Who we are

We are an energetic, outward and forward-looking Church of England congregation.  We use a modern Catholic liturgy based on an inclusive, liberal theology.  The parish is the largest in the Malvern deanery in terms of population, if not of surface area, and continues to grow steadily.

The community we serve

The churches of Malvern Link with Cowleigh have, since their establishment, embraced Catholic styles and traditions of teaching and worship.  Our involvement in the community has never stopped at the church door, and we seek ways to provide pastoral as well as spiritual support to the community at large.

There are currently five schools in the parish and we support them all, either corporately or as individuals, in a variety of ways ranging from school services and assemblies, membership in their governing bodies and voluntary support to extracurricular clubs and activities.

Belonging, not just inclusion

Here at Malvern Link with Cowleigh (MLWC) we’re members of Inclusive Church. In fact, I’d go as far to say that we’re proud members of Inclusive Church. However, we see inclusion not as a destination, but as a continual journey.

One of the joys of being one of the many churches in Malvern (of which the most famous is probably Malvern Priory) is that we are all diverse and there is a lot of on offer for people of different persuasions. However, as far as we know, we’re the only ones who are registered members of Inclusive Church. Now, this isn’t to say that the other Malvern churches aren’t inclusive – it’s just that for us, it is a key part of our identity. We’d probably put ourselves in the Liberal Modern Catholic part of the Church of England (meaning that we think that the sacraments of Baptism and Holy Communion are key parts of our Christian life together) and we would, as a church, remain committed on making the church a place for all.

I’d like to go one stage further though and argue that we need to move beyond inclusion, to belonging. Feeling included is great, but it’s not quite as a good as belonging. Belonging means that you’re home. Our aim at the moment is to find ways of being church during this current Covid-19 crisis – and more and more people in Malvern are watching our church services online. Yet our priority needs to be finding ways of not just connecting with those people, but helping them feel that they belong.

Maybe you’d like to join us on this journey?

Meet the team

Photo of Malvern Link with Cowleigh, St Matthias Church, Reverend Phillip Johnson

The Reverend Phillip Johnson

Ordained minister in the Church of England, formerly an actor, theatre director, teacher and movement analyst. Specialising in teamwork development and the organisation of space to foster creativity and idea generation. In church work I focus on communication issues and church growth strategies.

Photo of Malvern Link with Cowleigh, St Matthias Church, Sue Maxfield-Phillips

Sue Maxfield-Phillips

Photo of Malvern Link with Cowleigh, St Matthias Church, Allen Hudson

Allen Hudson

Allen grew up in Malvern, leaving at nineteen to go to Liverpool University. His career has been in education, as a teacher, a school advisor, a service manager and a strategic lead in local authority children’s services. He is passionate about inclusive provision for those with special educational needs and…

Photo of Malvern Link with Cowleigh, St Matthias Church, Eileen Tomlin

Eileen Tomlin

Eileen Tomlin trained as a Primary School teacher specializing in music. When she took early retirement and had more opportunity to devote time to church activities, she trained as a Reader (Licensed Lay Minister) and was licensed in 2005. Her main ministry has always been with older people, visiting those…

Photo of Malvern Link with Cowleigh, St Matthias Church, Deb Cook

Debs Cook

Debs grew up locally and went to the Chase High School before going to London to train to be a speech and language therapist. She has since lived and worked, as either a therapist or a teacher, in Blackburn, Bristol and later Birmingham where she met her husband Mark.  They…

Photo of Malvern Link with Cowleigh, St Matthias Church, Helen Laird

Helen Laird

Helen lives in Worcester with her husband Jamie and their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel called Tilly, who takes them on nice long walks, often in Malvern.   Before working with Worcester Diocese, Helen was a children’s and youth worker for over ten years.  She currently works as part of the Calling…

Photo of Malvern Link with Cowleigh, St Matthias Church, Philippa Lowe

Philippa Lowe

Formerly fundraiser for both national and regional charities, Philippa now combines motherhood with volunteering for MLWC and is also an ACO for the National Garden Scheme in Worcestershire. In 2020 she started exploring ordination and is relishing becoming more involved with all aspects of parish life. Degrees from London and…

Photo of Malvern Link with Cowleigh, St Matthias Church, Tim Cook

Tim Cook

Tim is a first class graduate of Leeds College of Music and plays in established original bands including Necktr, Jermaine and the Blue Flames and his own band – TC and the Groove Family. Tim coordinates all our Arts activities at SPARC (St Peter’s Arts Church) and is determined to…

Photo of Malvern Link with Cowleigh, St Matthias Church, Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Prof. Peter Johnson studied piano and organ with Herbert Sumsion at Gloucester Cathedral,  read music at Cambridge and took his doctorate from Oxford.  At Birmingham Conservatoire he set up an innovative Honours degree programme for performers, and a thriving research department.  Church posts have included Holy Trinity Coventry (1975-79) and…

Photo of Malvern Link with Cowleigh, St Matthias Church, David Bryson

David Bryson

David Bryson is a pupil of David Goode at Eton College. Now 17, he decided to be an organist when he was two and started lessons with Gerdi Troskie at six. He started playing for public worship when he was eight and was the first serving chorister to give an…

Photo of Malvern Link with Cowleigh, St Matthias Church, Barbara Johnson

Barbara Johnson

Barbara was raised in California, received a Bachelor’s in Music (cello performance) from UC Irvine and moved to the UK in 2001.  The majority of her working life has been spent in customer-facing roles as a technical consultant and salesperson for business intelligence software firms, which afforded her with significant…

Mark Cook

Mark has lived and worshipped in the parish for 16 years, having moved here from Handsworth (Birmingham) with his wife Deb and their children, Hannah and Tim. He has been described as a “quintessentially broad Anglican”, which he is quite happy to embrace. He is a lawyer who advises people…

Anne Hancox

Born in Lancashire, Anne trained as a Speech and Language Therapist at University College London. She worked in the NHS for 41 years specialising initially in Paediatric Learning Disabilities and for the last 30 years, Adult Learning Disabilities [ALD] including Dementia. Having retired from the NHS in December 2015 she…

David Sims

David Sims is emeritus professor of organizational behaviour at City, University of London, where he was Associate Dean and Head of the Faculty of Management. His research was on the place of stories in working life, some of which was applied to churches in Roberts, Vaughan S and Sims, David…

Richard Tandy

Sue Tandy

Mike Hancox

Mike was born in Birmingham and was a Sales Manager for AMP (now Tyco Electronics) until taking early retirement in January 2007.  In 2007 he also completed a training course to become a Chaplaincy Volunteer at Worcester Royal Hospital and went on to be licenced as a Reader (LLM) in…