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24 February 2017

Alliance bids farewell to comms director

Alliance bids farewell to comms director

Earlier this year, we announced that Chine McDonald, director of communications & membership, will be leaving the Evangelical Alliance in March. Chine was the first black female director to be appointed to the Alliance's leadership team and among the youngest in its 170-year history. idea caught up with her just before she left...

Where did you come from?
I joined the Alliance in 2010 as editor from my previous role as editor at the Crown Prosecution Service, a government department. Prior to that I was a reporter at the then daily newspaper the Reading Evening Post, covering crime, education and faith. I had wanted to be a journalist since I was about 12 years old, but as God would have it, I ended up with a keen interest in religious studies and a theology degree from Cambridge University. The editor role at the Alliance was a perfect place in which to mix my journalistic skills with my love of theology and making faith accessible and relatable. Although I started as editor, I've had various iterations of my role, later becoming head of media & communications before joining the leadership team and overseeing communications, fundraising and membership in 2014. 

How would you describe the job you've done here?
It's been the best job I could have hoped for at this stage in my life. I joined the Alliance at the age of 26 and am so fortunate to have been given responsibilities and gained experiences that I could never have dreamed of – from managing reputational risk, team leadership, recruitment, fundraising regulations, branding, graphic design, public speaking, conflict resolution and a spectacularly rare knowledge of the breadth of the evangelical Church in the UK.

Where are you going?
I'm taking up a new role as head of Christian influence and engagement at World Vision UK, where I'll be heading up the development and implementation of a new strategy to engage and equip the Church in helping the world's most vulnerable children. I'm so excited about the opportunity to engage the UK Church in a renewed commitment to shine God's unconditional love into the world. I'll still in some way feel connected to the Alliance as World Vision is a member organisation – I'm sure I'll be back pestering my former colleagues often!

How would you describe the Alliance in three words?
Aside from 'unity, advocacy, mission', I'd say… family, fun, and faithfilled.

What's been your proudest moment?
The thing I'm most proud of about having worked at the Alliance is working with a brilliant team to start our 20s and 30s online collective – threads. It's a fantastic gift to millennial Christians and those who do not see the Christian faith as relevant to every area of their lives. I'm not only proud of the awards we've won, the people on the fringes we have engaged or the articles and events that we have put on, but I've also been so encouraged by the comments from people who say what a difference it has made in their lives. I'm thankful for the way we have pointed towards Jesus rather than away from him to a generation that no longer speaks the language of faith.

What has been your biggest challenge?
Some of the reputational risk issues in which we have had to deal with difficult situations among our member churches or organisations have been tough – but that is part of why the Alliance is here.

What will you most miss about working at the Alliance?
I have had the privilege of working with some amazing people. There's a unique family atmosphere within the Alliance; our colleagues care about every aspect of our lives. I've faced some of life's big moments at the Alliance and have always felt absolutely supported by Steve Clifford (the best boss one could hope for) and the rest of the staff team. I will also miss the twice-daily group exercises in the office that can only be seen to be believed. I'm talking planks, squats, sit-ups, the lot. I'm not sure I'll be able to replicate such a fun working environment in my future jobs.

What's your hope for the evangelical Church?
That we'd increasingly point to Jesus, the servant king, rather than ourselves. That we would break down barriers between ourselves and be absolutely committed to the unity to which God calls us.

How can we pray for you?
Please pray that I'll settle into my new role and team well and that my husband and I will adapt to the changes that come with the territory – particularly increased overseas travel as I'm a bit of a nervous flyer…

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