Our Church and Parish
Dear Parents / Carers, Children and Staff
I hope everyone is keeping well. I would like to thank all of you that helped in the Christmas Shoebox collection. They are still coming in and I can’t give you a final figure as yet, but I will let you know more when they have all been gathered in and delivered to the charity warehouse in Evesham.
We are also getting ready to explain and celebrate the true Christmas Presence with our village trail around Madresfield on the 11-12th December - coinciding with our Christmas Tree festival at Madresfield Church. I do hope that you will be able to safely visit this picturesque village to look at the Christmas Story from a different perspective. See the leaflet from Vicky/Kay and associated Facebook posts for more information.
Watch out - the (knitted) angels are about and coming soon.....
So lots to look forward to and I haven’t even mentioned the church services yet.....
To truly enjoy Christmas we need to have a good Advent first. It is a short season that can be made beautiful when we get into its rhythm – that of watching, waiting, listening and looking forward to the coming of the special one – Jesus. The actual Word Advent means coming or waiting.
Every Advent is different - it is a time for new beginnings, and not surprisingly it marks the start of the Church’s New Year. A good way to get into the rhythm of Advent is in making a little time everyday to gather as family for prayer and reflect on what’s going on in your life - or just to be together in love. Rather than opening a door on an Advent Calendar, try opening the door on prayer. It’s easy! I am writing as we also approach the Feast of St. Andrew (30th November) , the apostle in the Gospels who introduced people to Jesus. One of the many privileges of being a parent is in introducing your child to Jesus in prayer. Try lighting an Advent Candle to count down the days to Christmas. If you have access to your baptism candle, use that too - and don’t forget the gift of silence! It may be difficult but give it a go!
Later on in Advent, Christmas Church service information will be circulated with times of Services over the Christmas period, including Crib services on Christmas Eve at Powick, Madresfield and Callow End churches. Looking forward to seeing you then in person rather than via Zoom!
I wish you all a very happy and blessed Advent as we prepare for the Feast of Christmas.
Prayers for the New School Year
For the children:
Lord Jesus, I ask for Your help as I begin this new school year.
Allow me to experience Your presence in the many blessings You put before me.
Open my eyes to the new challenges and exciting opportunities that this new school year brings.
Open my heart and mind to new friends and new teachers.
Give me a generous spirit to be enthusiastic with my studies and courage to accept new opportunities.
Help me to be attentive to my teachers and let me experience Your presence in my new friends.
Jesus, inspire me to do my best this year! Amen
We are grateful for the resilience, innovation and determination our children, teachers, school staff, Governors, parents and support staff demonstrated and developed over the past year. We begin this new school year in prayer because we are anxious for our students to resume school in person, yet still be safe from COVID-19.
We pray for a better year; for a safe return to classrooms; for the health of students, teachers and school staff; for our Governing Bodies under pressure to make difficult decisions; and for parents exhausted by the uncertainty and constantly changing plans.
Help us, Holy God, to bear with one another in love as we face the new challenges this year will inevitably bring. We pray that our teachers return rested and resourceful to face any new disruptions. We ask that the hard lessons students learned since the start of this pandemic will give them the confidence and courage to face whatever lies ahead.
With confidence in your ability to do more than we ask or imagine, we pray that faith will deter fear and hope will bring new life.
Bless us, Holy God, in our efforts to protect and care for our school children of whatever age - those starting school new or returning to a new year group so they can focus on their learning. In Christ’s name we pray,
Lord’s Alive May 2021 Report
We hope you had a wonderful Easter and are enjoying the brighter (although not necessarily warmer!) weather as we journey towards Ascension Day and then onwards to Pentecost.
Before you broke up for the Easter holidays, we sent you the Bible Society’s ‘Seriously Surprising’ Easter trail activity which focuses on the days following Christ’s death and the amazement at his resurrection. Because of the school holidays, we decided to postpone our April online service until May when we will be looking at some of the greatest transformations ever: Jesus’ resurrection, his ascension into Heaven, the disciples being filled with the Holy Spirit and Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus.
God reveals himself through cloud, wind, fire and bright light - I wonder how well we can replicate those online?!
Zoom joining details will be available on Facebook and via the schools in due course. Please zoom in if you can!
Kay and Vicky, ALM Children and Youth Work
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:
firstname.lastname@example.org Office - 01905 830270 Twitter - @oldhillsparish2