‘I have to eat my turkey on Box­ing Day!

Woman's Weekly (UK) - - REAL LIFE -

The Rt Revd Jan McFar­lane, 54

As the con­gre­ga­tion be­gins to ar­rive, I smile at the ex­cited chil­dren clutch­ing their new toys, happy fam­i­lies squeez­ing into pews and in­di­vid­ual wor­ship­pers both fa­mil­iar and new.

For me, Christ­mas is one of the busiest times of year, but it’s also one of the most re­ward­ing.

I started my ca­reer as a speech and lan­guage ther­a­pist but be­came in­creas­ingly in­volved in the Church. In 1994 I was one

of the first women to be

or­dained as a priest and two years ago I was in­vited to be Bishop of Rep­ton. I’m also act­ing Bishop of Derby.

Christ­mas Eve and Christ­mas Day will be spent at Derby Cathe­dral, where I’ll lead sev­eral ser­vices, in­clud­ing back-to-back carol ser­vices in the af­ter­noon. I’ll also be con­duct­ing a Christ­mas ser­vice at the lo­cal women’s prison. To avoid fall­ing asleep in my Christ­mas turkey, my hus­band and I save our cel­e­bra­tions for Box­ing Day, when we’ll in­vite our fam­ily over to en­joy a meal.

I think in a world where there’s so much un­cer­tainty, the sta­bil­ity of the church is re­as­sur­ing – par­tic­u­larly at Christ­mas; there’s some­thing about the day that makes peo­ple want to con­nect with some­thing big­ger than them­selves.

And I love the fact that all the ser­vices – be it mid­night mass or a very early, quiet com­mu­nion on Christ­mas morn­ing – are unique and spe­cial in their own way.

Jan will be lead­ing Christ­mas ser­vices at Derby Cathe­dral (right)

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