Gavin Ashenden lives partly in Shropshire and partly in Normandy.He grew up in S.W. London, and then Kent, and was educated at the King’s School in Canterbury. After originally reading Law at Bristol University, he found himself with a vocation to the priesthood.
He studied theology at Oak Hill Theological College in London, (while also spending a formative period at the Greek Orthodox Monastery of St John’s Tollehunt Knights.) He was ordained by + Mervyn Stockwood in Southwark Cathedral in 1980, and was appointed to a curacy in Bermondsey, a river side parish by the old London docks.
He spent the next ten years as a parish priest; as a curate at St James’, Bermondsey, and subsequently as a Vicar of a Church on a housing estate on the edge of South London.
During the 1980’s when he was also vice-chair of Keston College, he was involved in smuggling bibles and medicine into the former Soviet Union, and samizdat out -for publication in the West. The experiences of being occasionally arrested and interrogated by the KGB and other security services while visiting played an important part in the development of his views on totalitarianism and awareness of the threat that Marxism posed to the faith.
After postgraduate study in the Psychology of Religion with the Jesuits at Heythrop College in the University of London , he then completed a doctorate on the life and work of the Oxford Inkling, Charles Williams, and subsequently published ‘Alchemy and Integration- A study of the Life of writing of Charles Williams. (Kent State University Press).
He spent 23 years at the University of Sussex as a senior lecturer and senior chaplain, lecturing in the Psychology of Religion, Literature, and convening an MA programme in Monotheist Mysticism.
During this period he was also employed freelance by the BBC to present a weekly Faith and Ethics radio programme for four years. He also become Presenter of the the international Faith & Ethics podcast.
He has published on the Oxford Inklings and CS Lewis in particular, writing Op Ed pieces for the London Times and the Daily Telegraph 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 one of the theological canonries at Chichester Cathedral. He was a member of the Society of the Holy Cross and also spent a number of years as a member of the ecumenical priestly fraternity of the Little Brothers of Jesus (Charles de Foucauld)
In 2008 he was appointed a Chaplain to the Queen (2008-2017).
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.
In 2017 and he resigned from his chaplaincy to the Queen in order to be free to speak out for the faith in the contested public forum, and subsequently appeared on media outlets across the world, including Fox News in the USA and the Bolt Report in Australia.
Believing that the consecration of women to the episcopate represented a fatal breach with the Church of England’s Catholic orders, he resigned from the Church of England in 2017.
On the Feast of St Michael and All Angels 2017, the Archbishop of the Christian Episcopal Church announced that Dr Ashenden had been consecrated as a Missionary bishop to the UK and Europe.
Much of his ministry is found on the Internet. Between 100 and 400 people share in the daily office and the viewing figures of his weekly homilies vary between 1,-4,000 viewers.
On Sunday 22nd of December, the 4th Sunday of Advent, Dr Ashenden was received into the Roman Catholic Church by + Mark Davies at Shrewsbury Cathedral.
He writes as a lay Catholic apologist here; and also contributes articles in the secular and religious press. His youtube broadcasts can be found here:-