Priceless windows part of 175th celebration - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Priceless windows part of 175th celebration

DUBUQUE (KWWL)  Next Sunday an eastern Iowa congregation is celebrating 175 years.

In 1833... two pastors preached the first sermon for St. Luke's United Methodist Church in Dubuque in a tavern. In 1897, a church was built for the congregation.

About 100 Tiffany stained glass windows fill St. Luke's Church.

"It's so much fun to walk in the door with people who've never been here before and many of them walk in the door and go oh," said John Woodin. 

John Woodin is the choir director at St. Luke's. He often gives tours of the windows. He said after 17 years he's still amazed by the artistry.

"Sometimes we'll be having rehearsal in here and we'll stop and have a window moment," said Woodin.

The windows are one of the top five Tiffany collections in the world. The artist... Louis Comfort Tiffany... is the son of the man behind Tiffany and Company Jewelry.

Woodin said Tiffany used the favrile method for the windows, but the precise process remains a mystery.

"He took that process to his grave. In his factory, Tiffany didn't teach any one person all the processes that went into the favrile process," said Woodin.

Within the last 15 years, the windows were taken to Fairfield and cleaned.

"They had to take apart each piece of glass, wash each individually, put them all together and re-install them and they did this to the tune of about 40 to 80 thousand dollars per window," said Woodin.

But there's more to St. Luke's than the windows...

"The windows are fantastic, they're awe-inspiring. People from all over the world come to see them, but there's so much more going on in this congregation than just a nice building that houses some windows and the building's been here for awhile," he said.

Anyone is invited to celebrate a congregation started 175 years ago.

"To be able to celebrate the faithfulness of all those generations that went before is absolutely exciting," said Associate Pastor Diane Mitchell.

The 175th birthday celebration is next Sunday, November 9 at St. Luke's United Methodist Church on 12th and Main Streets in Dubuque. There is only one service... at 10:30 a.m. with a special sermon by new Iowa Bishop Julius Trimble.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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