Our Church and Parish
Revd Gary's message for Lent 2021 - to school staff, children and parents/carers
Monday 20th February 2021
Welcome back after a somewhat different and wet half term break in what is proving to be a challenging year on all levels. That said, the evenings are getting lighter, the snowdrops and daffodils are out (and crocuses too) and the Covid-19 vaccination programme is well underway. There is hope - and hope is a very Christian concept, in fact it’s central to our faith. Welcome to Lent 2021 too - Lent started on Wednesday 17th February, Ash Wednesday. I am so sorry not to have been with you in school for our pancake day races which would have happened in some form I am sure on Shrove Tuesday, if you were in school! I enjoyed my pancakes and I hope you did too. For more information on Lent, pop over to my YouTube channel for some videos I have uploaded for use by the schools. They need more views and likes! Look up Old Hills Malvern Churches on YouTube for regular collective worship and explanatory videos.
The entire world has been through a difficult, if not devastating, year with so many affected in rich countries and poor by the pandemic. For all of us, me included, we haven’t seen family unless it’s by video screen. Enjoying holidays has been different and most of us have had to share our homes together for months on end without a break. For some of us adults, work as well as family pressures have surfaced. No wonder there is so much talk about mindfulness and mental health.
Whilst we are turning a corner with the pandemic, and maybe lockdown easing as long as we continue to abide by the rules, let’s be kind to one another. We have all been through a lot and, as the experts remind us, this pandemic is not over yet. It has been a difficult journey, one in which we have all encountered rough seas. While some have weathered the storm in the safety of a large, sturdy ship, others have roughed the seas in dinghies and rafts. Acts of kindness, large and small, shine the light of hope through the darkness and reassure us that we are not on this journey alone.
And that is what Lent offers us in this year of continued pandemic: Hope. It is Jesus who is our hope (cf. St Paul’s letter to Timothy (1Timothy 1:1). In Jesus Christ risen, we gain strength and hope in a difficult journey. In Lent, we are invited to journey ever more closely with Christ, who is always with us. We do so through prayer, fasting, and giving to charity.
In prayer, we talk with Jesus: we pour out our heart to him, and we listen to his words of comfort. We are consoled by his presence. Fasting (giving up things) makes our relationship with Jesus quite real and helps us be in solidarity with those who are in need. As your Vicar , I have encountered so many parents who sacrifice quietly for their children as a matter of course. They do so, not because we Christians like to suffer. Rather, when we love someone, we don’t think twice about making sacrifices for them. Likewise, it is essential that our love for Jesus not remains simply an idea, but that it be concrete, symbolically sharing what we give up with others. This can be achieved through service to others or charitable giving. Something that genuinely pleases God is when we reach out to those in need– acting in kindness and giving hope. You could be supporting a charity or doing a good deed rather than giving something up. I have been promoting litter picking around our villages as the state of our verges and open spaces are a real embarrassment, especially with the new litter lout - the disposable face mask- being dumped everywhere. Or you could give to Comic Relief. Where can I get a red nose from?
In this Lent, I hope I am encouraging you all to bring hope to others through simple gestures of kindness, “words of comfort,” and through a daily practice of prayer, fasting, and giving. As we journey with Jesus through the desert these 40 days of Lent, we do so as a community of faith, Thus, we will “journey together in hope!”
I am looking forward to Zooming into your school’s Easter assembly very soon. Meanwhile, I hope you are enjoying the Lent Activity sheet.
With my prayers for you this Lent
Every blessing, Rev Gary
Lent 2021 Activity Sheet
Grapevine February & March 2021
Grapevine December 2020/January 2021
Grapevine October and November 2020
Rev'd Gary's new term Welcome Letter, September 2020
Revd Gary's Hand Prayer
Rev's Gary's monthly Pastoral letters
Revd Gary's blogs
The Parish of Guarlford and Madresfield with Newland
Madresfield Primary School is situated in the parish of Guarlford and Madresfield with Newland. Our church of St. Mary the Virgin is directly opposite the school, across a small but quite busy road. Revd. Gary Crellin is our Rector.
Church of St Mary the Virgin Madresfield Village
The present church building is particularly beautiful, designed by Mr. Frederick Preedy and dating from the mid-nineteenth century. The list on the church wall of Rectors goes back to the twelfth century. Only about 117 people live in Madresfield now.
The other Parish Church is about three miles away at Guarlford. That church is also St. Mary the Virgin.
Our parish is part of a United Benefice with the much bigger (in population) parish of Powick where there are churches at Powick and at Callow End. Each of those villages also has a Church of England School.
Welcome from YOUR Vicar
Hello, I am The Reverend Gary Crellin. I am the Vicar of two parishes that serve the communities of Powick, Callow End, Guarlford and Madresfield with Newland, here in this lovely part of Worcestershire – over the rivers and in front of the hills. I am reasonably new in post, having started in June 2018 and I am enjoying getting to know the people and places around my parishes.
First and foremost, I am here for all people in these parishes, regardless if you go to a church or not; have a faith or are struggling to believe. I would be most pleased to meet you to discuss anything that my faith and my churches can help you with. It could be a question about christenings, weddings or even handling a bereavement. You might want to pull me up on the Church’s role in society. Or you might want to find out more about Christianity. Of course, it would be good to see you in church, but as a parent of three daughters of recent school age, I know that getting to church on a Sunday morning may not be high on your list of priorities. A shame, but that’s life. But I can do something about it. I will bring church to YOU. In a way…..
My involvement with the three Church of England Schools - Powick, Madresfield and Callow End - will bring me into school, and you and your children into church. You, your child/children are part of a flourishing network of Church of England Schools delivering education and life experience to your children from a distinctive Christian (Anglican) perspective. Therefore, a vicar is going to be useful to have about. I have agreed a number of assemblies and services that will be creative and fun experiences and help you to understand and be part of the Christian values that we are going to experience and develop together, over your life time at the school. You see - I am going to be YOUR vicar for the next six years – if you go to church, or not. Enjoy!
I look forward to meeting you after assemblies, on the school gate , or around and about. Please say hello (I don’t bite). And if I can help you, or your families in any way, here are my contact details:
email@example.com Office - 01905 830270 Twitter - @oldhillsparish2