Church links and information
Pentecost was originally the end of a season of Jewish festivals known also as the Feast of Weeks and happens fifty days after Easter Sunday. In the bible the story of what happened after Jesus’ death and resurrection is told in the Book of Acts. It was written by a doctor, Luke, and it starts like this:
Dear Theophilus, in the first volume of this book I wrote on everything that Jesus began to do and teach until the day he said good-bye to the apostles, the ones he had chosen through the Holy Spirit, and was taken up to heaven. After his death, he presented himself alive to them in many different settings over a period of forty days. In face-to-face meetings, he talked to them about things concerning the kingdom of God. As they met and ate meals together, he told them that they were on no account to leave Jerusalem but “must wait for what the Father promised: the promise you heard from me. John baptized in water; you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit. And soon.”*
The last words of Jesus that Luke records are…. “when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be able to be my witnesses in Jerusalem, all over Judea and Samaria, even to the ends of the world.” So, they waited and they hid away from the authorities in case they would be punished, or even killed, because they had followed Jesus. Lots of people from all over the known world had come to Jerusalem for the Feast of Pentecost and in Acts chapter 2 it says:
When the Feast of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Without warning there was a sound like a strong wind, gale force—no one could tell where it came from. It filled the whole building. Then, like a wildfire, the Holy Spirit spread through their ranks, and they started speaking in a number of different languages as the Spirit prompted them. (The Message: Acts 2:1-4)*
Some bible translations say that it looked as if they had tongues of fire on their heads. People who were listening didn’t understand what was going on because they were from so many different countries but they understood what Jesus’ friends were saying, and they were talking about God and Jesus. Some people thought they were drunk but Jesus’ friend Peter preached the first sermon, explaining who Jesus was and over 3000 people became Christians that day. It was the start of the church and churches across the world remember those events and celebrate Pentecost today. And it goes from this little sect of believers who followed a Jewish rabbi from Nazareth who died and rose again, and suddenly the church breaks forth into the culture. Suddenly it is an unstoppable force that no one can really deny any longer.
In the bible people try to explain what God is like and sometimes pictures are used for that. No one picture can explain God (in fact no amount of pictures could) but in Acts there are two things to note: the noise of the wind and the flames. The loud noise like a storm is about God being very powerful and moving where and when he wants to. He can’t be contained. The flames are a sign of God’s presence. Jewish people could look back in their history to Moses who encountered God in a bush that appeared to be burning but it was the presence of God. When they were leaving slavery in Egypt God guided them in a pillar of fire. That’s why you’ll see churches using decorations that look like flames – it’s a reminder that even today people can still experience the presence of God. The Reverend Gary Crellin
(*the Bible readings are from a modern translation of The Bible called The Message)
By the time you read this we will be fast approaching the Coronation of King Charles III and all the associated celebrations of that great and historical event. And we get another Bank Holiday too and Katy Perry is in concert for The King at Windsor Castle (there are others, but I am a bit of a Katy Perry fan....)
We will also have passed the significant date of 23rd April - St George's Day. George, Patron Saint of England. It is his red cross on a white background which is the national flag of England and part of the Union Jack, the national flag of the United Kingdom. Some of you may have seen it proudly waving from our church flag poles at Easter - they will soon be replaced by the Union Flag (hopefully flown the right way up) as we approach the Coronation of King Charles III.
It does not look as if much is happening across the parishes to mark this historic occasion, which is a shame. When I was a lad at school, the Silver Jubilee of the late Queen was marked with street parties and all manner of celebrations. The Platinum was quiet too but that may be more to do with the weather which pushed a number of activities undercover in Powick and Madresfield. Guarlford managed a street party and will do so again at the weekend for the Coronation. Your church will be hosting a special service on Sunday 7th May 2023 at Powick from 11am, followed by a bring & share lunch. Maybe you can get involved in your home communities too by taking part in volunteering projects in the local community, as part of the Big Help Out initiative.
