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Church Plans Colorful Celebration
On a sunny day, the colors shine through brilliantly.

And even on a cloudy day, they are beautiful to look at.

Parishioners of Saron Lutheran Church in Escalon are enjoying the progress being made in a stained glass window project at the North Street church. The decorative windows are being installed as part of the 100th anniversary celebration.

"It has turned into quite a massive project," explained pastor Rev. Victor Berg-Haglund. "The church adopted this as a goal about eight years ago."

Looking ahead to the centennial celebration, the groundwork was laid at that time for the window replacement project. Funds have been raised over the years and additional fundraising remains to be done. Haeger Stained Glass out of San Jose was commissioned to do the work and Dave Cook headed up the committee for the stained glass window project.

"The committee members went to different churches," Berg-Haglund said of getting a vision for their own window designs.

A total of nine windows are being done in the sanctuary itself and two more in the sacristy, which is a little room off the sanctuary where church officials prepare for services.

Berg-Haglund said the decision was made to go ahead with the project when they had raised enough money to commission the first two windows.

"We hope to get as much done as possible by Nov. 15," he said of when the church will observe its anniversary.

A variety of special events will help commemorate the 100th anniversary, including a dinner at the Escalon Community Center on Nov. 14 and a visit from Northern California-Northern Nevada Synod Bishop Mark Holmerud.

The mother-son business team of Pat Scarlett Haeger and Marc Haeger are doing the project. Mother Pat designs the windows and son Marc does the installation.

"We've been in business since 1986," Marc Haeger said of the partnership. "We work all over the state. My mother is the artist and I'm the craftsman."

Haeger Stained Glass is an accredited member of the Stained Glass Association of America.

Haeger said the windows have limited hand staining of colors with lead based paint and the designs have all been completed for the project. It takes about three days to install each window and each of the large windows weighs about six pounds per square foot.

He said meeting with church officials helped lead to the eventual window designs.

"We show them designs of past windows and get their ideas," he said.

At Saron, for instance, they wanted some windows to specifically reflect unique features of the church. Another window features a composer, while still others depict well-known Bible stories and passages.

"The windows were started in November," Haeger added. "They were fired in the kiln four times."

With a 10 percent down payment, all the windows have been designed and the church can "pay as they go" for the installation, said Haeger.

Berg-Haglund said having the first couple of windows done has parishioners eager for more.

"We're very excited," he said. "They're just spectacular and people are amazed at the richness of the color."