Is the COVID Grinch going to steal Christmas? No doubt it will try, but the Christmas message of hope can’t be stolen that easily. As the first Christmas angels went out to proclaim the message of hope to those who were living in fear and uncertainty, this Christmas they will be spreading the message once again across Wellington and the surrounding villages.
The Angels of Hope installations have been put up outside St. Johns church in Wellington and across the surrounding area to remind people of the hope we have in Christ.
Revd Richard Kelley Curate at St John’s, who first came up with the idea for the Angels of Hope said: “Church congregation members have found this year as hard as everyone else and church, one of their key communities, has been distant and often absent. This is a reminder that their church community is still there, able to work with God to reveal the light in the darkness, both to themselves and to others.
“For the community at large this is an offer of hope through a gift of light-hearted joy. Already the churchyard at St John’s is filled every evening with families taking photos and children playing amongst the angels – and it’s not even finished yet!”
The whole community has come together to flood the area with angels, to share the hope and joy of Christmas time. They have been knitting, gluing, sticking, painting stones and making lavender bags. Small Angels of Hope have been given to the residents of local care homes and school children have made cards for residents to let them know they are not alone this Christmas.
Richard says including care homes and their residents in the project has been especially important.
“We know from our own congregations and our contact with care homes that this year has had a devastating effect on the wellbeing and mental health of those living in care. We cannot fix this but we can offer something and that’s what we’re doing.
There are angels everywhere; in shop windows, parks, gardens and the church yard. They’ve been knitted, made from recycled materials, paper, and wood.
The angels come both pocket sized and big. 120 big angels stationed around the town each carry a QR code link through to Christmas videos and activities. A map shows all of the places where three or more of angels have gathered to encourage people to find as many as they can.
People have also been asked to nominate someone who has been their angel, inspiring them, caring for them and bringing hope in a difficult year. Each day of Advent Rev Selina Garner from St John’s will give a gift to those nominated Everyday Angels in the church and community. Revd Richard sums up what the whole project means:
“Hope is always needed, and the gospel is always relevant, but this year in particular has been a unique kind of darkness as it has shut the most vulnerable people in society away from the most wonderful part of being human: the ability to form and enjoy relationships of love, from family and friendship, to the formal contact with carers and the kindness of strangers. This project doesn’t even come close to rectifying this, but it does offer a timely reminder of the joy of what has been and will be again; much like the baby in the manger it is not an offer of rescue today but a glinting light at the end of the tunnel.”