Historic American Fork church earns its stained glass windows
AMERICAN FORK — Workers pushed and pulled benches out of place, side-stepped wood shavings and carefully pounded their hammers as they set in place a stained glass depiction of Christ administering His sacrament.
The Community Presbyterian Church, 135-years-old and one of the oldest churches in Utah County, received four new stained glass windows on Tuesday designed by Tom Holdman Studios and Bovard Studios.
Holdman, who works out of his 10,000-square-foot building at Thanksgiving Point, is best known for his work in LDS temples, including the Palmyra New York Temple, Winter Quarters Omaha Temple, the Nauvoo Illinois Temple and Sao Paulo Brazil, among others.
But just down the road in American Fork, he plied his trade for a series of windows to bring his form of light to the Community Presbyterian Church.
"It's gonna pull the church back together," said Debra Maughan, elder for the church and a window committee member. "I think it's going to enhance and add to the whole feel. I walked in here last night and just looked at these two and nearly got tears in my eyes."
Each window features a medallion designed by Bovard Studios surrounded by work from Holdman Studios. The medallions depict the birth, baptism, last supper and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Holdman and his team incorporated symbolism in the windows with three circular pieces to represent the Father, the Son and Holy Spirit. There were also 12 other circular pieces to represent Christ's apostles.
Maughan said all the images of Christ will remind worshipers where they are and of His presence.
"If anyone gets tired and they start swaying they'll be swaying toward some scene in Jesus's life instead of (thinking about) something they have to do later," Maughan said. "They'll start thinking about the story behind (the medallion)."
The windows are four of eight in the church that were in need of replacement. Maughan said the last four windows will be replaced when the congregation has the money to do so.
She said the building is constantly being renovated to keep it up to date while preserving the historic value of the facility.
"We want to keep it healthy," she said.
Maughan said the four windows were funded by donations from church members over the years and will continue fund raising until the project is completed.
"We're going to do everything we can (first), and if we do need help we'll reach out," she said.
New carpet, a new hardwood floor stage, and a new ramp are planned in the future to make the building more wheelchair-friendly.
"It all costs in a small church," Maughan said. "It takes a long time."
Ruth Teauscher, 93, is a church elder and member of the window committee. She was teary-eyed as she watched the windows going in Tuesday.
"It brings all that you have in your heart in your eyesight," she said. "You can worship in a barren barn but this is the frosting on the cake."
Dale Broughton, a member of the church, said it's been a worthwhile project for church members and said Holdman and his team are very talented.
"It's been a labor of love for him I'm sure," he said. "He's a real artisan."
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