Para­ble is re­born

The Church of England - - NEWS -

“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.”

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