Farrar, Dr Dorothy Hincksman

Born on 18 April 1899, she came from a family of wealthy Halifax WM industrialists and was named after a maternal great-grandparent, Dorothy Hincksman, who had been a missionary in the West Indies. She was educated at Bedford College in London University, developing a specialist interest in psychology, in which she gained a PhD in 1931. This was one of the subjects she taught at the Wesley Deaconess College, Ilkley following her ordination as a deaconess in 1936. Having been persuaded by her mentor W.R Maltby to become a local preacher in 1927, she encountered prejudice against women preachers during her early years in the Halifax Circuit. But in 1952 she became, at the invitation of W.E. Sangster, the first woman ot lead worship and preach at Westminster Central Hall. She remained an active and inspiring preacher on that plan for 53 years and contributed articles on the use of the imagination and on prayer to the Preachers' Handbooks published in 1949 and 1953.

She was ordained a deaconess in 1936 and was vice-president of the Order in 1941 and 1958 and vice-principal of the college from 1942 to 1962. In 1952 (following the death of the Vice-President Designate, V.W.H. Booth) she became the second woman to be elected Vice-President of the Conference and was the sole woman Methodist representative in the Anglican-Methodist Conversations, 1955-63, and at the Second Assembly of the World Council of Churches at Evanston in 1954. She was deeply disappointed by the failure of the Conversations and by the cessation of recruitment to the Wesley Deaconess Order in 1978. She retired to Halifax in 1962 and died there on 16 May 1987.

  • Methodist Recorder, 17 July 1952, 4 June 1987
  • Oxford DNB
  • John A. Hargreaves, 'A warmed heart and a disciplined mind perfectly joined: Sister Dorothy Hincksman Farrar and the evolution of women's ministry in Methodism, Buxton, 2005