March 30, 2016

Asbury Needs a Facelift-Can You Help?

John Street Church is preparing to restore its Francis Asbury stained glass window in honor of the pioneer Methodist bishop.

Francis Asbury was the most distinguished figure in early American Methodism. He was sent by John Wesley to America in 1771, and spent the next forty-five years encouraging and organizing Methodist congregations. Asbury became bishop of the newly formed Methodist Episcopal Church in 1784. Asbury's commitment to frontier preaching and class meetings helped increase the number of American Methodists from under 1500 at the time of his arrival, to more than 200,000 at his death on March 31, 1816.

After Asbury died, New York City's Methodists created a stained glass window featuring the bishop's portrait as a memorial. Originally, the window hung in Forsyth Street Methodist Church. In the early 1900s, however, construction of the Manhattan Bridge required Forsyth Street Church to be demolished. Concerned Methodists salvaged the window and stored it in John Street Church's attic. It stayed in the attic for more than fifty years. Finally, in 1968, John Street’s congregation had the window incorporated into the church's sanctuary.

Restoring the Bishop’s Window

John Street Church is restoring the two-hundred-year-old-window in honor of Bishop Asbury, as part of the church’s 250th anniversary celebration. In addition to repairing the glass leading, the restoration will repair the remarkable artifact's most obvious flaw—a crack across Asbury's face.

You can make a donation to the church's Capital Restoration Fund to help cover the cost of this project.

The restoration of the Asbury Stained Glass is also made possible by a generous grant from the General Commission of Archives and History of the United Methodist Church.

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