At VHUMC we are always thinking of ways to improve our impact on the world for Christ. One part of that is how we maintain and improve our facilities. In late 2019, our Senior Pastor, Bill Brunson, began asking how we could improve the external entrance to the Parlor. The solid wooden doors were framed by three large pieces of plate glass covered on the outside by very heavy artistic ironworks. It was determined that the removal of the 1964 iron and replacement of the plate glass with some beveled, leaded glass would give that area a much more attractive and welcoming look. But, we had to figure out how to fund the project or else put it on hold until funds were available.
Through Butch Williams, Edward Brasher heard about the desire for a better entrance and asked if he could pay for it and dedicate that entrance to his two deceased wives, Angelyn (who died in 1971), and Margean (who died in 2017). Suddenly, the project took wings. In January of 2020, we contracted with Keith Jones of Birmingham Art Glass, whose company has done much of our stained and beveled glass in the church, to create the artistic glass.
Then, we waited…and waited…and waited some more. Keith usually has a 2-3 month backlog of projects, but COVID-19 (which he caught) and many other issues (including a leaky roof at his shop) caused the job to be delayed time and time again. Gary Wyatt, our Church Administrator, tried to pressure Keith for a completion date, but pressuring artists is tricky business and did not seem to be working. Finally, in his desire to have the glass in place to honor Angelyn and Margean, Edward decided to go visit Keith and see what he could do to help.
The first thing Edward learned was that we were not planning to add glass to the two wooden doors. Edward felt that was important and made that a smaller project for Keith to complete two door inserts fairly quickly. With help from our lay-carpenter, Jim White, the door inserts were completed and installed this past January – one year after we started the project. Then Edward started to encourage Keith to get the larger pieces started.
Edward continued to visit Keith at his shop often and learned about all the elements involved in producing leaded glass. He not only formed a close relationship with Keith, but also a relationship with a different vendor who bevels each piece of cut glass for Keith. Finally, Edward started working alongside Keith on the large glass panels – actually installing some of the pieces himself. Together, they finished the three panels – a labor of love for Edward to honor Angelyn and Margean.
The new glass panels are being installed as the NOTES is being completed on Thursday, April 22, 2021 – 15 months after the project was commissioned. Each panel and door insert is beautiful and the overall effect of the new entrance is stunning. Thank you, Edward, for your perseverance and commitment to get this wonderful improvement completed. All of us will enjoy it as a welcoming part of our beloved church for many years to come.