Members of Magothy Chelsea Community Lutheran Church spent almost 50 years concentrating on their spiritual well-being before turning their attention to their spiritual home.
Today, the 100-member church at 265 Beach Ave. in Pasadena will crown a two-year beautification process when it dedicates 10 new stained-glass windows during a 10:30 a.m. service.
"It's a fulfillment of a dream," said the Rev. John Lynch, pastor for seven years. "We've done a lot of work to make this church look better, and this helps."
The windows were purchased by church members who dedicated them to loved ones.
The windows show scenes from the Bible, such as Noah's ark.
Two of the 10 windows flank the front door. Three more line the left wall, and another three are on the right wall. The final two are in the Sunday school.
Nancy Hansberger, 62, a member of the church since 1958, said the windows will be a fine addition.
"I've always felt that stained-glass windows look beautiful in a church," Ms. Hansberger said. "They just add to the beauty of the church."
The windows cost about $1,300 apiece and were made by Art Glass Crafters Inc. in Monkton, Dr. Lynch said. They were installed last month.
Ever since Magothy Beach residents built the church after World War II, members have been paying for its upkeep, sometimes going door-to-door for donations, Dr. Lynch said.
The church did not have air conditioning until two years ago, when a unit was installed along with a new furnace. The church also got a coat of paint that year, said Dr. Lynch.
As for the windows, credit for the idea goes to the family and friends of Joan Irene Skeens, a lifelong member who died of cancer at age 46. Ms. Skeens' daughter Julie Ruprecht said the family had enjoyed a long history with the church.
Mrs. Ruprecht's grandparents helped build the church. Ms. Skeens went to the church's Sunday school and later taught at the school. Mrs. Ruprecht and her sister, Melissa Clare, were baptized and married in the church.
Mrs. Ruprecht, 29, who lives in Hampstead in Carroll County, said: "My mom lived behind the church, and she always wanted to help the church if the church needed something. What better way is there to help the church?"
After the family started its project, other church members became interested in buying stained glass windows. Soon, several families had pooled their resources.
Annie Webb and her husband, Andrew, joined Tom and Edie Foster and dedicated a window of the Nativity scene to "Our Families: Past, Present, Future."
"I thought there were just too many names to name," said Mrs. Webb, who has belonged to the church for 44 of her 68 years. "That took care of our parents, our forebears, our children, our grandchildren and anyone in the future. I thought it would be much better than naming all the names."
The new windows have impressed churchgoers.
"They're beautiful," said Ruth Fritze, 71, of Glen Burnie, who helped build the church. "They do make a difference in the atmosphere. There's a serene feeling. It gives a very peaceful feeling."