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The Board is the group of trustees of the Evangelical Alliance and is made up of up to 25 members of the Council, appointed at the Annual General Meeting. The Board meets five times a year to discuss the vision and direction of the Alliance and ensure that the affairs of the Alliance are conducted properly.

Mike Talbot

Mike Talbot, Chair

Mike Talbot has been the vicar of Emmanuel Church, Northwood since 2002, having spent almost 15 years in Northamptonshire - first in Rushden, and then, for 11½ years, at the Church of Christ the King in Kettering. Prior to ordination, Mike worked at St George's Crypt in Leeds for a couple of years before joining the staff of Universities and Colleges Christian Fellowship (UCCF) where he spent five years trying to encourage students to buy (and read!) Christian books.

Ruth Gilson

Ruth Gilson, Vice Chair

Ruth is director of Girls' Brigade Ministries (GB), working with a team of colleagues and local volunteers, all committed to children's and youth ministry.

Ruth's key passion is to equip 'ordinary' women in the Church to be confident to join in with God's mission, particularly among girls and young women. With others in the team, Ruth has helped GB to re-affirm its roots as a mission-focused organisation - pioneering and developing new models of local evangelism and nurture. At present she is focused on enabling GB to raise up an 'Esther Generation' of young women in the UK - released and empowered as God's people of transformation in their generation. Internationally, GB is currently involved in various mission initiatives among girls and women in more than 50 countries.


Peter Jeffrey, Treasurer

Peter has been chairman of Urban Saints (formerly Crusaders) for the past 12 years, having previously served on its board for approximately 15 years. He remains an active leader of Urban Saints Guildford, a group in contact with around 150 boys aged 9-18. Peter is passionate about reaching and growing young men in the Christian family, especially those from non-churched families. He regularly speaks on creative ways to present spiritual truths to boys.

Peter is a member of Guildford Baptist Church and chairman of YMCA Guildford. He is also a trustee of Cross Pollinate. Professionally, Peter is a partner of PwC and a chartered accountant. Recently he has advised various governments and leading international bodies such as the OECD on the credit crunch.  Peter joined the Alliance Board in 2010 as treasurer.


John Coyne

John became a member of the Evangelical Alliance Board and Council in 2011. He especially values the experience of serving with others from across the evangelical spectrum who bring wisdom from other denominations and streams.  

He began his working life in local government and has run his own business. John has been an ordained minister of the Church of England since 1979.  Since then he has served in parishes, been an RAF chaplain, hospital chaplain, Dean of College at St John’s Nottingham where he taught practical theology, and director of the regional leadership team at CPAS. He has recently been appointed as rector of Aldridge in the Diocese of Lichfield.  He is passionate about helping local churches grow in vision, nurture disciples, develop leaders and become effective in holistic mission and evangelism.  


Derek Crookes

Derek is a semi-retired businessman who lives mainly in South Manchester, but also partly in the USA. Having sold his main business in 2001 he now is a junior partner in a business in North Carolina and gives business advice to a number of small Christian-owned businesses in the UK.
Derek acts as a trustee to a number of Christian organisations, including the Alliance, where he is the longest-serving Board member. He was the co-founder of the Manchester Prayer Breakfast in 1990 and is still actively involved. He is a member of Poynton Baptist Church in Cheshire.


Rachel Gardner

Rachel is co-founder and director of the Romance Academy, a national youth charity that seeks to equip young people with the tools to value themselves and build positive relationships. Drawing on over 10 years of experience as a high schools’ outreach youth worker, she trains youth professionals across the UK to deliver relationships and sex education based on biblical wisdom.

Rachel is bestselling author of Cherished and co-author of Rise: one way, one life, one master. She is a regular speaker at Christian youth festivals and sits on the Sex Education Forum, the national authority on sex education in the UK. She is involved in St Peter's West Harrow, where her husband is the youth pastor.


Julian Richards

Julian is the senior leader of Cornerstone Church in Swansea. He founded the church in an economically and socially deprived area of Swansea in 1989. Cornerstone serves its local community with many social action projects and has received a number of awards in recognition of its community work.

Julian also leads the Swansea Churches Forum, serving to represent the Church in Swansea to local government. He is president of Gweini, serving to represent the Churches in Wales involved in community work to the Welsh Assembly.

Julian and his wife Sarah travel regularly speaking to people on how to build a church that attracts, influences and engages with contemporary society.


Arlene Small

Arlene is a barrister who specialises in family law.  Most of the work she does involves advising and assisting those who are experiencing issues within their family relationships.  She is also a qualified mediator.

Arlene is an active member at Emmanuel Christian Centre (ECC) in Walthamstow.  She also volunteers at the 180 Project, a drop-in centre for the homeless, which is run by ECC.

Kate Coleman

Kate Coleman, Chair of the Evangelical Alliance Council

Kate is chair of the Evangelical Alliance Council. She is the founder and director of Next Leadership, former president of the Baptist Union of Great Britain (2006/7), and associate pastor of a church plant. Recognised as one of the most influential black Christian women leaders in the UK (Keep The Faith magazine issue 38, May 2008), Kate is a popular author, preacher, teacher, speaker, lecturer and strategic advisor.


Rachel Westcott

Rachel is director of human resources for an international NGO working in 26 countries in Africa, Asia and the Pacific region. Rachel has spent 11 years working in international development, having been first inspired to change careers following a short term mission trip to Uganda in 1997. Prior to this she worked in the UK rail industry in both HR and operations management roles. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

Rachel attends All Souls Church, Langham Place, London where she is involved in supporting world mission activities and for a number of years chaired the All Souls short term mission scheme.

Steve Holmes

Steve Holmes

Steve Holmes is a Baptist minister, an author and a speaker. He is senior lecturer in Theology at the University of St Andrews, where he teaches in the areas of historical and systematic theology, and also on homiletics. His research interests include evangelical Christianity, particularly its theological commitments, and Baptist theology, in both historical and contemporary expressions. Steve is also involved in a number of knowledge transfer activities, seeking to bridge the gap between the academy and the churches, particularly evangelical churches. He speaks regularly at Christian conferences and at ministers' meetings and leads church retreats. He publishes at a popular as well as an academic level, and often offers theological consultancy to Christian organisations. Steve is the chair of the Theology and Public Policy Advisory Commission (TAPPAC) of the Alliance. He has also been on the Alliance Council since September 2009.