Thursday 22 February 2018

Shelf-stacking priest wears collar

Shop assistant-turned priest Rev Peter Mallinson
Shop assistant-turned priest Rev Peter Mallinson

A shop assistant-turned priest said he has received a warm reception since bosses at his supermarket allowed him to wear his dog collar.

The Rev Peter Mallinson had the collar of his Sainsbury's-issue maroon shirt specially adapted by his wife Fiona, 61, after he became ordained.

And so far the reaction from colleagues and customers at the store where he works in Arnold, Nottinghamshire, has only been positive, he said.

On Friday, the 52-year-old will be working as usual and his duties will probably include stocking up on hot cross buns to celebrate Good Friday. Mr Mallinson said: "When I came back from being ordained I had already spoken to my manager and I asked if I could wear it for a couple of days.

"He said 'yes', but afterwards I didn't wear it and a couple of staff asked where it had gone. I had to be a bit careful but I then asked the new manager who said I could wear it."

He added: "I haven't had a negative reaction. It's quite nice to walk across the shop floor and be greeted by people of the older generation who say "morning padre".

"The collar actually breaks barriers down. Customers speak to you perhaps more than they otherwise would. They let you know about themselves, their hurts and their joys."

Mr Mallinson, a father of two children, Lydia, 21, and 19-year-old Jacob, has always been a church-goer.

He does not work on Sundays but is a stalwart at his local supermarket. Having joined the company 16 years ago, he has worked in the store's bakery, meat and fish sections and the coffee shop. Mr Mallinson only started working towards a career in the church three-and-a-half years ago when he enrolled for a degree at St John's Theological College in Nottingham.

He is currently curate to St Matthew's Church in Darley Dale, Derbyshire, and St Edmund's Church in Allestree, Derby.

Press Association

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