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08 March 2017

5 great women of the Evangelical Alliance

5 great women of the Evangelical Alliance

Over the last 170 years, the Evangelical Alliance has been shaped by some extraordinary women. While women were more likely to be Alliance supporters than speakers for the first 100 years, many of our recent projects have been defined by the work of influential women on our staff, board and council. This International Women’s Day, we look at five of them.

Helen Calder

Helen worked for the Alliance from 1999 in the finance and operations team, and was appointed executive director of finance and services in 2007. Helen worked in the glass and brewing industries for 12 years, rising to senior management level. she was often the only woman in the room, before becoming the highest senior woman in an organisation of 6,000 people. She has been a trustee of a number of Christian charities, has a passion for effective management in Christian organisations and for organisations and churches getting the right balance between faith and good financial management. Helen left the Alliance in 2016 after 17 years.

Chine McDonald

Chine joined the Evangelical Alliance in 2010 as editor, and later became head of media and communications, before joining the leadership team in 2014 as director of communications & membership. For the past two years she has been responsible for the organisation's corporate communications, including its editorial, web and social media output, as well as the business development, membership, fundraising and marketing teams. She played a key role in the launch of threads in 2012 – the Alliance's online collective of people in their 20s and 30s exploring faith and life – which has won both Best Christian Blog and Best Multi-Author Blog three times at the Premier Digital Awards. This week she left the Alliance for World Vision.

Kate Coleman

Kate was the first female chair of council, and served in the position from March 2012 – October 2014. “I’m very passionate about leadership in different spheres. But I have a particular interest in women in leadership because I am one. The issues that women have to deal with are huge. The structures, values, systems and attitudes of society can make women’s leadership a very difficult endeavour, particularly in the Church. The issues that women have to deal with are firstly external. They’re also internal because we imbibe the messages that society gives to us. So we have to struggle with them and refuse them and embrace what God is saying to us as human beings but also as leaders called to lead. My major passion is that women will find themselves able to fulfil God’s original mandate to male and female to steward in accordance with His purposes. I believe until women are alongside men in leadership that God’s purposes can’t be fulfilled.”

Lady Mary Bates

Lady Bates was responsible for organising meetings and receptions for the Alliance in the 1940s and gave speeches at these gatherings. At a meeting she organised for the Alliance, she said: “My interest in the World’s Evangelical Alliance [which later became the UK Alliance] goes back many years. I think it was first aroused during the first world war, when Mr Martyn Gooch and the Council instituted those wonderful prayer meeting at the Queen’s Hall. They were marvellous monthly gatherings. From that time to this, my interest has never wavered, because of the foundations on which the word of the Alliance is built. It is true to the word of God.”

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Lady Bates

Bishop Pat Storey

Bishop Pat was a rector in Londonderry when she elected as the first woman bishop in the Church of Ireland. The married mother of two, who grew up in Belfast, studied French and English at Trinity College in Dublin and trained at the Church of Ireland Theological College and was ordained deacon in 1997 and priest in 1998. When elected as Ireland’s first woman bishop, she sat on the Evangelical Alliance Northern Ireland board, and was therefore the NI rep of the UK Alliance Council.