Restored stained glass windows returned to Buckland’s Mary Lyon Church

  • A recently restored stained glass window is carried back into the Mary Lyon Church in Buckland on Monday. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Workers for Stained Glass Resources Inc. lift a restored stained glass window back into its frame at the Mary Lyon Church in Buckland on Monday. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Workers for Stained Glass Resources Inc. prep a window frame before installing restored stained glass windows at the Mary Lyon Church in Buckland on Monday. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • A worker for Stained Glass Resources Inc. caulks a stained glass window that was reinstalled in the Mary Lyon Church in Buckland on Monday. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Stained glass windows go back into their frames at the Mary Lyon Church in Buckland on Monday. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 6/3/2020 8:18:28 PM

BUCKLAND — After nearly half a year with Plexiglas as a placeholder, the Mary Lyon Church is once again illuminated by colorful light permeating through its six newly restored stained glass windows.

After living through 110 years of New England weather, the windows were bowing and buckling, so the church launched a capital campaign to raise money to restore them. The windows, which were removed in November, were reinstalled on Monday and Tuesday, said Cyndie Stetson, a seven-year member of the church and chair of the capital campaign.

“The only one I’ve seen so far was wonderful. The color is beautiful,” Stetson said. “We’ll be excited when we can get back in and see them all, especially on a sunny day.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Mary Lyon Church, also known as the First Congregational Church of Buckland, is not currently holding Mass. Stetson said the church may hold a dedication ceremony for the windows once churchgoers return.

According to Stetson, the restoration cost roughly $90,000 and is being paid in installments. The first installment of $14,000 was paid in November. Fundraising began in the Fall, and Stetson said the church has raised roughly $80,000 toward its goal despite canceling two concert fundraisers as a result of the pandemic.

The windows were restored by Stained Glass Resources Inc. in Hampden. The restoration process required the windows be completely taken apart and cleaned. Any broken glass was replaced before the windows were reassembled.

Each window is unique in design yet similar in overall format and colors with the name of the person memorialized centered on the lower panel. The windows include several symbols of faith - the young Jesus, lilies, palms, passion flowers, grapes, cross, star, anchor, harp, Bible, and pomegranates.

To this day, the full story behind the windows’ origin is unclear. In November, church historian Tina Peters said much is unknown beyond the information in the original proposal for the windows and installation in 1909, which is mentioned twice in the church ledgers and once in the Greenfield Gazette & Courier. Each window was given to the church by family members or friends in memory of well-known Buckland residents.

The windows were given in honor of Mary Lyon, a Buckland native and founder of Mount Holyoke College, and a second for her mentor Deacon John Porter. Buckland settler and church member Samuel Taylor is memorialized with a third window. Another window honors nationally known composer and Buckland native William Sherwin. The fifth and sixth windows memorialize church members — Silas Trowbridge, a church deacon, has his own window and the Revs. Charles Guild and Alpheus Hodges share a window. Hodges was instrumental in creating the Buckland Public Library.

Donations in support of the windows’ restoration can be sent to the Mary Lyon Church, Attn: Windows, P.O. Box 87, Buckland, MA 01338.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.

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