Altar Frontals

In 1990, five Frontal Panels symbolising the church’s seasons were commissioned for the portable St Nicholas altar. They were designed by Jane Lemon of the Sarum Guild of Embroiderers and made and embroidered by members of the Sarum Guild.

The designer provided the following notes for each panel:

Green Frontal (for all seasons)
The Beehive has been used in the past as a symbol for a community of those who work together for the benefit of all. It has been used in recent years as a symbol for the Christian church. Here a honeycomb design has been used as a reminder that John the Baptist fed on locusts and wild honey in the desert. The gold cells in the form of a cross represent the wealth and richness of the church, with green and gold cells symbolically spreading out into the desert of poverty and ignorance where so much work and help is badly needed.

Advent Frontal
“Prepare the path for the Lord; make His path straight.”
The design leads the eye to the cross or the chalice where it is placed in position on the centre of the altar. When neither is there, the eye is led to the cross on the High Altar and up to the East window above. The design also symbolises dark into light – the whole season of Advent – and gives a chalice shape as an alternative symbol.

Festal Frontal
This frontal depicts water lapping over the sand on the banks of the River Jordan where St John baptised Christ. It reminds us of the water of Baptism, of re-birth and of living faith. The sand-coloured background picks up the colour of the floor tiles, linking them with the blues and turquoise of the East window through the Altar Frontal.

Lenten Frontal
The thorns symbolise not only the Passion of Christ, but everyone’s problems winding their way through the dark and lighter periods of our lives. The cross is formed by two bundles of twigs bound together and reminding us of St John the Baptist’s very holy and simple way of life.

Red Frontal
“The one who follows me . . . will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire.” The arrangement of the flames gives a flower shape with the abstracted form of the dove giving the impression of stamens. This symbolises the flowering of our faith with the Holy Spirit at the very heart of the gift of understand.

The green, red, Lenten and Advent Frontals were made and embroidered by Ann McIntyre; the Festal Frontal is the work of Catherine Talbot. Other members of the Sarum Guild assisted with the work.

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