Antependia and Banners
(Antependium: A decorative hanging for the front of an altar, lectern, or pulpit.)


This set was commissioned by the Worship and Music Committee of the Nelson United Church Board.
Designed by Gordon Mackie and delicately sewn by Sandy Gilfillan.
It was presented to the congregation on its 9th annivesary, July 4th, 2004.



How this Antependia Came To Be
Submitted by Carol Allen (October, 2004)

This project began about eight months ago when David announced to the Music and Worship Committee that the antependia needed replacing. Echoing the rest of the committee, I said auntie who? auntie what? The dictionary reveals that the word derives from the Latin ante meaning before, and pendere meaning to hang –thus, a covering for the front of an altar. David went on to explain that ours were beginning to wear badly, especially the "green" which is used most frequently through the year.

The altar cloths in the various catalogues we consulted were all around a thousand dollars just for the center portion. Consequently, David suggested it might be nice to create our own. The next step was to ask artists within our church family to create original designs. Those that agreed were Gordon Mackie, Tam Shields, Helen Friesen, Adrienne McMillan, and myself. If the request for design specs had been thrown out to the community, we would have had to pay commissions at commercial rates.

L. to R.: Carol Allen, Leah Grey, Adrienne McMillan,
Sandy Gilfillan, Gordon Mackie

The next step was to present these drawings to a group of people who actually would render the artwork on fabric. The Worship and Music Committee took their recommendations into consideration when they selected the winning design. As head of the committee, Leah consulted the rulebook and found that the Worship and Music Committee has final say in the selection of antependia. Gordon's design was chosen unanimously.

There remained for me then to find someone willing and capable to actually create the altar cloth in fabric. Weeks passed. Having only one handful of hair left and on the verge of despair, my friend Sheila Hart suggested Sandy Gilfillan. Cheerfully, she accepted the challenge. With continuing serendipity, Marie Berg donated a lovely piece of weaving which forms the background of the dove. Bill Costain replaced the rods and brackets for the lecturn hangings.

We hope you are pleased with the final result and the best part of this whole project for me was getting to know everyone involved a lot better and to appreciate each person's talent and time commitment - working together was a reaffirmation of everyone's kindness to me.



Christmas Antipendia


Intricate bead work by Charlotte Nelson

Last Spring the Worship and Music Committee approached me about making a new antependium for the Communion table with a motif signifying Christmas. They had some thoughts on the design and after further consultation with David and Janet and Judy Cameron we arrived at a design centering on a star with with light rays and concentric circles emanating out from it. The background was to be white.

So began the search for a textured fabric with a weave suitable to needle work.

A trip to Kelowna brought results and now the the task of enlarging the original 9"x11" design and transferring it to the fabric. Next came the selection of threads and beads in golds and greens to capture the advent colours and draw one's eye to the central star which heralds the advent of Jesus' birth.

The colours and design were given final approval and the embroidery, needle work and beading began.

Included in the work were matching pieces for the pulpit and lectern.

The project took about 250 hours over two months. There were challenges as always with stitchery but it was a pleasure and a priviledge to make these antependia for our church.

I hope as they grace their respective places that they will inspire our congregation to be enriched with a feeling of deep gratitude for the precious gift God has given us all in Jesus Christ.

A final word of thanks for the beautiful bouquet of roses presented to me after the antependia were dedicated.

Charlotte Nelson
November 2010










Chancel Banners

Made by Bob Emory






Seasonal Sanctuary Banners


Pentecost Banners



created by Leah Gray, December 2005


Advent / Christmas Banners





Lent / Easter Banners