New Rural Responsibilities for Richard

by Gerry Lynch last modified 19 Apr, 2018 12:36 PM

New Rural Officer for Dorset is Announced - the Revd Richard Kirlew

The Revd Richard Kirlew, a vicar based in Holwell in West Dorset, has been named by the Diocese of Salisbury as its new Rural Officer for Dorset. He succeeds the Revd Jean Coates who retired recently after many years of service in the role.

The Rt Revd Karen Gorham, Bishop of Sherborne, said, “I am delighted that Richard has agreed to bring his experience and energy to this role. His role as the link with rural life in Dorset will be very important, particularly at a time of uncertainty for many farmers, but also as the Diocese looks to renew hope in our rural areas.

“In the county Richard will be working closely with our rural field officers to bring together rural church and rural life, so communities support one another inside and outside the church. He will also be key in developing links with local farmers, the livestock market and agricultural college for those on long term and short term placements.”

The Revd Richard Kirlew said,  “It is such a wonderful privilege to take on this role, working in a beautiful county with lovely folk. All this is especially appropriate now that the Renewing Hope through Rural Ministry and Mission Project has been launched. Exciting times for the diocese and the rural parishes of Dorset as we seek to renew rural hope.

“I must mention the sterling work undertaken by my predecessor, the Revd Canon Jean Coates. Some act to follow! Thank you Jean and enjoy retirement.”

Richard, originally from York, is proud of his northern roots. Following an education at York Minster School, where he became Head Server at the Minster, he went to Askham Bryan Agricultural College and studied machinery and crop production. After some years with an agricultural contractor, he joined the Ambulance Service. He was later elected the first full-time national secretary of a staff association representing ambulance staff, and that led to him moving to the West Country for the first time, and specifically to Somerset.

He was ordained in Wells Cathedral in 2005. He served his curacy in the Diocese of Bath and Wells Diocese and was also Chair of the Diocesan Rural Life Group.

In 2008, he moved to the Diocese of Swansea and Brecon as Rural Life Advisor and fifteen months later became National Lead on Rural Life to the Church in Wales.

Richard arrived in Dorset and the Diocese of Salisbury in 2015 to become a Team Vicar in the Three Valleys Benefice south of Sherborne, a role he continues to fulfil. He also acts as Chaplain to the Salisbury Livestock Centre.

He is married to Liz, a Health Care Assistant and Lay Worship Leader. They have two children and three grandchildren.

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