The vicar who hit the headlines for giving £10 away to members of his congregation to boost fundraising, has been appointed as Mission Team leader for the Diocese of Lincoln.
The Revd Richard Steel, will take up his new post in July and will lead on designing and delivering strategy for church growth and evangelism, under the direction of the Bishops of Lincoln and Grimsby.
“The diocese of Lincoln has recognised that it faces significant challenges in growing its churches and preaching the Gospel afresh in this generation and this place,” says Richard.
“I am very excited about this new role and feel it fits with the experience I have gained here,” he said. “But having been here for eleven years, it won’t be easy to leave,” he added.
During his 11 years in the parish Richard has led the church through a major redevelopment programme for the church buildings at Kirkheaton and worked with the people of the churches (St John’s Kirkheaton and St Bartholomew’s Grange Moor) and a series of colleagues to develop new activities and ways of reaching out into the communities of Kirkheaton, Grange Moor and Dalton. Initiatives such as the annual Arts and Christmas Tree Festivals, Community Bonfire and Fireworks and Christingle have now become fixed points in the local calendar.
In 2010 he led the production of a Community-Led Plan for Kirkheaton, and then became founder Chair of the new Community Association, Yetton Together, which formed out of this. He and his wife have, for the last few years, been acting as hosts to a variety of asylum seekers, through a local charity, DASH.
Most recently he became known, internationally, as the ‘Vicar who gave £10 notes away’ when he used the story of the Parable of the Talents as one fundraising initiative for the remodelling of the historic parish church to make it more suited to a wide range of worship and community events.
During his time in the parish he has seen the church grow in numbers and the range of activities and people come to, and grow, in faith.
He has chaired the Laneside Landfill Liaison Group for a number of years and been part of a variety of other community initiatives.
“Having been here for nearly 11 years it will be very hard to leave,” he says. “There are so many lovely people in the churches and community who have become good friends. We feel we have learnt so much and will take a lot with us.”
The Bishop of Grimsby, The Rt Revd Dr David Court, said "I am delighted that Richard is coming to the diocese, and I look forward to seeing him use his gifts alongside those of the people of our diocese in this important area".