TRURO, N.S. – People will gaze in awe when they walk into the sanctuary of Immaculate Conception Church this weekend. A large stained-glass piece of art now hangs on the wall behind the altar.
“We hoped this would happen just before Christmas,” said Father Darius Miskowicz. “It’s like walking into another church now.”
To mark the church’s 40th anniversary, in June, parishioners were consulted about renovations they’d like to have done.
“We don’t spend money we don’t have so we put out an appeal and, within very short order, had $100,000 come in,” said Dianne Kelderman, chair of the finance committee. “This is really a reflection of positive energy, generosity and hope.”
Artist Sue Obata provided the church with several concepts and the favourite was chosen. When the design was complete she worked with Sattler’s Stained Glass Studio, in West LaHave, to create 45 panels. Sattler’s arrived Wednesday to begin installation and completed it Thursday.
“The only time you get to see the full effect is when the installation happens,” said Obata, who flew in from Toronto to watch. “It looks even better than I thought it would.
“The curved wall reflects light from behind and gives it a dimensional effect. The glass is in two or three layers so it diffuses light. You can’t see through it but you get the glow of light.”
She’s designed other pieces for churches but this one is larger than most. The main piece is about seven metres (22 ft.) high and 270 cm (almost 9 ft.) wide, with two tall narrow pieces running along each side.
The theme is resurrection and there is meaning behind each colour and shape. Greys represent earth and stone, as well as the tomb; green represents hope; blues symbolize the water of baptism; and red-orange symbolizes the Trinitarian origin of existence. The design has an upward sweep to create an uplifting feel. While most of the colour is created by stained glass, the greys were added by brush.
“It’s supposed to be a hopeful window,” added Obata. “We wanted it to be positive.”
The wooden cross, which was taken down during installation, will be placed in front of the artwork in the new year.
About $200,000 was raised in total, allowing carpet to be replaced and lighting to be improved. Some small windows will be redone in stained glass.
– The first Immaculate Conception Church was opened Dec. 10, 1871. The first “parish priest” was Father William J.Mihan, who moved to Truro from Parrsboro in 1872.
– In 1976, it was decided it was necessary to enlarge and renovate the church and to add a hall to meet the needs of the growing population. During the winter of 1976 – 77 work began, but on March 4, 1977 the entire wooden structure was destroyed by fire.
– The Stewards of the First United Church offered that church for regular Sunday services for the parish of Immaculate Conception and the offer was accepted.
– The present day Church of the Immaculate Conception was constructed between 1977 and 1978, and opened on June 10, 1978.
– The parish also serves three missions: Sacred Heart Church on the Millbrook Reserve’ St. Ambrose’s Church in Londonderry’ and St. Michael’s Church in Brule.