Revd Vanessa Conant
In July 2015, Vanessa was installed as the first female Rector of St Mary’s and the Parish of Walthamstow. Originally from Hertfordshire, Vanessa earned a BA in History from Lancaster University, worked for several years as a fundraiser for both Crisis and Christian Aid, and later earned a BA in Theology from Trinity College, Bristol, where she trained for ministry. Vanessa was ordained a priest at St Alban’s Cathedral and served her curacy at St Catherine and St Paul, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, before becoming Associate Rector of St Paul’s and St George’s in the city centre of Edinburgh, where she served for four years. Vanessa has a keen interest in the Bible, in Christian social action, inclusion, environmentalism, practical theology, community organising and contemplative spirituality. A gifted teacher, Vanessa loves to see people grow in their understanding of faith. She is married to Cameron, a writer and communications officer.
Revd Alan Moss
Alan joined St Mary’s in 2021 after completing his curacy at the Parish of St James and St John’s, Collier Row. In addition to serving as Associate Priest at St Mary’s with a focus on learning and education, Alan also works on The Drive and Attlee Terrace estates, using the practices of community organising to empower residents to take action on the things that matter to them in order to create positive, meaningful change, and in so doing, help people make the connection between faith and action. Alan previously planted a church for young people in Romford alongside supporting the Diocese of Chelmsford in its development of digital expressions of church. Alan has a background in welding, a love of tattoos and a passion for sharing the Christian story in new ways. He is married to Sarah, who is also a priest in the Church of England.
Revd Tim Scott
Tim joined St Mary’s in 2023 as a retired Church of England priest with Permission to Officiate. Having trained at Westcott House in Cambridge, Tim was ordained in 1987 and has worked in parishes in East and Central London, Essex and Somerset as well as being involved in clergy training and urban regeneration. He worked on housing estates in Walthamstow and Leytonstone from 1989-2002 and is now loving getting to know the area again. His wife, Linda, is also a priest and works as a hospital chaplain. Tim and Linda have a son, Peter, who is in his final year at Sheffield University, and enjoy going to the theatre. Tim likes to think he could still play tennis and squash with the same energy he used to!
Revd Jacintha Danaswamy
Jacintha was ordained deacon at Chelmsford Cathedral in September 2023 and is serving her curacy at both St Mary’s and St Gabriel’s Church, Walthamstow. Prior to becoming our curate, Jacintha was our ordinand, during which time she led our Church Growth Project which aimed to help us expand our church engagement with the wider community and deepen our commitment. Jacintha trained for ministry at St Mellitus College in London and has a BA in English Literature and Spanish, as well as an MA in Visual Culture, both from the University of Westminster. Originally from Ireland, Jacintha is mum to Clara, Violet and Jade. A fluent Spanish speaker, Jacintha loves to read, visit exhibitions, listen to live music and explore the outdoors with her daughters.
Dan joined St Mary’s in 2023 after pastoring Greenleaf Road Baptist Church in Walthamstow. An ordained Baptist minister who is now a PhD candidate in biblical studies at the University of Edinburgh, Dan is not just a pastor and theologian but also someone with extensive experience in venue management, having overseen a renovation of Greenleaf Road Baptist Church. At Greenleaf, Dan also increased the number of opportunities for the church’s building to generate revenue alongside forming new partnerships with the wider community. Originally from Bedfordshire, Dan is married to Jen, a primary school teacher, and they have a son, Noah.
Originally from West London, Josie moved to Walthamstow in 2017 and became our Parish Administrator in the summer of 2022. She studied psychology at University of Sussex, earned a PGCE from the University of Brighton and was a primary school teacher for 16 years. Josie is married to Peter and has two children, Kit and Sadie. Josie says that, for her, St Mary’s has always been a place of peace and joy. Josie says, ‘The whole team were always very warm and welcoming, so I feel very privileged to now be a part of it. I enjoy doing something that helps the local community, and helps me get to know my local community better too. Family life and working life keep me pretty busy, but I also enjoy going out with friends as much as possible and music has always been a big part of my life! Country music and rock and roll are my absolute faves!’
Marketing and Communications Officer
Cameron joined St Mary’s in 2023 as our Marketing and Communications Officer and has a background in publishing, journalism and communications. As part of his role at St Mary’s, Cameron manages our social media channels, website and other promotions. He is also a member of the Creative Church Project Board and was part of the team that secured funding from the National Lottery for the regeneration of our ancient church building. Originally from Michigan, Cameron holds a postgraduate degree in Creative Writing from Edinburgh University and is also an environmental campaigner and trustee for Operation Noah, a Christian climate charity. He is married to Vanessa.
Arts and Community Programme Manager
Fran Meana joined St Mary’s in 2022 to lead our ‘Creative Church’ activity programme which was funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund and delivered tours, workshops and other free events for the whole community. Since then, Fran has overseen the development of St Mary’s new exhibition space and is working with artists, curators and local people to develop a sustainable arts programme that can attract outside funding and support. Originally from Spain, Fran has a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Vigo and a Master of Fine Arts at the Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam, as well as being a fully qualified Design and Technology teacher.
Louise has been a member of St Mary’s congregation since 2007 and in late 2023 took on the role of Events Administrator. She holds a BA in English Language and Literature, and a Masters in TESOL and Intercultural Studies. Louise has been a teacher and teacher trainer for many years, specialising in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages. She spent 12 years in Cambodia serving as St Mary’s Mission Partner for Interserve, where she founded a language school for foreigners to learn Khmer. She is pleased to be back living and working in Walthamstow and is excited to see more events taking place in St Mary’s. Louise’s hope is for people to experience a warm and loving welcome when they enter the church building.
Tim Hewitt has been St Mary’s Head Gardener since 2017; in that time, St Mary’s Churchyard has received national recognition, and in 2023, won ‘Churchyard of the Year’ in the London in Bloom competition. As part of Tim’s ‘Burials in Bloom’ project, dozens of local residents regularly volunteer to care for neglected graves and engage in biodiversity projects in our churchyard, the largest green space in Walthamstow Village. Prior to studying at Capel Manor and becoming a professional gardener, Tim taught English for nearly 20 years at Forest School, his alma mater. Tim is a Board Member for Forest Flora, which supports community horticulture in Waltham Forest, and works closely with many local gardening and community groups.
John joined our team as Premises Manager in October 2023 but previously worked for many years as a plumber and tradesman. John is well known for his community work in Walthamstow, supporting the Walthamstow Village gardening group among other projects. As part of his role with St Mary’s and the Parish of Walthamstow, John makes repairs and oversees the practical aspects of St Mary’s buildings – both the church and church hall (Welcome Centre) – as well as overseeing the maintenance of St Gabriel’s Church and Family Centre near Wood Street.
Jonathan Rathbone has been St Mary’s musical director for many years, a role he manages on a freelance basis alongside an active schedule of outside conducting and composing. He got his start as a chorister at Coventry Cathedral and was later a choral scholar at Christ’s College, Cambridge, where he read mathematics. He later studied composition at the Royal Academy of Music. Jonathan sang with the Swingle Singers for 12 years and was the group’s musical director for eight of those years. He left the group in 1996 to focus on writing, and has since arranged pieces that have been recorded by Trinity College, Cambridge, Voces8 and other well-known choral groups. Jonathan has also written for film and television, but continues to conduct community choirs around London and continues to faithfully serve at St Mary’s, his local parish church. Jonathan is married to Helen, a singer and music teacher, and they have two grown children.