Thursday, January 14, 2010

First United Methodist, Helena

This photograph is eleven months old. I took it when I was working on the former Temple Beth El, which is a block away. I stopped at the church office to ask if they would entertain a bid to replace all that nasty opaque plastic in front of their stained glass windows. I was about a month too late, as they had just signed a contract with Soos Stained Glass to do just that.

I read on the church's Facebook page that the job was finished in November. I'm sorry I don't have an updated picture, but I imagine it now looks as though the church has once again opened its eyes.

On the one hand, it's a shame that so many congregations bought into the fevered pitches of Plexiglas salespeople in the 70s and 80s to cover up their windows with plastic. Churches only wanted to protect their windows and maybe realize some energy savings in the process. All too often what they ended up with was a covering that soon became yellow and opaque and was usually not properly ventilated either, so that condensation tended to form, drip, and rot sills.

On the other hand, it's good that so many churches these days are reversing the trend. Some are going back to no protective covering at all, but most opt to cover their windows with vented tempered glass. The windows can once more breathe and the stained glass can be seen again from the outside.

But even with the blind windows, this is a pretty church. I'm afraid, though, I know little of its history.

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