About Stuart

Fr Stuart

Stuart (or Fr Stuart Tanswell) is, in no particular order, a human being, a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a friend, a follower of Jesus, a priest, a pastor, a musician, a techy geek, a pain in the behind, and many more things. He also drinks rather a lot of tea, taking the phrase “more tea, vicar?” to be an instruction!

Born and raised in Reading, Berkshire (UK) Stuart, like Natalie, is a supporter of Reading Football Club, although it is not possible to attend matches very often now, and is also a musician (as well as a music fan) – playing keyboards, bass guitar, and rhythm guitar.

Stuart’s educational journey includes Katesgrove School in Reading, St Mary & All Saints’ School in Reading, Prospect School in Reading, the University of Reading, Ripon College Cuddesdon, the University of Oxford, the College of the Transfiguration in Grahamstown South Africa, and the University of Exeter. He holds A Levels in Physics, Mathematics, Geography, and General Studies; a BSc(Hons) in Cybernetics and Computer Science; a BTh(Hons) in Theology; a PGCert in Practical Theology. On top of this he once passed Grade 2 at piano, some swimming certificates, and a cycling proficiency certificate. Some of these are more useful than others!

It was during a gap year before university that Stuart first consciously began exploring the question of whether God might be calling him to ordained ministry. Stuart’s response was to run away from this and instead read for a Bachelor of Science (honours) degree in Cybernetics and Computer Science at the University of Reading.

Stuart graduating at the University of Reading
Graduation at the University of Reading

After working successfully as an ICT Technician then ICT Consultant across schools in the Reading area for a few years, the excuses of why he couldn’t possibly be ordained kept disappearing, and so he eventually attended a Selection Conference which recommended he train for ordination.

Stuart and Natalie's wedding
Stuart and Natalie’s wedding, with their grandparents

Stuart and Natalie began married life together at Ripon College Cuddesdon, just outside Oxford, where Stuart studied for three years before ordination, and was awarded a Bachelor of Theology (Honours) degree by the University of Oxford. While at Cuddesdon, Stuart and Natalie spent time on exchange at the College of the Transfiguration in Grahamstown (now Makhanda), South Africa. Their time in South Africa introduced Stuart to the breadth of the Anglican Communion, and he delights in having friends and colleagues from many different Anglican Churches around the world.

Interested in the Benedictine tradition since early on in his discernment of ordained ministry, he is an Oblate of Alton Abbey in addition to being a priest associate of the Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham, a member of the Sodality of Mary, Mother of Priests; and a member of the Society of Catholic Priests.

Stuart’s ministry since ordination has taken the family to Cornwall, Surrey, and now the Bailiwick of Guernsey (just off the coast of France) where he serves as Rector of the Parish of St Michel du Valle in the Deanery of Guernsey, also known as Vale Church. He is involved in the wider church as deanery IT guru and webmaster, as well as being part of the New Wine Leader’s Network and Churches Working Together. During Lockdown he was able very quickly to adapt in order for worship to be streamed online – something he had been pondering and experimenting with for some years.

As a priest, Stuart finds that his previous education in Cybernetics provides much food for thought in the questions of what does it mean to exist and have a soul. One day he may get round to finding a way to study this in more detail.

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