At our monthly Bacon Butty Coffee mornings we have several lovely ladies who knit baby blankets for the Charity 'Bliss' for Premature babies, while they chat and enjoy their coffee. In October last year, Rev Ruth sent me an email with a pattern and suggested that for our November Butties morning, we might like to knit little angles which could be blessed at our Carol Service and then be left around the town for folk to pick up.
So, we mentioned it and our knitting crew swopped blanket squares for little angels. The simple aim was to share God's love and bless the community in public places with a Christmas message of hope, love, joy, or inspiration attached via a small tag to each angel and distributed around for others to find.
Well, the ladies in our church are great knitters and very soon the angels came flying in – all sorts of shapes, colours and sizes! But the exciting thing was word spread through the town that the Methodists were knitting Angels and suddenly we were asked by a couple of people from our Parish Church – St John's – could they knit some for us. Well, of course – Yes please.
And then a lady contacted me and said she'd like to knit some angels and I said – Of course – Yes Please. Her son owned one of the shops on the High Street.
And then another time, I came home one day to find a little bag of knitted angels hooked on to our front door. So this little initiative which began at our November Bacon Butties had enthused and inspired not only our church and the Parish Church but people within the wider community as well.
Through various posters and via Bacon Butties we put a deadline for receipt of them of 7th December giving us time to tag them all up with messages like:
A Gift of Love
In Him is Life
Light of the World, There is Hope, and I Bring Good News.
The total number we had was over 130 and they were placed in baskets ready for blessing at our Carol Service. They also decorated our tree and were spread along our Communion Rail for all to see. Visitors took them home and one visitor took hers back to her home church in a small village near Hanover in Germany with a blessing from Alresford. That's how far God was working last Christmas. In return they sent a star from their tree to ours.
Over the following few days the remaining angels were placed on benches and signposts and road names around the town and a couple of leftover baskets were taken into one of our shops where the willing shopkeeper handed out an angel to each of her purchasers if they correctly answered the question on the poster put up in her window which asked: "In the Christmas Story what was the name of the Angel God sent to Mary to tell her she would give birth to a baby boy and he would be called Jesus."
I pondered hard about how this activity had deepened my faith, and can't with any honesty say it had done that in any sort of tangible way. But it did show me how God's Spirit moved through our town and further afield. I can say how I was so encouraged by the willingness of everyone who took part and the enthusiasm with which it was received in our own church and the wider community.
And I can say that it has taught me not to stifle God. We need to give God room to move, even in simple things. Its taught me there are all sorts of ways we can spread God's message of love, but we need to be adventurous in our thinking and we have to then leave the outcomes to God. Who knows where the mother of the specialist wine merchant will be led, or the person who was inspired by the idea and left little angels hanging on our door, or one of the congregation in the little church in Hanover, or indeed any one of those people who picked up an angel in the town or was given one from the stationery shop. Let us continue to pray for all of those people.
CAROLYN WOOD IS A MEMBER AT ALRESFORD METHODIST CHURCH