‘I have to eat my turkey on Boxing Day!
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)