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January 15, 2013

Stained glass windows removed from church

McALESTER — Tall ornate panes of glass representing a colorful piece of a 90 -year-old church’s history were removed last week.

On Thursday and Friday the 90-year-old stained glass windows of the First Methodist Church building on Carl Albert Parkway were taken down.

The church was sold in December and the windows were removed to be put into storage until they can be used at a new church building, according to Dr. Charles Neff pastor of the McAlester Methodist Church.

To remove windows a specialist had to be called, Neff said.

Roy Loman of Loman Studios along with his project manager Roger Byers and two of his craftsmen worked Thursday and Friday to painstakingly remove the windows.

 Many of which are 14 feet tall and weigh more than 250 pounds, according to Byers.

“It’s just enough to make it extremely difficult for two men to do the job,” he said.

To help with the large job, Byers said they brought along two other craftsmen, Ricardo Ramirez and Sean Byers, to help with the job.

“We removed about $200,000 worth of windows from the church,” Loman said.

Seven large 5 by 14 foot windows were removed along with 6 smaller windows, he said.

Each window was built with support bars built into the windows, according to Roger Byers.

“The reason for the bars is that each piece of glass is held together with lead strips. The steel bars support the windows because the lead moves with stress, he said.

He explained that the windows are held in place by a large wood sashes which enabled the windows to be removed in one piece.

Loman said after the windows are removed they are carefully placed special racks which the men build on site.

Then the windows will be transported in a custom made trailer to the company’s facility in Tulsa where they we will be rebuilt and refinished. The smaller windows will be configured into a one larger window.

“It will probably take about 120 man hours to do the work involved with these windows,” Roger Byers said.

 He said once the work is done, the windows will be put into storage until the new church building is complete.

Loman, 63, who has been in the business for more than 30 years. He said he started stained glass as hobby and then the business started growing.

He said his studio is the largest state of Oklahoma and although projects of this type don’t happen very often, this last year was a busy one.

“We had three other similar jobs this past year,” Loman said.

He said in most cases, the windows are resold and he said it’s uncommon for a church to reuse the windows as they will be in this project.

 Meanwhile, Dr. Neff said the new church should be complete in five to seven years. 

Contact Jeanne LeFlore at jleflore@mcalesternews.com.

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