The main stained-glass windows at St John's Anglican Church in Reid have served as a reminder to the church's parishioners of the story of John the Baptist for nearly 150 years, but time can take its toll on the delicate assembled panels of glass.
Now, a $10,000 heritage grant from the ACT government will see the church develop a conservation plan for the building's windows.
The church's rector, Father Paul Black, said no conservation work had been done on the windows for 25 years, and the church did not know what condition the windows were in.
Stained-glass window experts from Brisbane will be brought in to assess their condition and make a plan to best care for them.
Father Black said he and the parishioners hoped the windows were in good order and little needed to be done to maintain them well into the future.
He said the church's heritage was part of its attraction to its parishioners, who were drawn from a wide social circle.
"There are a lot of people right across the generations who are attracted to a sense of history: a church that actually looks like a church rather than an auditorium, and so on and so forth," Father Black said.
Apart from the main windows, the church has stained-glass placed in memory of members of the Campbell family, some of the earliest settlers on the Limestone Plains.
Two small windows composed of fragments collected from ruined churches on the First World War Somme battlefields in France by Chaplain F.G. Ward were installed in June 1929.
Last year, the church, which predates the establishment of Canberra by more than 70 years, replaced its shingle roof with Welsh slate, raising $360,000 to complete the project.
Father Black said when the original wood shingle roof came to be replaced in 1960, the new wonder material chosen was asbestos.
Although the church was spared from the January hailstorm, which lashed Canberra in a band from west to east wreaking havoc on many of the city's heritage buildings, Father Black said it was a difficult church to maintain.
Father Black, who has been rector at the church for more than a decade, said there was a lot of community support for the church as a piece of Canberra's history.
"This precinct is wider than say Christianity. It's to do with who we are as a Canberra community," he said.
The coronavirus pandemic has meant the church's services have shifted to accommodate more people. It can comfortably fit 120 people normally, but is presently limited to 40 people. On Saturday, the first wedding since March was set to be held in the church.
"It's very difficult to disinfect historic pews and all those things," Father Black said.
Other projects to receive grants include more than $11,000 to help conserve murals at the Free Serbian Orthodox Church St George in Forrest and nearly $30,000 for conservation works at Cuppacumbalong Homestead near Tharwa.
Expanded audio and augmented reality experiences will also receive heritage funding. Grants will be made to individuals, schools and local historical and residents' societies.
More than $370,000 will be awarded under the scheme in 2020-21.
Heritage Minister Mick Gentleman said the grants would help support new tours, signage and digitisation projects, as well as conservation work in private, heritage-registered homes.
"All the projects celebrate Canberra's wonderful heritage and will help preserve our local history for future generations," Mr Gentleman said.