Revd Vanessa Conant, Rector

Bishop of Chelmsford Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell with Revd Vanessa Conant, Rector of St Mary’s

Vanessa Conant was installed as the first female Rector of St Mary’s and the Parish of Walthamstow in July 2015. Originally from Hitchin, Hertfordshire, Vanessa earned a BA in History from Lancaster University, worked for several years as a fundraiser for both Crisis and Christian Aid in London, and later earned a BA in Theology from Trinity College, Bristol, where she trained for ministry. Vanessa was ordained a priest in the Church of England in St Alban’s Cathedral and served her curacy (three-year training post) at St Catherine and St Paul, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire, before becoming Associate Rector of St Paul’s and St George’s (‘Ps & Gs’) in the city centre of Edinburgh, where she served for four years.

As a chairperson of the Waltham Forest Citizens’ executive committee, Vanessa has been instrumental in rebuilding the community organising alliance in Waltham Forest, which now represents nearly 15,000 people and works on issues such as affordable housing, reducing youth violence and registering more businesses to pay the real London Living Wage.

Vanessa loves literature, art, poetry, documentaries and cookery programmes, especially MasterChef: The Professionals; she also enjoys walking, learning languages and spending time with friends and family in the UK and US. She is married to Cameron, a writer and communications consultant, and is known for her speaking and teaching abilities. Vanessa has a keen interest in the Bible, in Christian social action, environmentalism, Judaism, practical theology and contemplative spirituality. Vanessa is a trustee for several organisations, including the Centre for Theology and Community in Shadwell, East London.

Vanessa loves to see people grow in their understanding of faith, with worship as something that happens every minute of the day, not just on a Sunday. Vanessa is always keen to meet up for a coffee, usually at her favourite cafe in Walthamstow Village which she uses as a second office!

Revd Adam Childs, Curate

Revd Adam Childs leading an ‘all-age’ service at St Mary’s Walthamstow in 2018 

Adam Childs was ordained a deacon at Chelmsford Cathedral in Autumn 2017 and began his curacy (three-year training post) at St Mary’s immediately afterwards. In 2018, Adam was ordained a priest in a service at St Mary’s along with several other local curates. Adam studied at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, after having led the youth work in his home church of St Chad’s, Chadwell Heath, East London, for several years. Adam also worked as a school classroom assistant before going to theological college. Adam is married to Becky, a primary school teacher, and together they have a son, Seth. Adam is a talented designer, an experienced drummer and enjoys all things technical, including flying drones. Adam oversees St Mary’s youth and children’s work, leads our all-age service team, co-leads St Mary’s 20s and 30s work and has led a number of St Mary’s courses, including our confirmation, baptism and our Alpha courses. Adam is an invaluable advisor on audio-visual issues, and has organised creative prayer events in the church, including our Holy Week prayer installation in 2018. Adam is a die-hard American football fan and supports the Minnesota Vikings. He also loves a good cup of coffee.