Bethel AME, Oldest Black Church in Huntington, NY, Gets Grant to Restore Windows

The Rev. Larry D. Jennings Sr. of Bethel A.M.E. Church, left, and Huntington Town historian Robert Hughes inspect the stained-glass windows that will be restored on on Dec. 15, 2017. (Photo Credit: Barry Sloan, Newsday)

Stained-glass windows in the Town of Huntington’s oldest African-American church are getting cleaned up.

Bethel A.M.E. Church on Park Avenue received a $10,000 grant from the New York Landmarks Conservancy through its Sacred Sites program in May. It also has received a $20,000 grant from the Robert D.L. Gardiner Foundation in October. The money will be used to restore eight windows that flank the church’s nave that church and town officials say are in desperate need of repair.

“This is very exciting for us because this has been a project that has long been discussed and contemplated,” said the Rev. Larry D. Jennings Sr., the church’s leader for nine years. “It’s necessary work, but preserving these historic windows and rich history adds to the excitement.”

The double-hung, round-headed, operable windows that all feature the same geometric pattern in such colors as green, amber and white, were installed when the church was built in 1924. One pays homage to the junior choir and others to prominent church members at the time, such as Huntington resident Charles Ballton, the son of Samuel Ballton, an entrepreneur in Greenlawn who became known as the “Pickle King” after selling 1.5 million pickles in one season.

Jennings said for some in his congregation, the project takes on an even more personal connection because a few current members are related to people who have windows dedicated to them.

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SOURCE: Newsday
Deborah S. Morris

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