Revd Vanessa Conant, Rector

Former Bishop of Chelmsford and now Archbishop of York, Rt Revd Stephen Cottrell, with Revd Vanessa Conant

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 at 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.

Vanessa loves literature, art, poetry, documentaries and cookery programmes; she also enjoys walking, learning languages and spending time with friends and family. 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, inclusion, environmentalism, Judaism, practical theology, community organising and contemplative spirituality. Vanessa is a trustee for the Centre for Theology and Community in Shadwell, East London, and 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!

Revd Dave Edmondson, Curate

Revd Dave Edmondson started his curacy at St Mary’s in July 2020

Dave Edmondson began his curacy (three-year training post) at St Mary’s in July 2020 after training for ministry at Trinity College, Bristol. Dave was born in South London and grew up in Epsom. Before training for ordained ministry, he was a youth and children’s leader at St Mary’s, Becontree, in Dagenham, East London, and before that, worked with Christian youth charity XLP while studying for his BA at St Mellitus.

Dave is passionate about seeing people of all ages come to know the reality that they are loved by God, and he believes that the Christian faith is not just for Sundays, but a transformative way of living. Dave is married to Caitlin, an RE teacher, and they have a daughter, Lydia. Dave enjoys getting outdoors, cooking, eating, and playing and watching sports. A big cricket and football fan, Dave is always up for a conversation about sport, or even a game! He also loves a good chat and a cuppa (preferably with cake!).