Eco-Congregation Scotland is a Scottish registered charity (SC041287) regulated by the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) as a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO). The trustees are in overall control and management of the charity. They are responsible for Eco-Congregation Scotland’s governance and strategy, making sure that the charity is administered effectively and accounts for its activities and outcomes.
These are the biographies of the trustees who have been elected at the AGM or co-opted between AGMs. The procedure for electing directors can be found in our Memorandum of Association.
MARY SWEETLAND (Chair)
Mary is an Elder and Eco-Convener for Alexandria Parish Church, located in The Lomond & Trossachs National Park at Balloch. Since taking early retirement as Deputy Director for NHS Scotland Information Services in 2009, she has served as a Trustee with several professional and voluntary organisations. She took personal action in caring for the environment – replacing an energy hungry fifties bungalow with a zero-energy Passive House in 2012.
ELIZABETH SOUTH (Vice Chair)
I’m a member of St Martins, Dalry Road Edinburgh, an Episcopal church with a lively eco-congregation group formed in 2005, and strong links with the local community. I became interested in ecology and environmental issues in the late 70s, influenced by Schumacher and others. I worked for Oxfam Campaigns in the 1980s; then for a Scottish churches’ charity engaging with peace and justice issues, local and global, in the 1990s. Reflecting on the spirituality underpinning such action, I felt drawn to train as a spiritual director. Subsequently I helped to establish the Epiphany Group (a network of trained spiritual directors) in 2000. I was a trustee of Oxfam GB for 6 years, and a convenor of the former SEC Overseas Committee. I am a founding member of Spokes, the Lothians cycling campaign. I’m particularly interested in integrating spirituality with ecology/concern for the environment. I welcome the opportunity to serve the Eco-congregation movement in Scotland which seeks to put faith into environmental action.
MARK KIRKBRIDE (Treasurer)
Mark is a senior manager working in the financial services sector in Edinburgh. Outside work he is an active member of Saughtonhall United Reformed Church (URC) which is an award winning eco-congregation. Saughtonhall Church and was the second church in Scotland to install solar panels and is used as a reference site by Energy Savings Trust. Mark has experience in the third sector as a trustee and treasurer of the Scottish Congregational & United Reformed College, a theological institute based in Glasgow.
I am an Elder in the Church of Scotland. I was appointed as the first Convener of the Eco workgroup in my last church (Old & Abbey, Arbroath) during which time we achieved our first and second Eco-Congregation Awards. I helped set up the Angus network and am an Eco-Congregation assessor. I live in Doune, having moved here two years ago. I am retired from the retail industry but seem as busy as ever! Locally, I volunteer in an information and heritage centre, am involved in the woodland group (I can be seen on a regular basis doing my round of Doune Ponds with my black bag and litter picker!) and attend the village church which I can walk to. I am married to Valerie, a Church of Scotland minister, and we have a wonderful mutt, Monty, a Flat Coated Retriever. I am delighted to be in a position to serve as a Board member of Eco-Congregation Scotland. We are living in a time when our environment is at a critical stage, which hugely concerns me. I want to be involved in a movement that can bring the issue of climate change to the forefront by engaging with churches, communities and governments. To me, this is an integral part of my faith. I hope and pray that our work will lead toward a sustainable future for our planet.
A retired chartered surveyor who advised government departments and public authorities in various parts of England on the acquisition, disposal and taxation of property. I have a postgraduate certificate in Politics and Theology and a Master’s Degree in Christian Spirituality (University of Wales, Lampeter). My dissertation focused on the Christian wilderness tradition to see if it could help us to develop a contemporary ecological spirituality. I am a Lay Reader in the Scottish Episcopal Church looking after a small rural church in Aberdeenshire that has just become an eco-congregation and I serve on the diocesan Mission & Ministry Board and the provincial Church in Society Committee with a special interest in green issues.
Sally is head of Christian Aid Scotland and an ordained Church of Scotland minister. Originally from South Carolina in the USA, Sally studied at Columbia Theological Seminary and Glasgow University. She was ordained in 1999 and served as Associate minister of Dunblane Cathedral from 2007 to 2016. She also served as convener of the Church of Scotland’s Church and Society Council from 2012-2016.
John is retired having spent most of his career in the Motor Industry employed by three vehicle manufacturers and the RMI (the Industry Federation) acting as a consultant specialising in finance, and business development. He acted as an advisor to HMRC on the compilation of their economic notes on the Motor Industry. His time in the Industry, particularly with the Volkswagen Group, gave him an appreciation of the enormous impact manufacturers can have on the environment. He has served as a Commissioner on the Scottish Catholic Justice & Peace Commission for several years. One of the Commission’s core objectives is Climate Change underpinned by Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si. As a member of the Justice Peace Group at St. Joseph’s RC Church in Clarkston, he came to know Eco-Congregation through its award scheme. This, coupled with the belief that mankind has responsibility for stewardship of the planet, has driven him to actively promote the principles of ecology and sustainable living as an integral part of his faith. His aim is to extend these principles to a much wider range of congregations within the Catholic Church in Scotland.
I grew up in South-West Ireland; I’m a father and grandfather. I worked more than 40 years at the Institute of Occupational Medicine in Edinburgh, mostly doing research on how a better environment supports human health. I retired as Scientific Director in August 2017, though I’m still active in Scotland and internationally on science-policy issues, especially air pollution. I got to know Eco-Congregation Scotland through my local Catholic parish, Our Lady of Loretto and St Michael’s in Musselburgh. I think that ECS is a very important movement because of its Gospel-based values, and the wide range of its connections throughout Scotland. And especially important in these times of climate emergency and gross inequality, when we all need to make fundamental changes for justice, for the planet, and for the well-being of people everywhere.