Church initiative means villagers can expect an angel dropping through their door

Date: Friday 10th November 2017
The Rev .Tim Cooke with some of the knitted angels.
The Rev .Tim Cooke with some of the knitted angels.

AS well as Christmas cards and parcels dropping through the letterbox over the festive season, residents of Stainton and Dacre should also expect a delivery of something of an angelic nature.

With their angels (left to right) are Jane McGuinness, Eileen McLean, Sue Braithwaite and Ann Bowns with their angels.
With their angels (left to right) are Jane McGuinness, Eileen McLean, Sue Braithwaite and Ann Bowns with their angels.

Hundreds of hand-knitted angels, which will be blessed at church, will be posted throughout the villages as a gesture of good will over the festive season.

The project was the brainchild of the Rev. Tim Cooke, Penrith Methodist Circuit minister. Last year, he was given a hand knitted Christmas angel decoration and the kind gesture stuck with him,

While at a Stainton church meeting, where ways of reaching out to the community were being discussed, he suggested knitting angels. He said that as members of the congregation wanted to contribute to village life, he thought it would be the ideal activity to bring people together.

“We talk a lot about wanting to reach out into our community and bless our community with the love we believe God has for us and each other,” he said.

It was first suggested that enough angels be knitted for Stainton School pupils, but the idea “snowballed” to a suggestion for 700.

Mr. Cooke said the congregation at St. Andrew’s Church, Dacre, then got involved as well as local clubs and craft groups. Relatives from the area, and also from further afield, like Scotland, also got on board and it was not long before the knitters had surpassed the target. There are now more than 850 knitted angels made by more than 50 people.

At the beginning of December, a carol concert is to be held for village school children and, during that service, the angels will be blessed. Later in the month, church volunteers will drop them off at homes in Stainton, Dacre and possibly Newbiggin — depending on how many of the colourful creations there are.

“If we find we have more angels, we will find people to bless them with,” said Mr. Cooke.

A small package, containing an angel and a Christmas note sending festive wishes, will be hand posted.

“In the same way it was the angels that brought the good news to Mary that she was to have a baby, in the same way the angels announced the good news on the arrival of Jesus to the shepherds, we want to pray that these angels will be a way of bringing good news and blessings to people of the community,” said Mr. Cooke.

The project has captured the imaginations of villagers, especially the older generation.

“Although sometimes we think there’s very little we can do, I think people have been energised by seeing this and thinking ‘actually, we can all do something’,” he added.

Mr. Cooke, who has been a minister in Cumbria for two years, said it was the first time anything on this scale had taken place over the Christmas period during his time in the county. He joked that there was a burden on him of coming up with an idea as successful next year.

“I feel very overwhelmed by the response and the fact that people from all over have said they want to get involved and help. It’s heartening to see the support for wanting to help other people,” he added.