The Revd Richard Steel, Rector of Kirkheaton will be leaving Kirkheaton at the end of June. He has been appointed Mission Team Leader for the diocese of Lincoln and will be the lead officer responsible for supporting and delivering, a strategy for church growth and evangelism..
“My main tasks will be to assist the Bishops in the planning and design of a church growth and evangelism plan, and to lead and manage a team to provide the resources people in the parishes need. I will be based in Lincoln itself but aim to be out and about around Lincolnshire as much as possible.”
“I am very excited about this new role and feel it fits with the experience I have gained here,” he says, “but it won’t be easy to leave as we have enjoyed our time here so much.”
During his 11 years in the parish Mr Steel has led the church through a major redevelopment programme for the church buildings at Kirkheaton and worked with the people of his 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 become fixed points in the local calendar.
In 2010 Mr Steel led the production of a Community-Led Plan for Kirkheaton, and then became founder Chair of Yetton Together. “We’ve particularly appreciated working with the great group of people who have given so much time and energy to form Yetton Together, and all that is now happening because of this. It has been great to support the development of a Community Association in Grange Moor as well, and see both churches involved with so much in the local community. ”
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 has become 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.”
We will be very sad to see him leave. He will be greatly missed for his drive and initiatives which have enhanced life in the wider community as well as within the church. Nevertheless we wish him well. Our loss is Lincoln’s gain as we are sure he will make his mark there as he has done here.