A new altar frontal for St Paul’s

On the first Sunday of Advent, we didn’t change the altar frontal to the traditional purple for the season. Instead, we unveiled our new altar frontal, which has been specially designed and made for St Paul Old Ford by students at the Royal School of Needlework (RSN).

This time last year, we were receiving comments and votes from our congregation about different potential designs for the altar frontal. There were 5 designs, one by each of the 5 RSN students who had visited us, spoken to us, and tried to represent St Paul’s in 5 very different but beautiful ways.

When we considered the votes and comments, together with the RSN students we decided to combine 2 of the designs into one, to capture elements of what our congregation liked and appreciated about the designs. So on the left we have the tree, and on the right we have the ark. Not Noah’s ark of course, but our very own ‘ark’, the building inside our church which is home to Into University and Ability Bow.

The 5 students – Amanda Rymel, Natalie Rowe, Sonia Lee, Sally Randle and Nao Nagamura – have spent a lot of time in the past year bringing their designs to life. Although only 2 of the designs were chosen, they all worked on the project, each bringing their particular skills and creativity to produce an incredible altar frontal which is a very unique representation of St Paul’s. Not just in what it symbolises. Even some of the fabrics woven into it were contributed by people in the congregation, reflecting the different cultures we have in our church.

It was wonderful to welcome 4 of the women to St Paul’s on Sunday to see their work being revealed to the congregation and to witness it being dedicated. We also appreciate them taking time to speak to us about their work. They are all now graduated from the RSN and are heading off in different directions. We wish them all the best for their futures and thank them for what they’ve produced for us.

We also want to acknowledge the generosity of our dear departed friend, Lil Delieu (see the picture below), whose legacy has made this possible. Lil was part of St Paul’s for many years and in her life was a generous giver, both to St Paul’s and to our partner church in Mozambique. Now we’re using the money she left us after her death for something that will be a lasting and obvious part of our worship and life together. Thank you Lil.

If you want to see the altar frontal being dedicated, including Rev April interviewing the women and Rev Darius and Mark praying for it, it’s 1 hour 15 minutes into the YouTube stream.


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