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Family roots run deep for new church leader
THREE generations of his family have lived or worked in Magdalen Road and now Dan Steel is taking on his own responsibility for the area.
Mr Steel has been appointed as the new Magdalen Road Church leader and hopes to build on the community legacy of his father, a former Oxford City Council officer.
Mr Steel’s father David led a three-year campaign to get a youth centre built next to Wood Farm Primary Schoo. He died in 2006 two days before work on it was finished.
But his son’s links to the street go even deeper. His mother Jenny was born in Magdalen Road and his grandparents ran a fishing tackle shop on it.
The 36-year-old father-of-four, who took up the reins at the church at the end of January, said: “My desire is to implement the vision we have here at the church.
“This vision is for the good news of Jesus to continue to transform lives and impact communities within our city.
“With the Government’s current emphasis on the Big Society, I believe churches can play a key role for the social good.”
Former Magdalen College School pupil Mr Steel, whose wife Zoe is a GP, is dad to 11-year-old Ellie, eight-year-old Barney, four-year-old Josh and two-year-old Abi.
The three eldest are at Larkrise Primary School.
He returned to Oxford in 2011 having lived in the West Midlands.
Mr Steel added: “We’re excited to partner with other churches in Oxford as we seek to establish a scheme helping those who are struggling with debt and money concerns.
“It’s an exciting time to be a church leader in Oxford.”
He has taken on the leadership of the church after his predecessor Peter Comont moved on after 17 years to lead a new church – called Trinity – in Oxford city centre.
Mr Steel was previously assistant pastor at the church. More than 160 people attend Magdalen Road Church, which because of its small church building but large numbers, has its morning service at St Mary’s and St John’s Primary School in Meadow Lane.
Leaders at Magdalen Road are also launching Cowley Church Community near Templars Square.