St John’s Seminary is a place of formation for priesthood in the Catholic church serving dioceses in the south of England and Wales. Beyond its primary role it provides a valuable resource for the local church as a centre for theological study and a venue for meetings and retreats. The Seminary is located in Wonersh, near Guildford, Surrey.

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Seminary life

Students describe aspects of life at the Seminary.

Ongoing formation

Find about the other courses we offer for laity and clergy.

Visiting St Johns

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News and events...

New Staff Appointments

The Rector, Fr Brian, is delighted to announce that the bishops have appointed three experienced priests to the resident formation staff of St John’s Seminary for September 2017.

Mgr Gerry Ewing (Vice-Rector). Mgr Ewing is a priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark and is currently parish priest of Holy Ghost, Balham. He was for many years Director of Ongoing Formation of Priests in Southwark, as well as Secretary and Treasurer of the National Directors of Ongoing Formation.

Fr Kevin Dring (Director of Human Formation). Fr Kevin is a priest of Arundel & Brighton Diocese. He is currently parish priest of The Sacred Heart, Hove, and Dean of Brighton & Hove.  Fr Kevin comes to St John’s with a wealth of pastoral experience, both in Arundel & Brighton and in Peru.  Previous posts have also included:  Vocations Director in Arundel & Brighton and National Vocations Director at the Bishops’ Conference.  Fr Kevin is no stranger to Wonersh having previously taught moral theology at St John’s as a visiting member of staff.

Canon Luke Smith (Director of Spirituality). Canon Luke is priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark and is currently parish priest of Maidstone. Both Canon Luke and Mgr Ewing are alumni of St John’s. Canon Luke succeeds Fr Gerard Bradley, who leaves St John’s to take up a parish appointment in the Archdiocese of Southwark.

They join Canon Brian Coyle (Rector, Southwark), Fr Stephen Dingley (Director of Studies, A&B), Fr Teyrnon Williams (Pastoral Director, Menevia), Fr Michael Fountaine (Professor of Liturgy, Clifton).

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Fr Brian Coyle Appointed as Rector

Most Rev Peter Smith, Archbishop of Southwark, has announced the appointment of Fr Brian Coyle as Rector of St John’s Seminary, Wonersh, in succession to Mgr Jeremy Garratt.

St John’s Seminary was established in 1891 as the diocesan Seminary for the then Diocese of Southwark. It accepts students from several dioceses in England and also from Wales and Scotland.

Fr Brian is a priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark and is currently Director of Human Formation at Wonersh. He will take office on 4th July 2016. Mgr Jeremy Garratt will take up parish ministry in the diocese of Portsmouth in September.

Archbishop Peter said, “I am delighted that Fr Brian Coyle has accepted this very important ministry in the church. He brings a wealth of experience of priesthood, and having served at the Seminary for the last two years will already be familiar with St John’s.”

Mgr Jeremy said, “Under Fr Brian’s leadership I am sure that St John’s will have a bright future. It is very good news for the Seminary and for the church in this country.”

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A Sure Compass: A Symposium for the Year of Faith

The seminary year began with a very successful Symposium for the Year of Faith. The Seminary community gathered with some 50 visitors to reflect on some of the documents of the Second Vatican Council.
The first of these papers are now available on Symposium page of this website. We hope to make printed edition in 2014.

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Rev Valentine Erhahon ordained deacon

On 12 January Valentine Erhahon was ordained to the diaconate at St Joseph’s Church in Bromley by Bishop Patrick Lynch, auxiliary bishop in Southwark. We offer Rev Valentine our congratulations and prayers.

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More Priestly Ordinations

Three more of our former Anglican students have been ordained to the priesthood recently.



Frs Nicolas von Malaise and Stuart Meyer were ordained for Southwark archdiocese in their cathedral on 19 January.



Fr John Gilbert was ordained a few weeks earlier for Plymouth diocese on the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception in Penzance.

Congratulations to all three. We pray that they will enjoy many years of fruitful and joyful ministry.

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