Richard is proud of his Scottish origins, but has lived and worked all his life in England. He has been a Roman Catholic priest of Clifton Diocese for 46 years, working for 41 years in very impoverished Outer Estate and Inner City parishes. Influenced by both Charismatic Renewal and Liberation Theology he finds the reality of oppression and poverty the source for theology and mission.
For over 13 years he was RC Chaplain at HM Prison Bristol. Some years ago he was co-chair of an expanding project that established four houses for ex-prisoners, and is now involved with supporting people seeking safe sanctuary (‘asylum’) in this country.
For the past few years, working with others in the parish of St Nicks and beyond, he has been part of establishing the charity, ‘BORDERLANDS – from exclusion to BELONGING’, in order to resource and secure the very costly service ministries of the parish, especially our work with refugees and those seeking safe sanctuary (or asylum) and the work with homeless people.
He has long been Chair of Bishopʼs Committee for Health and Healing seeking to encourage the Healing ministry in the diocese and beyond.
With others in the diocese he pioneered the development of Child Protection (now called ʻSafeguardingʼ) in Catholic Church both on a national as well as diocesan level and remains a member of the Diocesan Safeguarding Commission. Being adopted himself, he feels privileged to be Chaplain to the CCS Adoption (our Diocesan Childrenʼs Society).
Committed to working not only ecumenically but also across all faiths, he serves on Bristolʼs Multi-Faith Forum, working against racism and encouraging community cohesion, building the ‘wider fellowship of believers’ in the service of our city and society.
He has a passion for the unity of the Church and its mission to bring justice, equality and freedom to the oppressed of our world.
His parish has over 60 nationalities represented in the congregation week by week, and the worship reflects this cultural diversity, eg singing in different languages, and a multicultural choir, as well as often the Scripture readings are in a number of languages. A major part of his Pastoral work is in support of those seeking safe asylum and sanctuary in our country.