Photo church porch

Guarlford St Mary's

Benefice News - and Vicar's Blog

Rev Gary CrellinThis page was originally named News, but has been renamed Benefice News so as occasionally to include news not only about St Mary, Guarlford but also events at the other churches in our Benefice, namely St Mary Madresfield, St Peter Powick and St James, Callow End.

Please email the webmaster if you would like your photos and reports added to this page - schools regularly hold events in the churches in the Benefice but, for safeguarding reasons, photos are not included here.

Click to go to news index

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For a fuller account of activities in the Benefice see Rev Gary's Benefice Twitter at: @oldhillsparish2


Benefice website


Madresfield Tower Project

Posted 6th August 2022

For many years there has been an aspiration to install a toilet and kitchenette at St Mary Madresfield. Many years ago church warden and bell ringer Mick Levick drafted some outline plans but there was always a snag and little money.

Our previous Rector Rev Sue Irwin generously left a donation which was used to fund an architect to create a more detailed plan.

Now Rev Gary is able to report:-

A new project for the Tower at Madresfield was given the green light after a historic vote of confidence was given by the majority of the PCC to explore design and funding options for the ringing chamber, kitchenette, and WC.

Likewise, approval was given for the next stage of the future reordering of St James - a disabled/ramp and refashioned entrance to start, and a further update was given on our hopes for St Peter's.

Note: the PCC meeting was held at Madresfield on 20th July 2022.

Church warden Chris Bennett is taking the lead and will be talking to architect Philip Belchere in the near future.

The COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted 6th August 2022

Life in the UK was disrupted early in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic rapidly spread across the world from Wuhan in China. The UK went into lockdown in March 2020 and church activities were severely restricted for almost two year. On-line services using Zoom helped to get us through.

Pattern of services

Posted 19th July 2019

Services at the moment are not following the familiar pattern so do look at the new Benefice website to check what is going on.

There will be no service at Guarlford on 21st and 28th July

There will be an opportunity to discuss the future pattern of services in the parish at Madresfield on September 8th after the 11:00 am Patronal Festival for the Blessed Virgin Mary (Holy Communion)

A new website for the Benefice

Posted 17th July 2019

The new website for the four churches in the Benefice is now on line. There is a lot on it, so why not have a browse? Rev Gary would welcome your feedback.


Benefice website

Madresfield school end of year service

Posted 17th July 2019

A well attended end of year service was held in Madresfield church and the well in the churchyard was decorated for the occasion. It was a lively and yet reflective service but with some tears as the year six pupils are now moving on to their high schools. They were sent on their way with blessings from the Rev Gary and Good News Bibles donated by the PCC.

Easter 2019 activities

There was a lot going on in every church in the Benefice this  year, plus other social activities. On Easter Saturday we gathered at Madresfield club for a walk across fields behind Madresfield Court, returning past the Court via the long drive, for a cup of tea at the club.

Rear guard of walk

The younger members of the party strode ahead while a small rearguard strolled at a more leisurely pace and had a good chat.

Walk at Madresfield

Near the Court we found some benches in the shade of some large shrubs and were able to have a rest shielded form the hot sun.

Outside Madresfield Court

The rearguard in front of Madresfield Court

A special thank you to Jonathan and Lucy for permission to walk in the grounds, and Paul and Sue at the Madresfield Club for guiding us and providing refreshments.

Lent Group

The Guarlford and Madresfield Lent Group is meeting at Val Levick's. Thank you to Val for hosting us, and Ros for leading us and providing the biscuits.

Daffodil Sunday at Madresfield Court

Posted 26th March 2019

Last Sunday, the sun came out and the weather was dry, so visitors had a good time. Over £7,500 was raised. Many thanks to all our supporters who manned the gate, provided cream teas in the playroom and managed the car parking, for their hard work, including parents from Madresfield School and helpers from the Madresfield Early Years Centre. It was a team effort. Well done all.

Cafe Church at St James Callow End

Posted 26th March 2019

On 10th March a special service was held at St James called Cafe Church. We sat informally at tables with tea, coffee and cake, while hymns were sung and prayers said.

Chris Mesley spoke about The Malvern Debt Centre which it is planned to open in April 2019. This is part of the Christians Against Poverty charity founded in Bradford, Yorkshire, and the local initiative is being led by members of St Andrews Poolbrook.

Cafe Church at Callow End


To find out more, or offer help, the contact details are:

Chris Mesley Malvern Debt Centre Manager, Tel: 07444 481854




Bishop of York's Prayer for Brexit

Posted 8th December 2018

In this time of great uncertainty over BREXIT, Rev Gary relays an invitation from the Archbishop of York who says "please may I encourage you to join me in this Prayer Vigil as we work for peace and unity at this time".

