Mr Swann had a sharp mind and a warm heart, two characteristics which were vital in his long ministry. What won him huge respect from so many people was his in-depth and thorough bible-teaching, for which people would travel many miles. As a contributor to reference works such as the Illustrated Bible Dictionary, and a book reviewer for publishers such as IVP, Mr Swann was no mean Bible-scholar whose rigorous grappling with the texts, and languages meant that hearing him preach was always an enriching learning experience. What he presented though was not mere dry, austere academic orthodoxy, (orthodox though it was!) but heartfelt, and heartwarming preaching of Christ, forged as much on his knees in prayer, as it was in study at his desk.
Fewer people will remember what a great pastor he was to children. His children's talks in church were way ahead of their time in the 1970s, innovative, interactive, visual and memorable. That is not to say they were ever flippant - far from it - in fact they could be very sobering. Several stand out in my mind very clearly even to this day. As the children left the church part-way through the service we all filed past the big pulpit and lots of the little ones would wave up at him as we went past the foot of the steps, and he would beam back at us! In a not unconnected vein he once taught us to begin our prayers, "Dear, kind, heavenly-Father".
In my teenage years, Mr Swann was willing to spend time with me - not just talking to me and engaging with problems and ideas - but also listening to me, despite the fact that much of what came out must have sounded like self-obsessed teenage rambling! He was also known for his faithful visiting in the town, calling in and spending time with the elderly, the sick and the suffering (distributing Lucozade, driving very fast, and being accompanied by a mad little dog!).
Mr Swann not only married my parents in 1967, and baptised me in 1971, but with his immense learning, wisdom and integrity has had a huge influence on my life. I thank God for him.