Church council convener named new head of Christian Aid Scotland

The Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, Head of Christian Aid Scotland
The Rev Sally Foster-Fulton, Head of Christian Aid Scotland

The convener of the Church of Scotland's Church and Society Council has been appointed the new head of Christian Aid Scotland.

The Rev Sally Foster-Fulton will take over the helm of the ecumenical charity, which tackles the effects and causes of poverty with partners around the world on March 1.

The 51-year-old is stepping down as associate minister at Dunblane Cathedral at the end of February and as convener of the Church and Society Council at the General Assembly in May when her four-year term of office comes to an end.

Mrs Foster-Fulton said she was feeling "excited, daunted and challenged" by the prospect of leading Christian Aid Scotland and "cannot wait to get started".

"I think I have grown into this new role, it is a natural progression," she added.

"I have had a wonderful grounding as the convener of the Church and Society Council which has helped me grow into this role - it has been a vertical learning curve and I look forward to continuing to work for a more equal world where all can flourish.

"But it is a bitter sweet time because I have also had a lovely eight-and-a-half years working at Dunblane Cathedral."

Ms Foster-Fulton, who takes over from the Rev Kathy Galloway as the head of Christian Aid, said the biggest challenge in her new role would be linking local issues in Scotland with those faced by people around the world.

"Christian Aid is all about relationships and works on behalf of partner churches in Scotland and wider afield in an attempt to eradicate poverty - that is what we consistently work for and it resonates in my bones.

"Climate justice, gender justice and tax justice are three of the big aims of Christian Aid and Kathy Galloway has done a remarkable job building the team and connections.

"I hope I can fill those huge shoes and make a different mark."

Ms Foster Fulton, whose husband Stuart is the minister at Logie Kirk in Stirling where the couple live, said there are close connections between the work being carried out by Christian Aid and the Church.

The Church and Society Council is in the process of analysing more than 10,000 responses to the Speak Out: 10,000 Voices for Change' campaign which asked people to identify the core issues which will enable Scotland – and the world – to become fairer, more equal and more just.

The results will shape the Church and Society Council's priorities for justice for at least the next decade.

Ms Foster-Fulton, the mother of two daughters, Alex , 24, and Gracie, 21, who will be predominately based in Glasgow, said: "The Church and Society Council is on the cusp of bringing the results of the campaign to the General Assembly.

"The themes should have great synergy with the work of Christian Aid and I think that puts me in a very good place."

Ms Galloway, a Kirk minister, said she had found the role a "great experience, challenging, exciting and hard work" but the time had come to stand down after nearly seven years in post to focus on writing.

"I am delighted to be handing over the reins to Sally because in her role as convener of the Church and Society Council she has worked a lot with Christian Aid over the last few years, particularly on climate change and tax," she added.

"I feel very confident she has good grasp of the issues and challenges and will be very effective."

The Rev Dr Martin Johnstone, secretary to the Church and Society Council, said Ms Foster-Fulton was an "inspirational leader who cares deeply about people and is passionate about justice".

"Her love of people comes from her deep sense of the love of God," he added.

"We are delighted to hear of her appointment as head of Christian Aid in Scotland.

"I know of no one who could do that job better, bringing to it vast experience and huge integrity alongside a faith which motivates her to believe that a better world is possible."

The Right Rev Dr Angus Morrison, Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, paid tribute to Ms Foster-Fulton's work as convener – a role that will be taken over by the Rev Richard Frazer of Greyfriars Kirk in Edinburgh.

"Over the last four years Sally has made an outstanding contribution to the life of the Church in Scotland," said Dr Morrison.

"In that role she has brought a deep passion for justice, a huge ability to communicate effectively and an instinctive creativity and commitment.

"It is wonderful to know that her considerable skills will now continue to be used within Christian Aid, an organisation that the Church of Scotland has partnered with - and learnt from - over the last 70 years."