Revd Richard Teal
Saturday 01 May 2021
It would be fair to say that Rev Richard Teal’s year as President of the Methodist Conference hasn’t quite worked the way he would have liked it to.
In a normal year, the president would be travelling the country, and the world, spending time with Methodist and community groups, building relationships and sharing life. Of course in these Covid-times that hasn’t, physically, been possible, and, being someone who enjoys meeting people and getting to know them, he’s really sad about that. But when we spoke for Travellers’ Tales, he was fairly chipper about his, so far, 10 months in office, explaining that, actually, he felt that in some ways he’s been able to spend some more concentrated times with people digitally - less casual, with surprising, and enriching, opportunities to go deeper.
He told me about a childhood growing up on a farm in the Yorkshire Dales, how he only started going to church because the local Methodist minister asked him to play the piano for hymns at the Sunday service his time; his time in Cumbria, ministering to communities devastated by repeated flooding, being traumatised by a horrific mass shooting in 2010, and his passion for rural ministry and ecumenism.