Flora has been part of the senior team at Lambeth Palace since 2007, representing the Archbishop of Canterbury in a variety of roles: initially as his Secretary for Anglican Relations, then as Anglican Communion Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva, before becoming the Special Representative to the Commonwealth in 2017 – ahead of CHOGM 2018.

Now, Flora leads Archbishop Justin Welby’s Reconciliation ministry (one of his 3 personal priorities while in office) as his Advisor for Reconciliation. 

This ministry encompasses 3 primary strands: the Difference Course, equipping Christians to be reconcilers in their own communities; Women on the Front Line, supporting the role of women and particularly Bishops’ spouses as peacebuilders in regions of conflict; and International Peacebuilding, strengthening the critical role of faith leaders in the most complex conflict zones around the world.  

Flora was educated at Portsmouth High School for Girls and subsequently St David’s University College, Lampeter, from where she graduated in 1985 and went on to become a lay worker at Christ Church Abbeydale, Gloucestershire. After studying for a certificate in Theology at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, Oxford, she was ordained Deacon in 1989, and became Parish Deacon in Milton Keynes - an ecumenical partnership including Anglicans, Baptists, Methodists, Roman Catholics, the United Reformed Church and the Salvation Army. By 1992, Flora was Gloucestershire’s first County Ecumenical Officer for Churches Together, resourcing bishops and other church leaders and congregations. 

In 1994, Flora was ordained Priest, one of the earliest female clergy in the Church of England. At Mansfield College, Oxford, she was Chaplain and Tutor in Church History, until going on to work as National Ecumenical Officer for the Church of England in 1997. 

Also in 1997, Flora became Chaplain to Her Majesty’s Forces – the first woman in Britain to be commissioned as a Chaplain. She later became Canon Residentiary at Winchester Cathedral in 2002; she was subsequently made Canon Emeritus in 2005, developing the cathedral’s educational work as well as strengthening its pastoral care.  

Before being made Priest-in-Charge of St Mary-at-Hill (a Christopher Wren church in Billingsgate, City of London) in 2008, Flora worked for Religions for Peace (a UN-affiliated NGO in New York) as Assistant Secretary General and then as Special Advisor to the Secretary General. In line with RfP’s vision for inter-religious cooperation for peace at a global, national and local level, Flora was responsible for work in Europe and the Middle East, undertaking various diplomatic and other tasks. 

Between 2007 – 2013, Flora lectured at The National School of Government, and has been awarded an honorary Doctorate of Divinity by the Virginia Theological Seminary.  

Alongside Elizabeth Welch, Flora co-authored Travelling together: a handbook on local ecumenical partnerships. This was a comprehensive manual on LEPs, first published by Churches Together in England in 1995 and then re-issued in 2004. Flora expanded this with Releasing energy: how Methodists and Anglicans can grow together (2000); Growing Together: working for unity locally (2002) and Working with Partner Churches in the Diocese: a handbook for new bishops (2002). In Growing Together, she argued that Christian unity is about friendship; the sort of companionship that rejoices in diversity as well as things in common, and remains loving and respectful in the face of disagreements.  

Flora’s voluntary work has been concentrated around issues of homelessness and education for girls and women, co-founding The Haven in 1988 - a pioneering day centre in Gloucester for families in housing need. 

She is married to Canon Jonathan Gough, another Lampeter graduate and the Archdeacon of Richmond & Craven. She is Deputy Lieutenant in the Greater London Lieutenancy, and has recently been appointed Chaplain to the Sheriff of the City of London, Alderman Alison Gowman. Flora is also a Chapter Member at Bradford Cathedral. 

Sources 

Archbishop of Canterbury (2019). Archbishop of Canterbury appoints new Advisor for Reconciliation. Retrieved August 10 2020 from https://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/news/latest-news/archbishop-canterbury-appoints-new-advisor-reconciliation 

Archbishop of Canterbury (n.d.) The Archbishop’s staff team. Retrieved August 10 2020 from https://www.archbishopofcanterbury.org/lambeth-palace/archbishops-staff-team#na 

Winfield, Rev. Canon Flora Jane Louise, DL; Archbishop of Canterbury’s Special Representative to the Commonwealth, since 2017. (2019). Who’s Who & Who Was Who. Retrieved  August 10 2020, from https://www.ukwhoswho.com/view/10.1093/ww/9780199540884.001.0001/ww-9780199540884-e-247397. 

Welsh, E. & Winfield, F. (2004). Travelling together: a handbook on local ecumenical partnerships. Retrieved from https://www.cte.org.uk/Publisher/File.aspx?ID=45303 

New pastor will spread the word. (2002, March 26). Hampshire County Publications. Retrieved from https://infoweb.newsbank.com/resources/doc/nb/news/10D865D14794A5F1?p=UKNB 

50 Religions for Peace. (2020). Vision, mission & principles. Retrieved August 10 2020 from https://rfp.org/learn/vision-mission/