Let us pray. . . and play!

MANY men's dream job revolves around sport...

Tuesday, 9th October 2007, 2:16 pm
Updated Monday, 22nd October 2007, 9:29 am

But for lifelong Owls fan Peter Allen, there were two loves in his life - sport and religion.

And thanks to a unique role as the Chaplain for Sport in the Diocese of Sheffield he is now able to combine them both.

Peter, now aged 45, has been a full-time minister since 1995 and has worked all over the UK.

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Originally from Walkley, he has always been a big fan of football and would regularly form teams in the parish where he was based.

"I have always used sport as a way of building bridges," said Peter, who is also the vicar at St Peter's Church on White Lane, Gleadless.

"It is a particularly good way of building a relationship up with men because of course a lot of men like sport.

"It is a good way of reaching out to people who might not normally come to church."

Peter could see his involvement with communities through sport was really making a difference to those who needed it - and his unique approach had not gone unnoticed.

In April 2006, Peter was made Chaplain of Sheffield Wednesday football club - a position he still holds.

"I am a fan of Sheffield Wednesday so obviously it is an ideal job for me

"But I always say that I want both professional teams in Sheffield to be successful," said dad-of-three Peter, who is married Marian.

"Most professional football clubs have a Chaplain. I visit once a week and talk to all the staff - from the players to the floor staff.

"That way they know who I am if they need me."

And the Bishop of Sheffield agreed his approach was working - because he created the brand new role of Chaplain for Sport in the Diocese of Sheffield.

Peter's job under this title, which has never existed in South Yorkshire before, is to represent the Church of England while offering support and help to those involved in sport.

He works closely with boxing trainer Brendan Ingle to promote links with boxing and is involved in a number of sport-related charities including Sporting Chance and SCORE.

He even organises events where sporting stars are invited to come and talk about their faith.

"First and foremost it is about being a friend," said Peter, who already fulfilled most of his role in an 'unofficial' capacity.

"It is not about Bible bashing - I don't believe in that.

"People respond to friends and when they know you're a vicar conversations often go a certain way or they will ask you to do certain things - such as officiate at births, deaths, marriages.

"By building up a relationship and a friendship with them it means if they ever do need someone to talk to, there is someone they already know ready to help."

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