St Mary's Anglican Church is on a mission to find the families of loved ones whose ashes have been installed in the church's columbarium.
The quest to locate them is to invite the families to the installation and unveiling of a bronze sculpture within the Columbarium Reflective Space.
Assistant Bishop of Newcastle Sonia Roulston will dedicate the artwork in the grounds of the Church Street, Maitland site on Sunday, December 8.
The bronze sculpture entitled 'Madonna and Child' is the work of Newcastle sculptor, Julie Squires.
The sculpture has been funded by donations from parishioners and the local community.
It will provide a 'beautiful and inspirational' artwork to be enjoyed by our local community and visitors, said church member Margaret Richardson.
"We are trying to locate some of the families whose relatives' ashes have been installed in the columbarium wall, so they can come along on the day for the dedication and an afternoon tea," Mrs Richardson said.
The Madonna and Child sculpture was commissioned in 2018.
Canon Paul West and St Mary's Parish Council instigated the project.
Father Paul was inspired by the 1952 Madonna and Child, by sculptor Jacob Epstein, after a visit to Westminster, England.
The St Mary's sculpture uses the same composition as Epstein, that of the child Jesus forming the cross with his body as he is supported by his mother Mary.
Julie has been able to draw on her own sense of maternal protection as inspiration for the work.
"I love this composition and the way Mary is portrayed as the protective mother whilst the form of Jesus portends his future sacrifice. It is a very evocative and yet beautiful image," she said.
Julie is currently a PhD candidate at Newcastle University, conducting research in the field of Public Art.
Her work is held in collections in Australia, Europe, China and the UK.
Her body of work includes 27 public art commissions across Australia.
Her iconic sculptures have been used to enhance the identity and unique character of major tourist destinations around Australia, including the Great Ocean Road.
In 2011 Newcastle University honoured Julie by awarding her the Newton-John Award - for Innovation and Creativity that has improved cultural life in the Hunter Region and Newcastle.
The sculpture is in its final stages of work and is almost finished.
There are more than 400 installments in the columbarium and St Mary's Church is keen to hear from anyone whose loved one's ashes have been placed there.