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Madrid church’s window restored


MADRID — The Rev. Helen M. Beck stood at the back of the United Church of Madrid one morning last week and looked up at the floor-to-ceiling stained-glass window — the restored 94-year-old, floor-to-ceiling stained-glass window.

“It’s a big difference from what it was,” the pastor said.

What it was was cracked, faded, punctured by BB pellets and in need of what would become the Good Shepherd Window Restoration. Begun last October with a from-the-top, piece-by-piece removal of all 36 of the window’s panels, the process ended May 19, when the last panel — cleaned, polished and as good as 1918 new — was reinstalled.

The Rev. Ms. Beck, who will celebrate her third year with this 129-member parish in July, was taken aback.

“I am moved by the beauty of this window and the history that it represents,” she said. “This window is a masterpiece, and the fine restorative work has brought it back to its original beauty as well as preserving it for generations to come. The colors are just spectacular, and they actually change throughout the day, depending on where the sun is.”

The restored window will be celebrated with a party at 1 p.m. June 3 at the church, 6 Church St. Also to be noted that day are the church’s state and national Registers of Historic Places status and the 175th anniversary of Methodist tradition in Madrid.

But don’t ask the Rev. Ms. Beck to pick or choose a favorite among those honors.

“For me, I think these honors are all part of the same thing, in a way,” she said. “It highlights the presence of the church in our community as a place that is sacred, accessible, welcoming and beautiful inside and out. And it gives us the chance to say that the church is more than a building.”

The $35,000 restoration was done by father-and-son team Edward and Jason Dehors of Historical Restorations Foundation, Martville. A $5,000 New York Landmarks Conservancy grant and $32,000 in donations paid for the work.

Congregation President Sharon D. Wise said she was touched by the donations.

“The generosity of the community was overwhelming,” she said. “We originally thought that it would take a lot longer, with the economy working against us. The end result is spectacular.”

“We had only one actual fundraiser,” the Rev. Ms. Beck said. “As pastor of this fine congregation, I am proud and pleased by how smoothly this process went.”

The window was created by Ogdensburg stained-glass artist Harry J. Horwood. In fact, his 1918 “HJ Horwood” signature graces the top of the 17-foot-high window.

“Horwood rarely signed his windows,” the Rev. Ms. Beck said. “The fact that it is disguised in the words of the Bible way up high where you would have to know it was there in order to find it makes it that much more of a treasure.”

There is another Horwood family connection to the window: Mr. Horwood’s great-granddaughter Betty Oves, of Arizona, was a donor to the restoration cause.

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