God of eternal love and power, Save our Parliamentary Democracy; Protect our High Court of Parliament and all its members from partiality and prejudice, that they may walk the path of kindness, justice and mercy. Give them wisdom, insight and a concern for the common good. The weight of their calling is too much to bear in their own strength, therefore we pray earnestly, Father, send them help from your Holy Place, and be their tower of strength.

Lord, graciously hear us. Amen.


Advent and Rev Gary's Sermon podcast

A lovely candlit service was held at Madresfield to celebrate Advent on 2nd December. Lyndall from Powick came to play the organ and Chris and Alice very kindly offered a hot glass of mulled wine after the service.

Photo after Advent service 2018 at Madresfield


After the Advent service at Madresfield, courtesy of Rev Gary


Rev Gary mentioned that it had been his turn to record a 'Sermon Podcast'  for the Diocese. This was news to some of us, so here is a link to where the Podcasts can be found:


Diocese of Worcester Sermon Podcasts


Rev Gary's Advent 1 Podcast on 26th November 2018


A new website for the Benefice

Posted: 22nd November 2018

At the PCC meeting on 21st November, Rev Gary Crellin proposed the creation of a new website for the Benefice and its four churches, including a password protected area for administration. It is hoped this will be more closely integrated with social media, to facilitate communication with the younger generation, and the administrative function will give all those involved in the management of the churches a better view of what is going on.

Rev Gary has approached the company Quick by Design who built the Kings School Worcester website, and hopes to have the new website up and running by Spring 2019.

Remembrance Sunday 2018

On the 11th November there was a large congregation at Madresfield to mark the of the end of the Great War 100 years ago.

Memorial table

In memory of three casualties

The service was led by Ros Davis who spoke about the family background of three local man who died.

The Madresfield Bell Ringers, rang before the service, and later in the day as part of a nationwide remembrance by Bell Ringers.

Madresfield church

After the Remembrance service

Harvest Service at Madresfield

Madresfield church was beautifully decorated with maize for the Harvest service in October 2018.

Photo after service

Rev Gary greeting peope after the Harvest service

Looking towards the altar

 Showing decoration of the nave


Roger our organist having a chat after the service


Induction of Rev Gary Crellin to the Benefice

An important event happened at St Peter Powick last Sunday 20th May 2018 when a service was held, led by Bishop Graham of Dudley, to inaugurate the Reverend Gary Crellin to the Parishes of Powick and Guarlford and Madresfield with Newland.

Induction of Rev Gary Crellin

The service was well attended and afterwards participants were treated to tasty refreshments in Powick Village Hall.

Tea at Powick Village Hall

Tea at Powick Village Hall


Madresfield 150th Anniversary Service

On the 19th November 2017 a very special service led by the Bishop of Worcester was held at St Mary Madresfield to mark the 150th anniversary of the consecration of the church on 10th November 1867.

Bishop and choir

Bishop addressing the choir before the service


The service was well attended and afterwards the congregation was invited to refreshments at Madresfield Court. 

Congregation at St Mary Madresfield

Having a chat after the service



A new role for Rev Sue Irwin

Announcement on Sunday 22 January 2017

The Bishop of Worcester congratulates the Reverend Sue Irwin on her appointment to the office of Chaplain at St Oswald’s Hospital with some ministry at Worcester Cathedral. Bishop John is sure that all present will wish to join him in thanking Sue for her ministry as Vicar of Powick and Guarlford and Madresfield with Newland, and in wishing her every blessing for the next stage of her Christian ministry.

Bishop’s Office, The Old Palace, Deansway, Worcester WR1 2JE

Elim appeal for Syrian Refugees

Elim Missions based in West Malvern has started an appeal in aid of Syrian refugees. We have been told that a drop off point has been set up at the Sugarloaf Cafe opposite the Theological Centre; if anybody is willing to start work in their community or church and collect clothes (particularly winter and waterproofs), dental products, feminine hygiene products and dry foods that won't spoil and can be eaten without being cooked, then they can deliver them to the drop off point and Elim will make sure they are delivered. Please make sure that all clothes are clean, dry and bagged-up and pass any questions to Andy at e-mail:

Family friendly services at St Mary Madresfield

Posted: 8th July 2015

Currently, services which are particularly family friendly are held at our sister church, St Mary Madresfield.

Sunday Worship on the first Sunday of the month at Madresfield often includes a short period of discussion and a cup of tea or coffee. This is aimed at adults and older children, but everyone is welcome.