Whether you are watching on your TV or phone, on Big Screens, or lining the streets in London, I wish you a joyful time of celebration. I close with two prayers that the Church of England have been released for use:
A Prayer for the The King
Almighty God, the fountain of all goodness,
Bless our Sovereign Lord, King Charles,
And all in authority under him; that they may order all things
In wisdom and equity, righteousness and peace, to the honour of your name,
And the good of your Church and people;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A Prayer for the Royal Family
Almighty God, the fountain of all goodness,
bless, we pray, Camilla the Queen Consort,
William Prince of Wales, the Princess of Wales,
And all the Royal Family.
Endue them with your Holy Spirit; Enrich them with your heavenly grace;
Prosper them with all happiness;
And bring them to your everlasting kingdom;
Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen
With love & prayers
A message for children, parents and staff.
Time for Pancakes?
Getting ready for Lent
Why are pancakes so popular? Well, Shrove Tuesday is the day before the Church officially starts a period of fasting, praying , confessing our faults and collecting for good causes - a season called Lent. To literally mark the start of Lent, we have a special service called Ash Wednesday (this year - 22nd February, 1230pm at Powick Church) - and yes, I do mark worshippers with a sign of the Cross on ash on their foreheads. It doesn’t hurt but is an outward facing sign of our faith.
Back to pancakes and Shrove Tuesday - the tradition of making and eating pancakes before the start of Lent goes back to Anglo Saxon times (a special prize given to the class that can tell me the time period that we recognise as Anglo-Saxon times...). The church bell would sound out, or toll, to call all the villagers to come to church for Confession - an opportunity to say Sorry to God for all the wrong things that were done/said . At this service, they would be SHRIVEN or forgiven/absolved from their sins (sin is a difficult word to grasp, but in essence it is where we distance ourselves from God’s promises and will for us. Even simpler - a sin is that feeling inside when we know or appreciate we have done something wrong). The word Shriven gives us Shrove Tuesday. When the worshippers got home, they would eat up their last eggs and fat, and making a pancake was the easiest way to do this. For the next 47 days, they pretty well starved themselves. Fancy doing that next week?
Pancakes feature in cookery books as far back as 1439, and today's pancake races that happen up and down the country originated in Buckinghamshire. They commemorated an incident that happened in 1445 . A woman was making pancakes when she heard a shriving bell from the church calling her to confession. Afraid she would be late, she ran to the church in a panic, still in her apron and still holding the pan, tossing it as she went to stop the pancake from sticking or burning! A pancake race is commemorated at the cathedral by the Choristers and Cathedral priests - running around the cloisters. You may see it on Midlands Today, it nearly always makes the TV.
Flipping pancakes is also centuries old. a poem from Pasquils Palin in 1619 says:
'and every man and maide doe take their turne,
And tosse their pancakes up for feare they burne'
Some people have noted that the ingredients of pancakes can be used to highlight four significant things about this time of year in terms of the Christian Faith and the Church: the eggs stand for creation, flour is the staff of life, while salt keeps things wholesome, and milk stands for purity.
It's such a shame that Shrove Tuesday is bang in the middle of half term. Before the Covid pandemic, I started a Vicar’s Pancake Race with mini frying pans given to the class that won in each of our schools. Hopefully we can do this together next year. Shrove Tuesday is always 47 days before Easter Sunday and falls between 3rd February and 9th March. Let's find out more about Lent after your return from a restful and peaceful half term break. Best wishes - Rev Gary
With the desperate situation after the earthquake in Turkey and Syria, please try and support the humanitarian effort by giving to the DEC appeal- Christian Aid is one of the charities raising funds to help those in need. We have started a collection awareness in church on Sunday . Please give what you can. For those without online access, telephone, postal and bank option are also available.
Christmas Tree Festival
Reverse Advent Calendar - message from Rev Gary
Remembrance - message from Rev Gary
Letter from Rev Gary - new school year
The Great Teddy Bear Zip Wire
Kite Night - 13th May 3.15- 4.15pm
Spring Charity Concert - Madresfield Church
Knitted Bible Exhibition, Powick Church.
