2009-08-08 / Top News

Ste. Anne's Hosts Fundraiser for Windows

By Jane Alexander

Ste. Anne's Church is preparing for a makeover. The church will host a Garden Party Sunday, August 9, from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. to raise funds for the renovation of its stained glass windows.

The party will feature wine, hors d'oeuvres, and a silent auction.

Jim Morse, who is in charge of church maintenance and is spearheading the window renovations, said the work will be done in three phases. The first phase, for which the church is currently raising money, includes the front windows that are visible from Main Street. The second and third phases will be the side windows and the back windows, respectively.

The windows will be removed, restored, reglazed where needed, vented, and replaced with new protective covers. The covers will be changed from the current thick-plated glass to an acrylic plastic, to afford better visibility. The church is currently collecting bids on the project, and plans to hire a local crew to help with the refurbishment. An engineer was also hired to examine the property, draw up blueprints, and make sure the plans are up to diocese regulations.

The work will be quite expensive, Mr. Morse said.

"I wouldn't be surprised if each window costs roughly $8,000 to $10,000, depending on the size of it," he said, "because they have to remove it, lay it down, clean it, and put it back in. The church is so old that we don't know what the structure behind the windows [will be like]. We know some of it's bad, that's a part of why we've got to do this. I just don't want to find some of these windows lying on the ground."

The church held a similar garden party last year to gather funds for the project.

"Last year, we raised just under $40,000, $38,000, through our generous community, and other people have heard about this and other churches have donated," Mr. Morse said. "Some people are very generous, and that's kind of what we need. So if we could bankroll a little bit more and just go as far as it will go, hopefully this will bring us through the front" windows.

Mr. Morse said the church will have a better idea of how much money and work the project will require after the first phase of the replace- ment, as workers will then better understand the church's underlying structure.

"There are some structure problems that I and some of the contractors were looking at, and we're not going to know [what they are] until we take that tin off the front, and it could be scary," he said. "So that's why we're also looking for local boys who understand these particular problems."

Mr. Morse said he is eager to see the windows in the back of the church refurbished, as they date to the 1870s, when the church and rectory were demolished and the current church was erected.

"You can't even see them unless you go up in the attic. I'm the only one who ever sees them," he said. "I mean they're cool. Õ They're like a whole different window. They were acid-etched and then they painted them by hand. If you stood in the back of the church, in the very back in the back alley and looked up, there are four. You can barely see through them, it and they just kind of look like colored glass, but they're actually really beautiful. They're hand painted, they're just really elaborate."

In the five years Mr. Morse has worked at the church, he's helped to remodel the kitchen, paint the rails, improve the gardens, rebuild the bell tower, repair the roof, paint interior rooms, build the porch, and more, he said. In the future, he hopes to refinish the wood floors and replace the carpets and rugs, but, for now, the stained glass windows would be a huge improvement.

"These stained glass windows would be really nice, because we've got to compete with other churches for weddings, and if you were getting married wouldn't you like to be in a pretty church? That's what we're after here."

He added that any size contribution would be welcome at the garden party.

"We've got some really nice pieces for the auction this year, we'll have wine and hors' oeuvres, and make a pleasant afternoon of it. Everyone's welcome, please come, and they can donate anything. Anything helps."

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