Gavin Ashenden lives partly in Shropshire and partly in Normandy.
He was until 2016 a part time parish priest, looking after a small parish on the Island of Jersey, part of the Channel Islands, just off the coast of Normandy, France, where he combined being a parish priest with writing. On the island of Jersey, he helped run weekly bible studies in the prison, and had a weekly column in the Island’s only newspaper, the Jersey Evening Post. He continues to write for the JEP once a fortnight.
He grew up in Kent, and was educated at the King’s School in Canterbury. After training originally at Bristol University as a lawyer, he attended Oak Hill Theological College to study theology and prepare for the priesthood in London. He was ordained by + Mervyn Stockwood in Southwark Cathedral in 1980.
He spent the next ten years in parishes. His curacy was in what was then a docklands parish along the river Thames by Tower Bridge, and subsequently became Vicar of a Church on the edge of South London.
During the 1980’s when he was also vice chair of Keston College, he spent some time smuggling bibles and medicine into the former Soviet Union. The experiences of being occasionally arrested and interrogated by the KGB played an important part in his views on totalitarianism.
After some postgraduate study with the Jesuits at Heythrop College in the University of London in the Psychology of Religion, he then completed a doctorate on the life and work of the Oxford Inkling, Charles Williams.
He spent 23 years at the University of Sussex as a senior lecturer and senior chaplain, lecturing in the Psychology of Religion, Literature, and running an MA programme in Monotheist Mysticism.
During this period he was hired by the BBC to present a weekly Faith and Ethics radio programme for four years, as well presenting the international Faith & Ethics podcast.
He has published on Charles Williams and CS Lewis, writes Op Ed pieces for the London Times, and occasional articles and book reviews in the Church Times.
He was a member of the General Synod of the Church of England for 20 years, and was appointed a Canon Theologian at Chichester Cathedral. He is a member of the Society of the Sacred Cross. In 2008 he was appointed a Chaplain to the Queen (2008-2017) .He spent a n umber of years as a member of the ecumenical priestly fraternity of the Little Brothers of Jesus (Charles de Foucauld)
He has lectured in the USA as a visiting theologian for the Lutheran Church in Oregon, spoken at a variety of Diocesan Conferences in the UK, and represented the Church of England as a delegate to the World Council of Churches.
He is committed to the vision for the unity of the Church contained in the ecumenical and prophetic movement ‘True Life in God’.
He has close links with the bishops of the Christian Episcopal Church in the USA and Canada.