Lord's Alive half term event - Wonder Zone
Lord's Alive - report and upcoming events
Seasons of Change - planned events for the parishes this year (please note the Christingle service has been cancelled due to the increase in COVID cases))
Happy Epiphany - A Message from Rev Gary to Pupils, Families and Staff in our Three Church Schools
I do hope you all had a good Christmas and are looking forward to the new year. One of my Christmas highlights was the three Crib services held on Christmas Eve in Powick, Callow End and Madresfield: varyingly attended but still a good opportunity to explore the nativity and Christmas story with our crib scenes and willing families. If you came, I do hope you enjoyed it. If you missed it, make a date for the afternoon of next Christmas Eve. See you there!
Today, the 6th January 2022, we mark Jesus’s role for all humanity through his visit from the Magi and his baptism - which we will explore on Sunday 9th January additionally in church at Callow End (9.30am) and Madresfield (11am).
There is a wonderful tradition of the faithful receiving chalk from their local Vicar - if you come to church next Sunday, I will give you some. Alternatively, you can engage with this tradition yourself in the following way. I did start doing this in 2019 but the pandemic got in the way. It's time to go for it again. The tradition asks for families to get some chalk, or create a little paper sign of the following, and chalk or stick a sign on their front door lintels (or on a wall nearby).
What follows is an Epiphany blessing which incorporates the traditional names of the Magi, and the Year of the Lord which we have just started:
Here are the names associated with the Three Kings/Three Wise Men or Magi. Always helpful, Mums and Dads etc, to know for a quiz....
Here's what you do:
FIRST write their initials, thus:
C + M + B
add the date of the current year, with the numbers either side of the initials:
20 C ✠ M ✠ B 22
This shows our willingness to offer hospitality and shelter to those who, like the Magi on their journey to Bethlehem, love and seek our Lord Jesus Christ.
The letters C, M, B, also represent the words ‘Christus Mansionem Benedicat’. Post what you think this means on my Facebook page!
When you have either put up your little sign or chalked the "formula on your wall/door, PRAY one of the following prayers:
- May all who come to our home this year rejoice to find Christ living among us; and may we seek and serve, in everyone we meet, that same Jesus who is Lord, forever and ever. Amen.
- Lord God of heaven and earth, you revealed your only-begotten Son to every nation by the guidance of a star. Bless this house and all who inhabit it. Fill us with the light of Christ, that our concern for others may reflect your love. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.
- Lord our God, bless this household. May we be blessed with health, goodness of heart, gentleness, and the keeping of your law. We give thanks to you, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, now and forever. Amen.
Happy Epiphany to you all
Best wishes and my blessings on you all as we start a new year and new term.
Christmas Crib Service - Callow End Church
24th December 2021 at 4pm
All are welcome to this lovely family service.
New Year Resolutions Service
2nd January at 09:30
For more information about these and other church services please visit the website:
An Advent message from Rev Gary;
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.
Understanding Halloween - a church perspective
Lord's Alive October Service
A thank you from Rev Gary.
Just a quick thank you, from me and the Foodbank for the splendid collection from the Harvest service. As well as receiving £30 towards our cash collection for Mission Morogoro, we amassed an amazing 45.46kg of donated food for the Malvern Hills Foodbank.
Lord's Alive report for October
Lord's Alive Report for September
Lord's Alive July Report
Lord's Alive Pentecost Service
Lord's Alive - May 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
Lord's Alive Easter Service
Lord's Alive Easter Trail
Lord's Alive April Report
Mothering Sunday Service - Sunday 14th March 2021
Kay and Vicky would like to invite you all to our first Lord's Alive zoom service celebrating Mothers' Day. The service will start at 4pm and last around 45 minutes. Revd Gary will be in control of the zoom and we have some brilliant helpers from Madresfield and Powick Primary Schools fro the readings and prayers.
There will be a chance to sing and dance along to a favourite iSingPOP song as well as a quick round the house scavenger hunt.
The zoom link has been sent to all parents, please contact the office if you have not received it.
A message for Lent 2021 - to the school staff, children and parents/ carers from Reverend Gary Crellin - Vicar of Powick, Callow End, Guarlford and Madresfield - The Old Hills Malvern Parishes
Powick Primary School
Callow End Primary School
Madresfield Primary School
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 covid19 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
Children and Families - Lord's Alive
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, 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, but I am really looking forward to getting known and finding out about 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 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 upon 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
Best wishes and blessings to each of you