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My God

My God: Bronwyn McFarlane

Series 3, Episode 7 - Sunday September 21, 2008

Bronwyn McFarlane
Salvation Army

Bronwyn Mc Farlane, head of the Salvation Army's Family Tracing Unit knows first hand what it's like to feel lost and abandoned. She also knows the joy of what it is like to be found again.

This week on My God, Bronwyn talks to presenter Chris Nichol about the experiences life has thrown at her - good and bad - and how they help in her work reconciling estranged family members and friends. Bronwyn discusses her understanding of God as a source of love, reconciliation and healing, all of which are at the very heart of the Family Tracing Unit. 

The Salvation Army has been part of Bronwyn's life for as long as she can remember. When she was seven months old her parents joined the Army and went into training in Wellington. In the 1950s there was no room for children in the training school so Bronwyn was sent to live with her grandmother. After falling ill she spent several months in Wellington hospital where her parents visited when they could. It was a harrowing experience for a small baby, and for Bronwyn and her parents, it had a lasting effect.

Bronwyn's parents had postings in various parts of the country and so she and her siblings got used being the new kids in the classroom. From a early age Bronwyn developed her own sense and understanding of God, which has stayed with her to adulthood.

While a life dedicated to the Salvation Army was not always easy, Bronwyn decided as a teenager it was one she wanted to pursue. She and her then husband joined together and spent many years serving as social workers. When her marriage ended Salvation Army policy of the time meant she also had to resign her position; she suddenly found herself with single, out of a job and queuing up for her benefit alongside her former clients. 

Bronwyn also discusses her reappointment to the Salvation Army and discovering a job she finds deeply fulfilling, the importance of building a relationship with God, and the rock her faith has been throughout her life.