Delaware’s Zion African Methodist Episcopal Church, located at 140 S. Washington St., has completed a nearly decade-long initiative to replace the stained glass windows that adorn the historic church. A final dedication program for the completed project was held at the church on Sunday, Dec. 11.
The project was spearheaded by officers of the church beginning in late 2014 when the deteriorating condition of the existing windows led to the decision for replacement. In November 2015, Charles Lipscomb contracted with Laws Stained Glass Studio in Statesville, North Carolina, to design the windows. Trustees Jim Gentry and Tom Moxley led the project within the church, with the first phase of the windows being dedicated in 2o16.
Deborah Lipscomb, who led the Dec. 11 dedication program, has been a member of Zion for more than 30 years. While she’s not sure exactly when the original stained glass windows were installed at the church, which has existed since 1845, Lipscomb said she knows the windows have been there well beyond her time with Zion.
The sealing around the windows had deteriorated, and a breeze could be felt from many of them. “I know they were in very bad shape, so they were past due for replacement,” she said.
While the church held fundraisers for the replacement of some of the windows that are not stained glass, various members of the church had the opportunity to purchase individual stained glass windows to fund the replacements. Each person who purchased a window could choose an image with a corresponding scripture to be depicted on the window, elements that did not exist on the original windows.
“It really is quite the accomplishment,” Deborah Lipscomb told The Gazette. “We are a small congregation, and our goal is to keep our sanctuary and our edifice beautiful at all times. But this has really highlighted the beauty of the church and the holiness therein. In fact, the theme for the dedication program was, ‘Come, let us worship the Lord in the beauty of His holiness.’ We got that from the book of Psalms, so we used that as the theme because we felt like this was a way to glorify God by adding to the beauty of His sanctuary.”
Lipscomb went on to say the successful project carries added significance because it’s something that will be appreciated for generations to come.
“Most of our members, especially the ones who purchased the windows, we’re aging … To leave that kind of contribution that should last for a few more years is so rewarding,” she said.