The sanctuary at the Immaculate Conception Church in Truro before a recent redesign, left, and after. Parishioners raised more than $100,000 to have the sanctuary updated in celebration of the church's rebuild following a devastating fire 40 years ago.

TRURO – New life was brought into the sanctuary at Immaculate Conception Church just before the holidays.

Over the fall, parishioners donated more than $100,000 to see the altar receive a revamp, which includes a large stained glass installation of significance.

“Every colour, design, and flow all means something,” said Dianne Kelderman, chairperson of the of the parish finance committee. “Living, hope, positive energy, and going back to the roots of the religion.”

Kelderman said the impetus is the church’s 40th anniversary in June of the church’s rebuild, following a devastating fire in the 1970s that destroyed the church. The altar, she said, was one thing the parishioners wanted to focus on. When they were told money would need to be raised, the appeal was short order, with the cost being raised in no time.

“Despite the gloom and doom of these darkened times, the parishioners are showing a lot of positive energy, generosity, and hope. This is a reflection of that.”

Father Dariusz Miskowicz came up with the initial idea of including stained glass, and Sue Obata, a stained glass artist from Toronto, was hired.

“It took a couple of months to come up with proposals, but when we were satisfied as the committee envisioned it, we moved forward with the project,” said Miskowicz. Sattler’s Stained Glass Studio in West LaHave was contracted for installation and all 45 panels have been installed.

“I’m just in awe. It’s amazing,” said Doug Matthews, as he watched the last few pieces be put into place.

Installation began on Dec. 20, with the final piece in place around noon the following day. Behind the stained glass is a curved wall to help create dimension and reflect light.

The wooden cross that used to hang behind the altar will hang in front of the stained glass beginning in the New Year.

“People are getting anxious to see it,” said Miskowicz.

“There’s no comparison (to before),” added Kelderman. “The altar was done 40 years ago after the fire, and in the parishioners view, it wasn’t quite finished. The carpets are also new, done in the last couple of months.”

The stained glass features numerous colours, all with their own meaning. Starting at the bottom is dark grey, signifying the earth or ashes. The red stands for the holy trinity, and how through the ashes, everything builds up.

Yellow means life, with blue the water of baptism, or new life. Orange signifies resurrection, or hope of new life, all leading up to heaven.

Along with the altar, carpets, and new lighting, new stained glass windows are being installed along one of the back walls. With the altar project costing more than $100,000, the total (including lights, carpeting, and wall stained glass) was $200,000.

“It was a big ask, but they did it,” said Kelderman of the parishioners.

“With the stained glass along the wall, we didn’t ask the parishioners for money, but they already gave,” added Miskowicz.

The parish has 2,500 members, with about 1,000 being regularly active. The church also has mission churches in Brule, Millbrook, Londonderry, and Shubenacadie.