Where is God in the pandemic?

You are invited to participate in a group project to create a new altar frontal. We hope the whole congregation, of all ages, will take part – even if you think you’re “not artistic”!

The idea is to capture a sense of how the whole church responds to the question “Where is God in the pandemic?”

The Project

The plan is to make an altar frontal for use when we return to worship, showing where we saw or felt God’s presence in the pandemic (and if the answer is an angry “nowhere,” that’s fine too).

Each person will decorate a white cotton square with your idea of “Where is God in the pandemic”.

You can draw or write your ideas with fabric pen, or use a combination of images and words. If you have skills in embroidery, applique, patchwork, etc. – feel free to use them!

Just be sure that whatever materials you use can be washed without disappearing.

What do I need?

We hope each individual will decorate a square.

Just find a six and a half inch white cotton square (old sheets or old sheets might come in handy) and some fabric markers. 

Leave a quarter of an inch unmarked around the edge, for sewing. Here is what we have in mind:

When you’ve made your square, Margaret Pritchard Houston will sew all our squares together into our community altar frontal.

When do we need this?

Margaret needs your decorated squares by 15th JUNE.

Please email Margaret (email below) and she will send you the address to post them to.

If you need help

Fabric markers are available at many online retailers, including Baker Ross: https://www.bakerross.co.uk/fabric-pens. If you are not familiar with online shopping contact Margaret (email below) and she will send you some.

Likewise, if you need a white cotton square, contact Margaret (email below) and she will send that. 

Any questions?

If you have any questions, or if your fabric or markers haven’t arrived, you can email Margaret Pritchard Houston (by clicking on THIS LINK).

We look forward to receiving your contribution. Thank you for reading

The Hampstead Parish Church in Exile team

Doubting Thomas

A bit downbeat, this one: sorry.

Sometimes I feel entirely engaged by the online services and Zooms, and very grateful.

But sometimes I find myself utterly disconnected (no idea why).

Today’s reading (and sermon, which I’ve not watched yet) was about Doubting Thomas.

Ayla, on Facebook Live, projected Caravaggio’s powerful painting onto the wall of her home.

And I stared at the same computer I use to send invoices, read email etc, and sketched how it feels to be so wavering about the value of digital church:

NOTE: When I was baptised last year I took the name Thomas.

Hello Exile!

About this site


This is a very rudimentary effort to create a sense of congregation while the church is closed.

The Bible is full of stories of Exile, and that seemed like a good way to think about our situation during lockdown.

We (who? keep reading) don’t want to do this on our own, so please feel free to contribute, in any way you like.

We want to capture a sense of what life is like for all of us – good, bad, happy, sad, it’s all welcome.

To make this available as soon as possible, we’ve given ourselves permission to be a bit wonky and imperfect. Obviously, we extend the same permission to you.

If you want to submit anything, please let us know by sending an email to Ayla.

Ayla, Sheena and JP