The Sandford St Martin Trust is delighted to announce the appointment of the Bishop of Repton, the Right Reverend Jan McFarlane as its new Chair. In the role she will head the Trust's work advocating and lobbying for religious literacy in broadcasting at industry, parliamentary and regulatory level, including overseeing the UK's most prestigious awards for programmes exploring religion, ethics or spirituality. She succeeds the Rt Rev Nick Baines, Lord Bishop of Leeds, who steps down following 9 years in role.
The Rt Rev Nick Baines said: “I am delighted to hand over The Sandford St Martin Trust baton to Jan McFarlane. She is experienced in the field of media and communications, and will apply herself to this new role with enthusiasm, vigour and wisdom. It has been a privilege to chair the Trust and I know it is now in the hands of an excellent new Chair. Jan’s skills and experience will help to take the Trust’s work even further in the coming years.”
On taking up the post, Jan McFarlane said: "I am very much looking forward to becoming Chair of the highly respected Sandford St Martin Trust. At a time when we need to understand and appreciate the role of faith in our world, and when we need to understand the similarities and differences between the major world religions, the need for excellence in religious broadcasting is greater than ever before.”
The Rt Revd Jan McFarlane was one of the Church of England’s first ten female bishops. She was educated first at Sheffield University, where she trained as a Speech and Language Therapist. She trained for ordination at Cranmer Hall, Durham. Bishop Jan was among the first women to be ordained to the priesthood in 1994 and she served in the Stafford Team Ministry before becoming Chaplain of Ely Cathedral from 1996 to 1999. She went on to become Director of Communications for the Diocese of Norwich for seventeen years, combining that role with those of Chaplain to the Bishop of Norwich and Archdeacon of Norwich. She served on the General Synod from 2005-2016 and helped to see through the vote allowing women to become bishops, despite undergoing chemotherapy for breast cancer at the time.
Bishop Jan was consecrated by the Archbishop of Canterbury in June 2016, becoming the 9th female bishop in the history of the Church of England. She is the Bishop of Repton, the assistant bishop serving Derbyshire. She has contributed to several books of prayer and reflection for Church House Publishing and broadcasts regularly on local radio.
The Sandford St Martin Trust is an independent, non-profit organisation. It has been making annual awards for the best programmes about religion, ethics and spirituality since 1978. The Trust engages with a wide range of media organisations as well as with individual journalists, filmmakers, broadcasters and other media figures, many of whom give their time and expertise voluntarily to support the Trust’s work. The Trust believes the media can be a powerful tool to increase understanding of different perspectives and beliefs in our world, helping create greater understanding, tolerance and thoughtfulness. The Trust is politically independent and is not affiliated with any media company or organisation. It does not proselytise on behalf of or promote any particular religion or faith, nor does it engage in religious activities itself.
You can read more about the Trust at www.sandfordawards.org.uk