Tributes paid to Barry minister Gurwin Marshallsea
TRIBUTES have been paid to a Barry minister who served in the church for more than 30 years.
Gurwin Marshallsea, who had been a pastor at both Elim Church and Coastlands Family Church, died aged 65 last Thursday (September 27).
He had been diagnosed with a brain tumour in October and had been undergoing treatment. He is survived by wife Denny, three children and four grandchildren.
Denny, of Buttrills Road, said the church was his 'passion' and he became a minister at the age of 30. After serving as a deacon in his hometown of Merthyr Tydfil, he went on to study at theological college in West Wales.
He then spent 24 years at the Elim Church in Barry, before joining Coastlands Family Church in 2005. He retired on his 65th birthday last year and handed the reins to pastor Mike Holmes.
During his time at Coastlands he was involved in a range of initiatives, including the formation of the Vale Foodbank, a cafe at the church and a nearby nursery, the Little People's Playground.
Gurwin's daughter Nicola Johnson said: "He was involved in numerous social action groups out of Coastlands, from the Foodbank to the Big Wrap."
The Big Wrap is an initiative where Christmas presents and hampers of food are donated to underprivileged children, sending out over 700 presents a year, and 45 food hampers last year.
Denny, 63, added: "He was very interested in what the church could do with the community. He used to say if you weren't relevant to the community there is no point being part of the church."
Gurwin sat on various committees and was a governor of Holton Primary school. He was also chaplain to former Barry Town Mayor Karl Kuhnell, who nominated him to receive a commendation from the Queen for over 30 years service as a minister. He was subsequently invited to Buckingham Palace for a garden party, as well as a reception at the Mayor's Parlour in Barry.
"I think he would have gone on for another 30 years if he had been able to," added Denny, who said her husband would be remembered for presiding over 'hundreds' of weddings and funerals in Barry.
"He was loved by everyone," she said.
"Every Christmas we would do a memorial service for everyone he had buried throughout the year, which was a nice way for people to remember their loved ones.
"His life was dedicated to encouraging people and building them up."
Nicola said her father would 'always see the best in everyone'.
"A lot of Welsh people would describe him as having 'hwyl', as he was very enthusiastic in his preaching," she said.
"He had an endless amount of time for people and would see the best in everyone."
Mike Holmes, pastor of Coastlands church, said: "I had known Gurwin for 17 years and he was a good friend to me. It was an honour to step into his role at Coastlands."
* Gurwin Marshallsea's funeral will take place at Coastlands Family Church next Tuesday (October 9) at 2pm.