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Board of trustees

Our board of trustees provides us with a breadth of experience and expertise. Trustees contribute their time to help set and oversee the strategic direction of Christian Aid.

They review and comment on plans and performance, review any major issues bearing on the wellbeing of the organisation, and decide important new directions.

It is the trustees’ responsibility to approve formally our budget, annual report and accounts.

The board meets five times a year and consists of a chair; representatives of Christian Aid's committees for Ireland, Wales and Scotland; the General Secretary of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland who is always an ex-officio member; and up to 15 other trustees appointed for their experience, knowledge and skills relevant to our work.

They are selected by our 41 sponsoring churches in Britain and Ireland at the annual general meeting.

All trustees are appointed for four years and are eligible for one further term. The board delegates some responsibilities to sub-committees of trustees, including a finance, investment and fundraising committee.

Our board

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Dr Rowan WilliamsDr Rowan Williams, chair of the board

Read more about Dr Williams

Dr Williams stepped down as Archbishop of Canterbury in 2012 and took up the role of Master of Magdalene College, Cambridge in early 2013.

He became chair of the board on May 1, 2013.

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Charlotte Seymour SmithCharlotte Seymour Smith - Vice Chair of the Board

Charlotte Seymour Smith studied social anthropology at the London School of Economics. She did fieldwork in the Amazon region and was awarded a PhD in 1982. She is the author of the Macmillan Dictionary of Anthropology and she has worked with the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Mozambique, Brussels, Delhi and London.

She was the lead UK negotiator for the Cotonou Convention which covers aid and trade relations between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific group of countries and then head of trade policy in DFID in the run-up to the Doha Development Round of trade talks in the World Trade Organisation. After heading the DFID programme in India from 2003-4, she was director for Asia in DFID until 2007. She joined the board in November 2007.

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Alexis Chapman

Alexis ChapmanAlexis is a qualified accountant and consultant with more than 20 years’ experience in the charity sector.

She spent 12 years at Save the Children UK, where she filled a number of senior management positions, including Finance Director and Marketing Director. More recently she has held a number of interim roles and specialises in coaching, organisational development and change management.

Alexis has strong international experience, particularly around funding issues. Her non-executive roles have included eight years as a trustee of CMS and most recently six years as a trustee of Merlin, where she worked with colleagues to support the recent merger with Save.

She is a member of the finance committee at Comic Relief and is Vice Chair of The Border Consortium, a Christian Aid partner.

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Jennifer CormackJennifer Cormack

Jennifer Cormack has over 20 years’ experience working in the not-for-profit sector, most recently as Director of University Fundraising at King’s College London.

She has led the team responsible for raising some of the largest gifts in the education sector and has worked with leading philanthropists in the US, Asia and Europe to develop and deliver the £500m World Questions | King’s Answers Campaign. 

Jennifer began her career in the early 1990s establishing programmes supporting the reform of higher education and training for young entrepreneurs in the former Czechoslovakia, at a time of great social and political change.

Since then, she has raised funds for a variety of organisations, from the British Red Cross to Tate and Cancer Research UK. In November 2013 Jennifer will join The Royal Society as Director of Development.

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Reverend John DaviesThe Right Reverend John Davies

John Davies, Bishop of Swansea and Brecon, studied law at the University of Southampton and later worked as a solicitor specialising in criminal law. He then entered the ministry and was ordained in 1984.

He served in a variety of parishes in the Diocese of Monmouth before being appointed Dean of Brecon. During eight years in that role, he oversaw significant improvements to the fabric and liturgy of the Cathedral. He was elected as the ninth Bishop of Swansea and Brecon in 2008.

Bishop John has retained a keen interest in issues of crime and punishment, with a particular concern about the nature of criminality and the effects of poor social and educational standards on those who end up as crime statistics. Having served as the chairman of the trustees of a large hospice in Newport, he also has a deep concern for the just provision of healthcare.

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Bob FyffeBob Fyffe

Bob Fyffe is a minister from the Scottish Episcopal Church and general secretary of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland (CTBI). The CTBI’s general secretary is always an ex-officio member of the board of Christian Aid.

