Essex islanders launch marketing campaign to find priest after three-year vacancy

  • Watch a report from ITV Anglia's Victoria Lampard

A group of churches on Mersea Island in Essex have created videos showing off the area's beauty in a bid to attract a parish priest.

The benefice has been without a rector for three years, and has been run using volunteer retired clergy.

But parishioners at the four churches which make up the benefice hope the stylish videos - which use drone footage of the Mersea Island countryside - will finally attract a full-time priest.

John Walker, the church warden at St Mary the Virgin in Peldon, said part of the idea is to highlight what Mersea is like for those who have never heard of it.

He said: "People look in the Church Times to see where the vacancies are they'll know about Gloucester, they'll know about Hove, but when you say West Mersea we're the end of the line they don't know who we are."  

The videos also hope to show off the community spirit on the island.

Alan Brook, the warden St Peter and St Paul's in West Mersea, said the new incumbent will be supported by a committed congregation.

He added: "We're blessed with five or six retired clergy who in the last three years have given their heart and soul to helping us keep things running.

"They will be a backbone to provide a new incumbent help shoehorn them into the new role because there's a lot of good will and a huge amount of devotion and effort to keep the churches going."

The films have been viewed hundreds of times since they were put online in February, and a shortlist of five applicants has now been selected.

Whoever gets the role will not need to wait until they arrive until they find out the beauty of life on Mersea.