Archdeacon of Norwich returns from landmark church vote to a surprise colourful gift

Jan McFarlane. Pic submitted. Jan McFarlane. Pic submitted.

Saturday, July 19, 2014
9:34 AM

The Archdeacon of Norwich returned home from a landmark vote in The Church of England, which meant women can now proudly join men as bishops, to be uplifted by a “magnificent” anonymous gesture.

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Despite undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer after being diagnosed in April, the Ven Jan McFarlane headed to York for the keynote decision on Monday and was delighted to be there to see history being made.

And when she returned home, Mrs McFarlane who is director of communications for the Norwich diocese, and lives in Bracondale, was delighted to have a further reason to smile.

She said: “I arrived home to find these magnificent balloons on my doorstep! Many thanks to the anonymous sender. You made my day!”

Mrs McFarlane was one of the first women to become a priest, 20 years ago, and was so disillusioned when the plan was derailed by just six votes cast by lay members in November 2012, that she considered leaving the church.

But it was a different story last week. She said: “It was a great privilege to be at York on Monday to vote in favour of legislation to allow women to become bishops. There was a huge sense of history being made, and I know I’m not the only female priest to feel as if we’re no longer ‘on trial’ but now accepted.

“There were many gracious speeches at Synod by those opposed, and I felt so proud of the Church of England as we refused to give up on each other, but fought on to find a place where we could agree to live with our differences as one big family.”

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