He has been rector of St John the Baptist church since 1993, and is canon of St Ninian’s Cathedral, Perth. During that time he was also the convenor of the Churches Information and Communications Board, which oversaw publications and web development.

He is a member of the Conference of European Churches’ planning group for the third European Ecumenical Assembly.

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Bala GnanapragasamBala Gnanapragasam

Bala, though born into an Anglican family, was brought up in the Methodist Church in Colombo. He is a member of the British Methodist Church in London and served for six years as the first Synod secretary of the newly formed London District in 2004.

Bala has around 20 years' professional experience in the international telecommunications sector, much of this at executive level at British Telecom, ECI Telecom, CTell Inc. and Interoute Telecommunications Ltd. Until 2010 he was Chairman of University Hospital Lewisham NHS Trust, a post which he held for eight years.

He has served on many public and charitable bodies. These include Ecumenical Aids Trust, Age Exchange, Applecart, Methodist Relief and Development Fund, Lewisham Borough Council and the Inner London Education Authority.

Bala's first engagement with Christian Aid was in the 1970s, as the local volunteer organiser for the London Borough of Southwark.

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Carolyn GrayCarolyn Gray

Carolyn Gray is group HR director of the Guardian Media Group plc. She previously worked in human resources at Sainsbury’s, Focus Wickes and Smiths Group plc.

She is a member of the council of the Institute of Employment Studies, and sits on the executive of the Involvement and Participation Association. She is chair of Christian Aid's HR, governance and strategy committee and the remuneration committee.

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Victoria HardmanVictoria Hardman

Victoria chairs Christian Aid's audit and risk committee. She has been involved in international aid as a non-executive for 15 years. She has been deputy chairman of Save the Children and deputy chairman of the Disaster Emergency Committee (DEC).

Victoria was a chief executive in the National Health Service and also has experience of chairing all the major board committees including Audit, and Nomination within the international aid setting. Her management training took place in the NHS and Harvard.

She has travelled widely to observe development overseas and one of her areas of interest is working with marginalised children, both in Britain and overseas.

Victoria and her husband worship in the Parish Church of St. Mary the Virgin, Ware.

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Tom HintonTom Hinton

Tom joined the board in 2010 and is the Financial Controller of British Gas. He has a background in financial reporting, control and performance management and has worked in both corporate finance and strategy.

He is a CIMA qualified accountant and is chair of the Christian Aid finance, investment and fundraising committee. He has a young family, likes to ring local church bells and enjoys playing and watching rugby.

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Mervyn McCullaghMervyn McCullagh

Mervyn McCullagh is executive officer of the Irish Council of Churches and the Irish Inter-Church Meeting. He lived in Indonesia for 11 years where he worked as consultant for church management and development for the local church from 2004 and has served as a missionary for the Presbyterian Church in Ireland since 1998.

A graduate of Trinity College and brought up in Dublin, he has a wide range of cross-cultural, communication, development and project management experience. His father was one of three churchmen who were founding members of Christian Aid in Dublin.

Mervyn has been a trustee of Christian Aid Ireland since December 2011.

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Alan McDonaldThe Very Reverend Dr Alan D McDonald

Alan McDonald has been a parish minister since 1979. He is currently minister of the congregations of St Leonards and Cameron in St Andrews, and before that worked in the city centre of Aberdeen, and an Edinburgh housing scheme.

In 2006 he was elected moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Until 2004 he was the Convener of the Church of Scotland's Church and Nation Committee.

Before becoming a minister he studied Law and, for three years was a solicitor in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

He has been actively involved with Christian Aid at the grass roots since 1977.

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Morag MylneMorag Mylne

Morag Mylne is an elder in the Church of Scotland. She is an advocate at the Scottish bar, as Morag Ross, and her practice is mainly in public law. 

From 1997 to 2008 she was a member of the Church and Nation Committee of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland and then of the Church and Society Council. She served as convener from 2004 to 2008 and in that capacity spoke on behalf of the Church on a wide range of social and political issues.

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Bishop Wilton R PowellBishop Wilton R Powell, OBE, MBA

Bishop Wilton Powell is the National Overseer for the Church of God of Prophecy UK and France. He is a leading advocate for international development in a theological context across the denominations for the relief of poverty and quality of humanity.

