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Rector discovers that his congregation’s got talent

05 April 2013

A RECTOR who handed out £550 in £10 notes to his congregation, in the hope that they would use it for fund-raising projects to finance church improvements, has been given more than £10,000 in return.

Last November, the Revd Richard Steel (above) gave away his own money to members of the congregation at Kirkheaton Parish Church, near Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, and reminded them about the parable of the Talents.

The money will go towards a £700,000 reordering and reroofing at St John the Baptist's. "Obviously, £10,000 - good as it is - isn't going to do a great deal, but we already have most of the rest," Mr Steel said. "I kept the parable of the Talents as a little bit of a final burst for the home straight."

One family were especially industrious. Lucy Jackson, aged 11, made £542 selling photocards at 75p each; and her father, Steve, raised £800 by making 30 bird-boxes, which his wife, Lydia, decorated.

"One or two people couldn't do anything; so they give more directly," Mr Steel said. "One gave a day's wages; another sold jewellery left by his mother. Everyone produced something. Even those who couldn't do anything gave me the tenner back, with interest. No one has given less than £20.

"The whole thing has been fantastic and very heart-warming. Everyone involved has dug deep, and been very, very thoughtful.

"There have just been so many stories and conversations on the back of it. People have been enquiring about what the parable is about. It was even read live on Sky News; and someone is coming from Hamburg for the newspaper Der Spiegel to talk to me about it."

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