving presence. We tie up the loose ends of last week and prepare for the next. In worship we seek our truest selves. Worship is the center of our lives, whether in a cathedral or a country church, under a tree – or in a gymnasium.

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While we’re worshipping in the Gym, here’s what’s been happening in the Sanctuary.

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By Charles Tilley. Photos by Janet Chase and Allen Cumbia.

calloutThe Sanctuary of Richmond’s First Baptist Church serves as space for more than 200 events annually, including worship services, weddings, funerals, preschool services, community gatherings, and concerts. Approximately 50,000 people attend these events during an average year.

This amount of use has taken a toll on the Sanctuary’s interior finishes. Cracked plaster, peeling paint, and worn carpet and pew cushions are all signs of the need for a makeover.

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This summer the 20-year-old paint job and three decades-old carpet will be two of the most visible improvements. Other maintenance items and related tasks will be addressed in this comprehensive improvements project. A team of FBC lay and staff, including architects and members of the facilities, worship and media teams, has identified the following items in the Sanctuary and Narthex for maintenance, renovation or upgrade:

  • plaster patching and painting of all walls and ceiling surfaces;
  • minor refinishing of wood surfaces – balcony rail, pews, pulpit furniture, etc.;
  • replacement of pew cushions and choir loft chair repair and fabric replacement;
    floor finish replacement – replacement of carpet in aisles only;
  • porcelain tile under the pews on the first floor and resilient tile under the balcony pews;
  • lighting – improvements particularly under the balcony and in the Narthex;
  • installation of a hearing aid loop that will provide wireless, assisted-listening capability;
  • slate roof maintenance (some of the interior finish issues have been due to roof leaks).

The general contractor will prepare the final cost estimates during early May. Work will begin on June 2, with a proposed completion date of August 22. During these summer months, FBC’s congregation will worship in the gymnasium. This transition will be overseen by the FBC worship and facilities teams.

The Sanctuary restoration is underwritten by the FBC Endowment Fund. This gift from the Endowment is its contribution to and endorsement of a Capital Campaign expected to begin in 2015. With the Campaign’s first step taken through this restoration, FBC members will then participate through time and financial contributions to the remainder of the projects.

Sanctuary Restoration Team members: Allen Cumbia, Jeff Dortch, Bill Hundley, Mark Larson, Bill Loving, Phil Mitchell, Richard Szucs, Charles Tilley, Lu Treadwell, Lynn Turner, and Bonnie Wilmoth.


CCharles Tilleyharles Tilley teaches 9th grade Youth Two Sunday school, serves as a deacon, and is on the Sanctuary Restoration Team. He and his wife, Gwen, have three daughters, Emma, Virginia and Mae.

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