Church Champion Story: Angels of Blessing

Knitted Angels

Author: Sally Bates

Faith in Later Life Church Champion Sally, is the Associate Minister at Frinton Free Church in Essex, and leads a vibrant seniors ministry there. Here she tells us more about a charming initiative, which blessed hundreds of care home residents in their community, as well as those who made it happen.

Back in January 2023 I read an Anna Chaplaincy blog about a project to make and deliver knitted angels to local care homes. I contacted them and got hold of the knitting pattern from Gill Ford in Cheltenham who’d coordinated the project in her area.  And in the spring of 2023 I pitched the idea to our wonderful seniors’ group ‘Welcome Break’ which meets every Wednesday morning, as well as the wider church, and people started knitting!

Much as Gill reported in her blog last year, I’d underestimated how much people’s imagination would be caught by the idea…  The local Women’s Institute came to give a talk, and caught the bug themselves, providing us with 100s of angels… People recuperating from illness found knitting angels provided good therapy… One church member’s next door neighbour – with no connection to any church – knitted over 100 just by herself.

By the time Christmas came, we had over 500 angels.  We attached labels with a Bible verse and a message from the local churches: “God loves you”.  Six churches worked together to deliver one to every care home resident in the area (nearly 400 people).  In 13 out of 14 care homes, we also took a group to sing carols and share a simple gospel message as we distributed the angels.  Many people were visibly moved that someone would take the time and trouble to knit an angel just for them.

We had enough angels left over to give to guests and carers at our Dementia Café, and to each recipient of our Christmas Dinner delivery scheme on Christmas Day.  Of course we’ll never know the full impact either of making the angels or of receiving them, but we did hear a few encouraging stories: one person said the angel had prompted a spiritual breakthrough in a friendship, another said it was an answer to prayer for mental wellbeing and healing and a third said her husband (who lives with dementia) had smiled and named his angel ‘Molly’.

What a wonderfully simple yet powerful way to communicate the message of Immanuel, God with us.  So thank you for the idea, Gill, and maybe someone else will take up the baton in 2024?!


We’re grateful to Sally for sharing this lovely idea with us. Please pray for her and her team as they continue to serve older people in their community, and please pray for all the people who received an angel, may they come to know the Good News of Jesus heralded by an angel and the heavenly host on a starry night near Bethlehem.

If you’d like to start knitting angels for Christmas 2024, you can download the pattern here.

If there’s something you do in your church or community which is helping people to have faith in later life, we’d love to hear from you!

Readers with a heart for and a ministry among older people, are invited to become Faith in Later Life Church Champions so that we can support and resource you in your valuable role. Find out more here.