As residents began to move into new housing in North Seacroft in the 1950’s a small group of people began to worship in the homes of several different people. When the group became larger, Grange Farm School was hired for two hours each Sunday. This meant a lot of hard work was necessary before and after each service.
The first resident priest’s house was 84 Boggart Hill Drive. The present St Richard’s Vicarage adjoining the church in Ramshead Hill was built sometime after the church building was completed.
A church building commitee was formed in the early 1950’s and plans for the church were prepared. Before the church was completed a mission was conducted by two Church Army captains who set up a large tent for meetings on what some used to call “the green hill”. When the fortnight’s mission ended, the Church Army officers gave the crucifix which now hangs behind the pulpit in memory of the mission.
Building work at St Richard’s began in 1955 and the crypt came into use for worship before the main building was completed. Financial help came from the congregation of St John’s Roundhay, whilst Whinmoor residents stood surety with the Bank for £100. The Church was dedicated by the Bishop of Ripon at a service at 8.00pm on Wednesday 12th December 1956. Music for the service was provided by a small orchestra. The Vicar of Seacroft at the time, the Revd Cyril Adams, had been Vice-Principle of Chichester Theological College, and the priest-in-charge of the North Seacroft Area, the Revd Arthur Ludlow had been trained there, hence the choice of St Richard of Chichester as the patronal title of the Church.
Originally, the church consisted of a single room with a lofty ceiling. Later, the church area was divided to provide a lady chapel and choir vestry. In the 1970’s, during the time that the Revd Tony Keddie was Team Vicar, the church was re-ordered as a dual purpose building. The original under-floor heating was replaced with the present heating system in the 1970’s and a suspended ceiling introduced in the 1980’s.
By 1962, when the Revd Raymond Ward was priest-in-charge, over 100 worshippers attended each week at Saint Richard’s, including those present at the 8.00am service ad the main Sunday service. A sharp decline in numbers occurred in the late 1960’s, which was to be followed by a period of growth during the years of ministry at St Richard’s over the next decade.
Nearly 8 years after his arrival in 1970, Tony Keddie moved from St Richard’s to be succeeded by the Revd Stephen Turnbull. Following the departure of Stephen Turnbull, there was a vacancy which lasted three years until the arrival of Revd Peter Langford in October 1987.
In 1995, significant improvements to the St Richard’s church building were carried out with support from the Church Urban Fund and hard work from the local congregation. Later, St Richard’s held a teaching mission with the help of the Society of St Francis.
Today the congregation of St Richard meets every Sunday morning at 10.00am. We are a welcoming and inclusive congregation of all ages and you can be confident of a warm reception if you would like to come and join us.