Greenwich Peninsula Chaplaincy

Author: Andy Walton

Date: 01 November 2010

A new prayer space built near to The O2 was officially opened in October 2010.

The Site Chaplain and secretary of the Greenwich Peninsula Chaplaincy Steering Group is The Revd Dr Malcolm Torry.

The Chaplaincy occasionally takes on specific pieces of advocacy work. For example in 2005 AEG Europe proposed a casino alongside the stadium within The O2. The team was able to present a paper outlining the spectrum of opinions held by faith communities on gambling. This can be viewed on the Chaplaincy website in the newsletters and statements section. 

The Greenwich Peninsula Chaplaincy has provided a growing number of chaplains from a variety of faiths on the Greenwich Peninsula as it has changed and developed over the last decade. Historically the whole of the peninsula lies within one Anglican parish. A multi faith forum (Greenwich) and an Ecumenical Borough Deans Group were both functioning well prior to the development. The Chaplaincy has built on pre existing channels of trust and cooperation enabling good relations with the developers and local authority. The establishment of an independent charitable trust to govern the work of the chaplaincy (and the legal status that conveys) have helped the work to grow as the nature and needs of the peninsula have developed.

Chaplains visit retail stores, venues in The O2, the food refinery, and the Bovis Lend Lease construction site (where offices for the Transport for London and the new Ravensbourne College are).

Chaplains visit retail stores, venues in The O2, the food refinery, and the Bovis Lend Lease construction site (where offices for the Transport for London and the new Ravensbourne College are being built).

The role of the Chaplain is not to talk about religion or to proselytise but to be available to listen. Regular (usually weekly) visits enable confidential conversations to take place on a wide range of issues. These will only be shared with express permission. Naturally religion may be a topic of conversations and all chaplains are happy to arrange for someone to speak to a colleague of a particular faith if that is requested.

The chaplaincy offers a thorough training in workplace chaplaincy to those who have been accepted as volunteers on the Peninsula. 

The history of the chaplaincy so far... 

2000: An ecumenical chaplaincy team for the Millennium Dome

2002: Meridian Delta Ltd. appointed to create a new diverse community

MDL and the Borough ask for a multifaith approach to the faith communities’ relationship to the new development

March 2003: a meeting of Ecumenical Borough Deans and members of the Borough’s Multifaith Forum appoints a steering group, and they and MDL appoint a site chaplain, Malcolm Torry MDL and Greenwich Borough offer the Greenwich Pavilion for the faith communities to use together

April 2003: The steering group begins to meet monthly
July 2003: Council of Reference convened

September 2003: Conference for Greenwich faith communities

September 2004: Visit by Presidents of Churches Together in England

February 2005: The Greenwich Peninsula Chaplaincy Steering Group registered as a charity

April 2005: Chaplaincy begins on McAlpine’s construction site at the dome and Beckham Academy with a team of three chaplains
September 2005: A consultative conference to review progress and plan for the future
November 2005: Five more chaplains recruited to complete a team of eight working on the construction site: One Muslim, one Sikh, and six Christians of various denominations
Summer 2005 to Summer 2006: Participation in discussion about a proposed regional casino 

February 2007: Chaplaincy work starts on the Laing O’Rourke construction site in the Greenwich Millennium Village

February 2007: Charity collection day on The O2 construction site

February 2007: A joint meeting with the Greenwich Multi Faith Forum to study the ways in which different faith communities make decisions about appointments to chaplaincy and trustee positions

April 2007: Three more chaplains recruited in readiness for The opening

July 2007: The construction site closes and The O2 opens.
July 2007: The Greenwich Peninsula Chaplaincy takes responsibility for existing chaplaincy work at the Syral food refinery

September 2007: Chaplaincy work begins in The O2, with pairs of chaplains allocated to groups of restaurants, etc

March 2008: Consultation conference around What makes a good community? And what do the faith communities contribute to a good community?
April 2008: chaplains start to visit Sainsburys on the Greenwich Peninsula and the Bovis Lend Lease construction site (where offices are being built for Transport for London)
April 2009: Team of Chaplains now comprises eighteen
October 2010: New prayer space opens