New Altar Frontal at North Stoke

On Sunday 22nd March the Bishop of Chichester, The Right Reverend Dr Martin Warner, dedicated a new altar frontal at the Church of St Mary the Virgin, North Stoke in West Sussex. The piece was designed and worked by the ecclesiastical embroiderer Belinda Scarlett for a commission by the Friends of St Mary’s, and is the result of four years’ endeavour.  It is an object of beauty and well worth a visit to see.

The dedication took place during a Service of Choral Evensong led by the Vicar, The Reverend Alison Pattenden and accompanied by the full Amberley choir.  The Service was beautifully devised and the choir sang with inspiration.  The altar frontal was handed over to the Regional Director of the Churches Conservation Trust, Peter Aiers, by Dr Annabelle Hughes, Chairman of the Friends’ Group.  It was then blessed and dedicated by the Bishop.  Dr Warner preached on a text from Exodus: “Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart --- the embroiderer, in blue, and purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen” -  the makers of the veil of the Temple.  He described the best liturgical art as beckoning the beholder and forming a gateway to heaven.  

Pictured left, from left are: Peter Aiers (South East Director, CCT), The Reverend Alison Pattenden, Vicar of Amberley-with-North Stoke, The Right Reverend Dr Martin Warner, Bishop of Chichester, Belinda Scarlett (ecclesiastical embroiderer, who designed & made the frontal) & Dr Annabelle Hughes (Chairman, The Friends of St Mary the Virgin, North Stoke).

The Church was filled with residents of North Stoke, members of the United Benefice, The Friends’ Group, a large RC representation, friends from Storrington, Arundel and Tortington and many other well-wishers.