Colourful Keith moves to new teaching role

Rev Keith Hebden has been refused permission to erect a security fence around his property to prevent syringes being thrown onto his garden
Rev Keith Hebden has been refused permission to erect a security fence around his property to prevent syringes being thrown onto his garden
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One of Mansfield’s most colourful characters had moved to pastures new after taking up a senior academic post in Sheffield.

The Reverend Keith Hebden has given his last sermon at Mansfield’s St Mark’s Church, where he has been based for the past four years.

During his time in Mansfield, he was one of six activists who broke into RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire by cutting through the perimeter fence and planting a “peace garden”.

He was subsequently fined £10 by magistrates.

More recently, the 40-year-old fasted for 40 days as part of a high-profile campaign to highlight food poverty, and reported for the Chad from the refugee camp in Calais known as the Jungle.

The regular columnist for the Chad is also the author of 2012’s Seeking Justice: The Radical Compassion of Jesus and Dalit Theology and Christian Anarchism, in 2010.

Mr Hebden has now been appointed as the new director of the Urban Theology Unit in Sheffield.

Speaking about his time at St Mark’s, he said: “I only arrived in Mansfield four years ago and immediately discovered both people of peace and people with great gifts of hospitality.

“The churches I have worked with across different traditions contain some incredible people of vision and compassion, but I have also found a huge welcome at prayers in a Mansfield Mosque, among ex-mineworkers, among people of all faiths and good faith who care for the homeless.”