West Columbia, SC (Paul Kirby) – On Tuesday, June 23, 2020, Brookland United Methodist Church in West Columbia had a moment of sadness and then an opportunity to shout, “Hallelujah!” when they had to go out with the old and in with the new! These mixed feelings were brought on by the change of a specific piece of the church’s architecture that had to be replaced because of its age and weathered condition.
Tuesday was the day that they had scheduled a very specific company to come in and replace the 5-foot-tall stained glass window that was as much a part of the front of the church as its tall steeple on the roof that reaches toward heaven. The old stained-glass window was installed in 1920, 100 years ago! The historic window had broken with age and was leaking rain inside the building. Church leaders had checked on all their options, but in the end, the only responsible thing to do was replace the old window with a new one.
The church was established in 1892. Any building with that many years of history behind it is significant. Certainly, the teachings of God, the bible, and worshiping our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ comes first at Brookland United Methodist however, the property’s long and distinguished history is a major part of the story of the West Columbia area too. To some of the older members, the building holds such fond memories that when something must be changed or updated, it's so important to them that the change is as unnoticeable as it can possibly be. That's a part of the reason that the church's leadership decided to have a particular business build and install the new stained glass window.
Laws Stained Glass Studio in Statesville, NC constructed and installed the new window. Interestingly enough, the were the company that made and installed the original window 100 years ago. They took extra care making sure the new window was worthy of the awe the old historic window inspired. Once the old window was carefully removed, employees of Laws cautiously hand carried the new window up several ladders and installed it just so. Now, the church’s congregation hopes that 100 years into the future, the new window will still be there welcoming a new generation of worshipers as they arrive for services each week.
Although the old window was not in any shape to stand the weather, the church has been contacted by the City of West Columbia and Greg Moseley of Moseley’s Funeral & Cremation Services about buying it. Both are worthy of the window. Of course, West Columbia could display it at city hall somewhere, but Greg is building a beautiful new chapel at his current funeral home within a few blocks of the church that’s more period correct for the window. Greg Moseley said Thursday that he wanted to have it repaired and placed in the new chapel as it's built. "It would be seen by so many and certainly continue to be a part of the area's hstory for years to come," Moseley concluded.
Joey Yandle, speaking on behalf of the church, said that how it will be displayed to the public will weigh heavily in the church’s decision to part with it. “We have a church archive room here,” Yandle said of the church. “It’s just full and with no more room there, we don’t want to just stick it in storage somewhere. It’s too much a part of the history of the church and this area to put it away so that people can’t see it.”