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Central Albertan makes stained-glass windows for Ukrainian church in Red Deer

The windows at St. Vladimir Ukrainian Catholic Church represent Ukraine and Canada
Father Jim Nakonechny looks at one of the two new stained-glass windows that have been installed at St. Vladimir Ukrainian Catholic Church in Red Deer. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Two new stained-glass windows have been installed at a Ukrainian church in Red Deer thanks to a man from Markerville.

Father Jim Nakonechny of the St. Vladimir Ukrainian Catholic Church, who also serves as the chair of the Ukrainian Displaced Persons Planning Committee, said he received a call a couple of months ago from a stranger saying he wanted to deliver a gift.

That stranger, Dan Lambkin, brought a small stained-glass Tryzub, which is the coat of arms of Ukraine and features a blue shield with a gold trident.

Lambkin had read about the Ukrainian Displaced Persons Planning Committee’s efforts to support the 500 or so displaced Ukrainians living in central Alberta, Nakonechny noted.

“After he brought that piece here, he was looking around the church and said, ‘I’m kind of inspired to do something more,’” Nakonechny said.

Nakonechny told him parishioners at the church were interested in stained-glass piece as well, so Lambkin made more. Eventually, he began working on stained-glass windows for the church.

“He would do some drawings, send them to me. I would help adjust it with him,” said Nakonechny.

“He didn’t want any money for it. We installed them (Saturday) night and he said he’d want to do more work with us.”

One of the windows represents Ukraine. It features the Tryzub, a cross, the sunflower, which is Ukraine’s national flower, and a highbush cranberry called kalyna.

“Kalyna is one of the national plants of Ukraine. It’s used for a lot of cooking and medicinal needs. When Ukrainians see kalyna, it makes them proud. There’s a lot of songs about it in folk music,” Nakonechny explained.

The Canadian window features the maple leaf, wildroses to represent Alberta, and pieces of wheat in front of a yellow field and a blue sky, appearing similar to the Ukrainian flag.

“In 1891 the first wave of Ukrainians started coming to Canada for a better life – that better life was found in agriculture. The wheat on this window represents all of the generations of immigration to Canada,” he added.

Nakonechny said he’s proud to have these windows installed in the church.

“These windows show the heritage of the church. It represents our roots and represents where we are today,” he said.

“A lot of Ukrainian families felt very emotional seeing this. … This kind of gives people a bit of comfort to the families who are coming and shows that they’re welcome.”

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Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
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