Sunday, August 5, 2007

Historic church may have to sell its Tiffany Windows

I have a piece on Weekend America this week about a historic church in Elizabeth, NJ that may have to sell its stained glass windows. A hundred years ago, Elizabeth was one of the wealthiest communities in the state, and St. John's Episcopal Church could afford to commission expensive windows from Louis Comfort Tiffany.

Elizabeth's economy took a downturn a few decades back when most of the major industries pulled out of the region. Today, the church spends more money providing services for the poor and homeless than it brings in.

Although the congregation has not officially decided to sell the windows, bids are coming in. And if the church can get the $1.2 million dollars necessary to shore up their endowment for the next few decades, there's a good chance they'll replace some of the ornate windows with something a bit more ordinary.

For this story I visited St. John's during an evening youth concert. The church has been reaching out to young people in the area through a series of evangelical rap, reggaeton, and rock concerts. I also interviewed filmmaker Richard Marcello in Malibu with the assistance of a California-based reporter.

After having helped a number of other reporters conduct tape syncs, it was interesting being on the phone end. (A tape sync is basically a way of getting high quality audio out of a telephone interview. I ask questions over the phone, and a reporter/producer sits with the interview subject and records the other end of the conversation using broadcast audio gear. It's pretty much just like doing a regular telephone interview, except it requires more coordination and scheduling.)

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