Dedication of new Altar Frontal

Why a new Altar Frontal?

Toward the end of 2021, several old vestments, stoles, and other materials were found under our regular altar frontals, in a large chest in the church. Several were in poor condition, and most had not seen the light of day for many years. After some enquiries as to the provenance of any of them, or indeed previous ownership, none could be established, but in their poor state they could not be used for their original purposes. The idea was hatched (in good Sark tradition) to recycle them in some useful way, and to use them in a new altar frontal, specific to Sark.  Sue Daly, whose skill as an artist and seamstress for the costumes for the Sark Drama Club were well known, was approached, and asked if she could help.

Sue set to work to design the beautiful piece we now have, her design incorporating representations of the wildlife of Sark, including some of our rare species, in celebration of God's creation.  One can see the tiny Sand Crocus, representing the flora, found on only two sites on the British mainland, but flourishing in Sark on the Gouliot Headland and the Eperquerie. The Bottle-Nosed Dolphin represents Sark's mammals, these are often seen accompanying local boats, or in our bays and make anyone who sees them feel happy! The popular Puffin represents our abundant bird life, coming to Sark to breed from April to late July, before returning to sea, often hundreds of miles away, like their close relatives the Guillemots and Razorbills. The Silver-Studded Blue butterfly represents our insects. These are rare on the mainland and Sark is the only one of the Channel Islands where it is found, often amongst the heather, its favourite food. It can be differentiated from the Common Blue by the tiny silver studs visible under the wings, but you have to get close to see! The side panels represent our sea life, including the Ormer, a species of abalone only found in the Channel Islands. Its name comes from its French title Orielle de Mer or Ear of the Sea, due to its shape. Lastly, Sark hosts one of the rarest mammals elsewhere in the British Isles, the Black Rat. Sue wasn't too sure about including this as some are not so keen on this animal, and its continued presence here is debated, but it is still one of the mammals present on Sark, even if not indigenous. As it is prone to do, it is hiding away out of site on the rear of the hanging, if you happen to turn up the right-hand corner.

The Altar Frontal, utilising so beautifully the old materials, was dedicated by Revd. David Stolton at a service on 26th June 2022, when Sue was thanked for her amazing creativity and skill. It will enhance our worship, and delight visitors for years to come.