Stained glass window returned to Sapulpa after 40 years

William Wimmer
Pastor, First Church of God

A long-lost item, missing for nearly 40 years, has returned home to Sapulpa. A beautiful 4 ½-ft x 2 ½-ft stained-glass window, depicting Jesus holding a lamb, with a sheep by His side, is a featured piece in the recently remodeled First Church of God in Sapulpa. Though the area in which it is displayed is new (with the remodeling having just been completed last summer), the window itself is over a hundred years old.

In 1918, the Methodist church was built on the corner of Lee and Walnut streets in Sapulpa. The church featured a dome and several stained-glass windows believed to be made in Italy. The Methodist church was later remodeled and the windows were put in the newer building. In the 1940s, this church building was purchased by the First Church of God. Then, in 1971, the Church of God built a new sanctuary at its present location at 1011 E. Hastain Avenue. At that time, the stained-glass windows from the old building were sold to various individuals.

Fifty years have passed since those windows were sold and the whereabouts of those windows are unknown, except for one. Church member Larry Wilson purchased the window showing Jesus as the Good Shepherd and stored it, in its broken condition, in his closet. Later, Rev. Riley Philippe repaired the window at his Mannford shop. Mr. Wilson then had the window installed in his dining room wall before moving to California in 1983. Prior to the move, he had the window crated so that it could be taken safely to the west coast. While in California, the window remained crated in the Wilson garage for twenty-four years, until Mr. Wilson moved back to Oklahoma in 2007.

In September of 2019, the First Church of God was celebrating 100 years of ministry here in Sapulpa. As the church was preparing to commemorate its centennial, Mr. Wilson posted a photo of the window on Facebook. When Cindy Wimmer, the current pastor’s wife, saw the photo, she began the process of trying to reacquire it to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the church. The sharing of the photo also happened to coincide with the beginning of the church’s remodeling project. The church board met to discuss the idea of purchasing the window from Mr. Wilson in order to display it prominently along the hallway of the new addition. It seemed appropriate to bring the window back home on this momentous occasion.  Though it has some cracks and shows the passage of time, the window is still beautiful even after over 100 years. With a continuous backlight, the image of Jesus as the Good Shepherd is a constant reminder of Jesus’ love and care for His people, as well as a testimony to the faithfulness of Christ in the life of the First Church of God.

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