He is also chair and a founder member of RAFFA International Development Agency charity, which has been set up to assist people in Africa, Caribbean and Europe.  Bishop Powell currently serves as Vice Chair of Nehemiah UCHA a registered Social Landlord operating within the West Midlands.  

He is married to Delna Powell and they have two daughters Davinia and Marrielle.

Bishop Powell is a qualified Mechanical Engineer and Industrial Administrator with a degree in engineering, and masters in administration serving as senior project engineer for Dunlop Engineers Projects specialising in technological transfers to overseas factories and international project marketing.

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Rt Revd Dr Alastair RedfernThe Right Reverend Dr Alastair Redfern

The Rt Revd Dr Alastair Redfern, Bishop of Derby, studied at the universities of Oxford and Cambridge and later went on gain his PhD at the University of Bristol.  After training as a lawyer, he was accepted into theological training and was ordained deacon in 1976. 

After a curacy in the Diocese of Lichfield, Dr Redfern was appointed Vice-Principal and tutor at Ripon College, Cuddesdon, and later Director of Training and Canon Theologian in the Diocese of Bristol.  In 1997 he was consecrated and appointed Bishop of Grantham. 

Bishop Alastair has been a member of numerous committees in the national Church.  He was translated in 2005 to the See of Derby.  Publications include 'Ministry and Priesthood', 'Being Anglican', 'Growing the Kingdom: The Letter to the Hebrews as a Resource for Mission', 'Thomas Hobbes and the Limits of Democracy' and most recently 'Public Space and Private Faith; A Challenge to the Churches.'  He is also co-chair of the Inter-faith Network.

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Brian RidsdaleBrian Ridsdale    

Brian Ridsdale spent 11 years as head of financial services company Zurich Life in the UK and he has led work on social policy issues with the actuarial profession and as a partner in a consultancy.

He has been involved with Christian Aid through his local church for many years and visited our partners in Ghana and India. He joined the board in 2005.  He is married to Anne, and they have five children and a few grandchildren.

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Paul SprayPaul Spray

Paul has been Policy and Campaigns Director of Traidcraft since March 2010.  From 1997 to 2010, he worked for DFID in a variety of roles, including leading the debt relief initiative, and heading departments responsible for Nigeria, for research funding, and most recently for Latin America and the Caribbean.

He was Policy and Campaigns Director for Christian Aid in the 1990s. He has also worked for the Catholic Institute of International Relations, and for the governments of Botswana and Lesotho. He was a Board member of CAFOD, and was awarded a papal knighthood for services to ecumenical relations.  He is a Methodist local preacher.

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Carla StentCarla Stent

Carla Stent, a chartered  accountant, was until very recently the Chief Operating Officer at Virgin Group. She has spent most of her UK career in a combination of the travel and banking industries and has operated at board level for many years.

She has also previously held the Chief Administrative Officer and deputy CFO role in the Chief Financial Office for the Global Retail and Commercial Bank at Barclays plc, (acting) Managing Director and COO role in Barclays Business Banking where she drove a large-scale reorganisation of the business model and significant strategic and organic growth.

She is a strong leader of people and has been described as a 'transforming visionary' in Business Women of the Year Awards. She is a trustee of Platform 51 (formerly YWCA) and is also a director of several start-up businesses.

She co-founded the Women of the Future Ambassador Programme and often speaks on women’s issues.

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Bishop Trevor WilliamsBishop Trevor Williams

Trevor Williams, Bishop of Limerick and Killaloe, became Chair of Christian Aid Ireland in 2010. He was born in Dublin and ordained in the Diocese of Oxford but has worked for over 30 years in Northern Ireland.

Prior to being elected Bishop in 2008 he was Rector of Ballysillan and Ardoyne on North Belfast's Peace line. He has worked with BBC Northern Ireland in news, current affairs and religious programmes (1980-1988).

In 1993 Trevor was elected leader of Corrymeela, an ecumenical community committed to reconciliation in Northern Ireland (1993-2003). He continues to be involved in the work of reconciliation, inter-church and inter-faith relations, community development and communications.

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