Anglican worker priest, Rev. Paul Nicolson, died at the age of 87 on March 5. A married man with five children, who once worked in the champagne trade, he read about the French worker priest movement while studying at Cuddesdon Theological College from 1966-8, The Tablet reports.
He wanted to be like them – outside the parish system, self-supporting, working alongside the poor, but Cuddesdon only trained parish clergy.
Two bishops refused ordination. His College Principal, Robert Runcie, who later became Bishop of St Albans and eventually Archbishop of Canterbury, ordained him.
As a “Minister in Secular Employment,” he worked for the chemical company, ICI, where he became increasingly disenchanted with the company’s employment policy, before himself being made “redundant”.
In 1982, he “discovered” Liberation Theology, which became his guiding light in trying “to apply the gratuitous love that we learn from the example of Jesus. [And t]hat gratuitous love is both personal and structural.” Archbishop Oscar Romero became one of his heroes.
From the beginning, he was also committed to the Cardijn “see-judge-act” method.
He helped established the “Taxpayers against Poverty” movement and founded the “Zaccheus 2000 Trust.” His family have established a fundraiser to continue his work through the trust.
The ministry of the Rev Paul Nicolson (1932-2020) (The Tablet)
Rev Paul Nicolson: remembering a great campaigner (Tax Research)