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United Methodist churches highlighted in stained glass documentary

South Dakota Public Broadcasting Television’s  new  documentary “Light  of  the  Prairie:  South   Dakota Stained Glass” premiered Monday, Feb. 4. The documentary is also scheduled to air Sunday, March 3 at 7 p.m. (CST), and can be viewed online.

The one-hour SDPB Television production travels throughout the state to look at a beautiful and often underappreciated aspect  of  South  Dakota’s   history. The documentary touches on the history and culture of stained glass windows with expert and Humanities Scholar Dr. Barbara Johnson of Aberdeen. The documentary was produced with the support of the South Dakota Humanities Council.
Many communities across the state have used these stained glass windows to tell their stories – their connection to God, the homestead experience or life on the Great Plains. Windows can be found in private homes, churches, courthouse, schools, and even in barns. The production is divided into three parts.

The History of Stained Glass on the Great Plains

Stained glass windows originally were developed in the Middle East. Early stained glass artists learned to use metals like gold, cobalt, copper and others to create vibrant colors in glass. Centuries later, settlers who immigrated to the Great Plains brought their stained glass traditions with them. In South Dakota, these colorful windows often tell the same stories as windows found in Europe and the Middle East about religion, art and memories.

The Buildings

Churches are most commonly associated with stained glass. Some windows depict biblical figures or stories and some are merely decorative. But not all stained glass is connected to religious communities. Throughout South Dakota there are buildings where stained glass tells stories of our state, individual communities, prominent families, epic events, or sometimes mystical people and places. The State Capitol building is home to many beautiful windows, but the art form is found across the state in schools, courthouses and homes.

The Present and Future

Many of the stained glass windows found across the state are showing the ravages of time. The restoration of a stained glass window is expensive and time consuming, but those who love and respect these beautiful pieces of history are finding ways to restore them.    Creating  stained  glass  remains  a  living  art  form,  and  many  of  today’s  artists   continue to carry on the storytelling tradition in their contemporary creations. Technology  is  allowing  today’s  craftsmen to create more contemporary designs with vivid color choices.

Stained glass examples from these sites are included in the documentary are Aberdeen First United Methodist Church and Deadwood United Methodist Church.

Source:  South Dakota Public Broadcasting.  Photo:  Deadwood United Methodist Church by South Dakota Public Broadcasting.



Dakotas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church 605.996.6552 (1).jpeg 1331 University Ave. Mitchell SD 57301-0460 US 43.69689310 -98.03291320 122 W. Franklin Avenue Ste 400 Minneapolis MN 55404 US 0.00000000 0.00000000 1331 W University Ave Mitchell SD 57301 US 0.00000000 0.00000000 1331 University Ave Mitchell SD 57301 US 0.00000000 0.00000000