It has been a long road since the stained glass windows from Plymouth Congregational Church’s former building at Cloverdale Road and Route 29 went to a storage shed.


It has been a long road since the stained glass windows from Plymouth Congregational Church’s former building at Cloverdale Road and Route 29 went to a storage shed.

Now, four years later, the windows again light up a wall behind the church’s altar at 418 N. Wilmot.

In celebration of the windows’ reinstallation, the church community will host an open dedication at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at the church’s permanent home on Wilmot.

The public is also invited to attend any Sunday worships they would like to attend, as well as Sunday School for the children.

In 1891, 19 men and women began meeting in a borrowed gospel tent. Church members hosted 35 services in the tent, as well as the Baptist church, the Chillicothe Land Office and homes of congregation members.

Finally, in 1893, the original church building opened at the southeast corner of Fourth and Pine streets.

Almost 70 years later, the congregation held its first regular worship service in a new building, located at 402 W. Cloverdale.

Through a donation from Mr. and Mrs. Frank Rolan, the church hailed a collection of stained glass windows created by Willet Studios of Philadelphia.

The large A-frame-shaped church graced the corner for 30 years, when it was determined that the church’s aging congregation, the difficulty of using the dining room and kitchen on the lower level and the cost of heating a church which had no air conditioning required selling the church and its land.

The congregation, along with their pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jerry Tupper, had a de-commissioning service for the church, along with a celebratory potluck and balloon lift, ending with removal of the church’s cornerstone.

That was Sept. 25, 2005, and talk centered on the safe removal of the set of stained glass for future use.

Troy Childers and Jimmy Mattox managed to remove the windows in one piece for storage until the time was right.

The next month, Plymouth Congregational Church members met at Chillicothe Mortuary as a temporary home.

The time arrived at last on Nov. 18, 2006, when the congregation had its first service in its permanent new home on Wilmot.

Just one day earlier, when the storage shed doors were opened, the altar, altar cross, candlesticks and lectern were all retrieved for use in the new church.

Even the beloved stained glass windows made the trip, although it was just to the church’s basement.

The new church was dedicated Feb. 25, 2007.

Since that time, members have painted and redecorated their new church.

Member Sandy Themas created banners for all the different seasons and important beliefs of the congregation’s faith.

Elaine Snyder quilted and donated a special banner.

Next came visions of a church steeple, followed by fundraising by the Sunday school.

The efforts culminated when, on Aug. 16, 2008, a new white steeple was dedicated.

With a blue and white lighted sign now in place, Plymouth Congregational Church once again can be seen from Route 29.

Barb and Larry Schupbach made two windows for the kitchen and fellowship room.

One used some of the glass from the windows located to the right of the sanctuary in the old church. The other was a new creation with a cross with light beams.

Then naturally followed talk about the treasured stained glass windows.

Mike and Sandy Themas contacted Gary Sharp and his brother, Dave, once the congregation voted to proceed with incorporating the windows, which now tell the story of Christ’s life on a wall
behind the current altar.

Sharp, a carpenter, took great care building the wall and inserting each stained glass piece.

Dave, an electrician, built light boxes behind each of the pieces to illuminate them.

The windows actually show up better using the lights than they did just with sunlight.

Another advantage is the panels can be illuminated separately, depending on the message or theme of the day.

The church’s mission statement is “... to be a community of friends where all are welcome to glorify God, grow in knowledge of Jesus the Christ and be guided by the Holy Spirit without fear of being criticized or rejected in his or her spiritual journey.”