The parish has strong links with Madresfield C of E School located opposite the church, and parents are encouraged to join their children when events are held there.

A popular Childrens' Service for pre-school children and parents is held at 2:15 pm at Madresfield on occasional Mondays in term time, lasting about thirty minutes. Details can be found on the services page of the Guarlford village website.

A team of volunteers from the parish are part of the Open the Book project, and each week the team visits Madresfield C of E School to present Bible stories during assembly, often dramatizing them. These assemblies are very popular with the children, who enjoy being involved in telling the stories.

A new venture is 'Messy Church' for children and families on occasional Sundays.

Church Jubilee Gates Appeal

Posted 22nd November 2015

We have some strong new gates; a special thankyou to Don our churchwarden for organising that and all the work he does for the church.

Posted 29th May 2013

To all Friends of Guarlford Church:-

Visitors to St Mary's Church, Guarlford may have noticed that the church gates leading into Rectory Lane are in poor condition and are nearing the end of their useful life.

They have been patched up for a number of years but the time has come when the only way ahead is to replace them. These gates, along with the pair leading onto the main road, were donated by Geoffrey and Margaret Boaz many years ago, probably the late 1950's, and were probably replicas of the gates they replaced. It is likely that the decorative iron furnishings were salvaged from the previous gates

The gates leading onto the main road were stolen about 1995 and the gates now there were made by Stephen Cooper and his woodwork tutor.

The Archdeacon of Worcester, The Venerable Roger Morris, has authorised replacement of the existing Rectory Lane gates with replicas made in oak and re use of the existing decorative iron furnishings and since the new gates will be made and installed this year, the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty's Coronation, it is intended to mount a small plaque on the gates to that effect.

Custom built gates in oak will be very expensive and naturally any donations towards the cost would be very welcome. Any cheques should be made to Guarlford and Madresfield with Newland PCC, endorsed on the back Guarlford Church Gates and passed to the Rector or one of your churchwardens.

Don Hill, Churchwarden.

The Malvern Food Bank

Posted: 8th July 2015

The Malvern Hills foodbank is now up and running. It has its own web site and a depot in Spring Lane from where food is distributed.

If you click the News and Events button on the foodbank website you will see a list of items in short supply.

Non-perishable items for the foobank can be left in church and at other locations (see foodbank website).


Posted: 25 Feb 2013

At the 'Giving not Getting' Service at Madresfield on 2nd December we were told about the setting up of the Malvern Food Bank.

This project is being led by the Eden Church in Malvern Link together with Churches in Malvern and the Lyttelton Well.

What is it for

The Malvern Food Bank is being set up to help families in moments of dire need. For example families with no food waiting for a Social Security Benefit to be paid.

How can I help

The Malvern Food Bank relies on volunteers and food being donated by people of goodwill. Gifts can either be left at the back of the church after Sunday service and from there will be delivered to the Lyttelton Well, or gifts can be taken direct to the Lyttelton Well, which may be more convenient for some, being open all day.

Food taken to the Lyttelton Well and other collection points is delivered to a central warehouse from where aid is distriobuted.

How to get help

Families and single people needing help should contact Social Services or their church who will provide a referral to Malvern Food Bank.

Shopping list for Malvern Food Bank

The needs of the Food Bank are likely to change as the project develops, but here are some ideas.


Dried milk



Tea bags


Fruit juice in cartons with long date



Snack bars




Pasta suces

Tinned meat

Tinned fish

Tinned sponge puddings

Tinned tomatoes

Tinned vegetables

Tinned fruit

Tinned rice pudding

An extra tin in your weekly shopping will do it! Anyone can help - you do not need to be a church goer. For more information please contact either Eden Church in Malvern Link near the old fire station or the Lyttlelton Well.


News index

August 2022 - Madresfield Tower Project

Easter 2019 activities

May 2019 - May message

April 2019 - Pastoral message

March 2019 - Daffodil Sunday

March 2019 - Cafe Church

March 2019 - Pastoral message

Vicar's Blog - Epiphany Briefing

Bishop of York's Prayer for Brexit

Rev Gary's Advent message 2018

Advent service and Rev Gary's Sermon Podcast Advent 1

A new website for the Benefice

Remembrance Service 2018

Harvest service at Madresfield

Induction of Rev Gary Crellin at Powick

Madresfield 150th Anniversary Service

A new role for Revd Sue Irwin

Elim appeal for Syrian refugees

Family friendly service at St Mary Madresfield

The Malvern Food Bank


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