Parable is reborn
“GO FORTH and multiply,” said the vicar. And they did — more than £10,000 worth.
Richard Steel, rector at Kirkheaton Parish Church, near Huddersfield in West Yorkshire, distributed 550 of his own £10 notes at a church service last November in a final attempt to raise £73,000 for church renovations.
His idea originated in the Gospel of Matthew’s Parable of the Talents, in which Jesus describes a story of a man who entrusts money to his servants. While one servant opted to simply bury his money in the ground, the other two servants chose to double their investments.
Mr Steel hoped to see the same return on profit from his congregation come Easter Day, and after four months of waiting, his prayers were answered.
While almost £500,000 had already been raised towards church repairs over the past seven years, members of the congregation individually invested this money purchasing materials and products that they then transformed and sold at a profit.
“Not everyone in the church has money to give so I thought I’d offer them some ‘seed capital’ to invest, maybe in baking cakes for sale, buying car-washing kit, material to make cards or a woolly hat to keep warm when offering a dog-walking service.”
St John’s parishioner Gill Jolly, for instance, used her artistic talents in her home studio to raise money for the church with the sales of a few of her artworks.
The thousands raised will now go to installing a new floor, new heating system, kitchen and toilets, office, as well as a full redecoration and replacing the pews with chairs. This final fundraiser will also help with the costs of expansion to make the church more suitable for a wider community.
“Jesus encouraged people to fully use the gifts they had been given for God, not to waste them.
“I wanted all, from the oldest to the youngest to feel involved in this exciting project and hopefully do some good and have some fun while they did it,” he said.
Mr Steel is encouraging others looking to preserve old parishes to follow the words of Jesus as he did in that, “What you give will be given back to you.”