IT WAS the advertisement for two Team Vicars which
caught the eye of the Revd Peter Mallinson when he was thinking
about moving into stipendiary ministry. The advertisement was for
the huge parish of Canvey Island, in Chelmsford
diocese, with a population of 44,000, and three churches.
Mr Mallinson and his wife, Fiona,
walked around the parish anonymously, and were struck by the
friendliness of everybody they met. Many of them are second and
third-generation East-Enders, he told me, "still with the East End
fighting spirit of the war years". He was very happy to be
appointed, together with the Revd Marion Walford (they are
pictured together), who was born on Canvey Island.
Mr Mallinson had always wanted to be a
priest, he said. At one time, he was employed as a verger in St
Albans Abbey, and came under the influence of Robert Runcie, who
was Bishop at that time. He then went to work for Sainsbury's as a
legal compliance officer.
It was during his time there that he
was ordained, and started to wear his clerical collar at work, at
times with the agreement of the management, occasionally not. But
he was regarded as a padre by the staff, and came to represent them
on various councils.
"I always stuck to my principles of
telling the truth," he told me, whether it meant telling management
they were wrong, or saying the same to the staff. It was often
difficult. But his knowledge of the working world will stand him in
good stead in his new parish.