Walnut Ridge church restores 100-year-old windows

By Lisa Burnett Published March 16, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.
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The nearly 100-year-old windows of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Walnut Ridge underwent a complete overhaul to restore their beauty.

WALNUT RIDGE — Members of the congregation of Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in Walnut Ridge now see the sun coming through their church’s windows in a different light, thanks to contributions by the community.

The church windows, which are more than 100 years old, were cleaned and repaired in the first part of January, the Rev. Mike Sinkler said.

“There is speculation that the windows came [to Arkansas] from Germany,” he said. “They were moved from the Hoxie church in 1953.”

These handmade windows were in need of cleaning, Sinkler said.

“One window had to be taken completely apart. The framing had to be reworked.”

It took a construction crew about 10 days to complete the project.

“The men came from Associated Crafts in Gilbert, Ariz.,” Sinkler said. “They told me if there would have been more than one window that needed [to be reworked], we would have had to send [the windows] off to Arizona.”

Since only one window had to be completely reworked, all of the construction was done on-site.

All of the window sills were also replaced at the church because they were deteriorating.

“We’ve had the windows for so long; they need to be cared for,” Sinkler said.

To pay for the $26,600 project, members of the community and the 75-member congregation were invited to “adopt a window.”

“People responded very generously — almost immediately,” Sinkler said. “Within a month, we had 10 of the 13 windows paid for.”

Sinkler was impressed by the work the crew did.

“My father built churches for a living, and I’ve been around churches all my life,” Sinkler said. “My grandfather also did church construction.”

Sinkler said the windows are important to the church and its congregation.

“When you’re inside the church with the sun coming through, it just gives you a different atmosphere for worship or prayer,” he said. “There’s something about stained glass that makes the building look more Catholic.”

Sinkler has been the priest at Immaculate Heart of Mary for 4 1/2 years.

Online News Editor Lisa Burnett can be reached at lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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