Christians on the Left is a very effective movement with a large and growing membership as well a fantastic network of supporters and partner organisations. But it's run by a fairly small team of people. Here, you can find out a bit more about the people behind the day-to-day running of the movement. To get in touch with any of the team, find contact details below or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Chair: Jonathan Reynolds MP
Director: Dr Andrew Flannagan
Secretary: Sam Brown
Having been involved with Christians on the Left extensively since volunteering in my university holidays, I have seen the impact that Christians have, and continue to make on the left of British politics.
This coming year provides Christians on the Left an opportunity to build on what has been a remarkable few months. Within the gloom of an electoral defeat for Labour, membership of Christians on the Left has surged. As Secretary I am delighted to contribute to coordinating this dynamic and thriving membership.
The experience I have had of working for a large banking corporation and now as a Parliamentary Assistant in Westminster helps in the role of Secretary: continuing Christians on the Left’s mission to inspire, resource and equip Christians on the left of British politics.
Vice Chair for Fundraising: Vicky Cole
I joined Christians on the Left shortly after the 2010 election defeat out of a desire to be more involved in politics, as I come from a family with strong Labour heritage. I was greatly encouraged by the Show Up weekend in November 2015 to do so in a more proactive way.
I most recently worked for Christian International Peace Service (CHIPS) as Fundraising Officer. This encompasses community fundraising, organising fundraising events and making applications to trusts and foundations. I also did some communications; producing newsletters and prayer emails along with updating the website. As CHIPS is a small but growing charity, I feel that this experience puts me in a good place to help CotL move forward. I also worked in Tearfund’s institutional fundraising team for around 18 months. I am passionate about social justice and relish the chance to support CotL to take forward our vision and spread the word.
Vice Chair: Shona Elliott
Treasurer: Steven Saxby
I came to faith and politics as a teenager, and remain a convinced Christian Socialist to this day. Since Anglican ordination in 1998, I have always worked on the boundaries between Church and Society, seeking to advance gospel values in both.
Currently I serve as a Vicar in Walthamstow and as Executive Officer of London Churches Social Action. I am particularly active in campaigns standing with migrants and refugees, against racism and for peace.
I am also active in the Labour movement, chairing my local branch and also chairing the Faith Workers' Branch of Unite the Union. It is a joy to support the amazing work of Christians on the Left as Treasurer. We are in exciting times where Labour politics is being revived by grassroots movements and many of the values which Christians share with others for the common good.
I hope to help our organisation inspire more people to get involved and work for the transformation in our country and world which we so desperately need.
Membership: Pat Finlow
Based in Folkestone, Pat is currently nearing the finish line of a PhD in International Politics, having previously worked for over 20 years in the voluntary sector, most of which was in a communications and fundraising capacity for Christian organisation.
Her PhD research builds on her MA in Political Communication and Society by exploring the different ways faith and faith groups interact with other factors to influence global politics and social change.
Political Communications: Stephen Beer
We have an exciting opportunity ahead of us. I have been working hard to tell people about the work of Christians on the Left and our beliefs. That has included media interviews, liaising with the media, and liaising with the Labour Party on joint events such as the annual conference church service. We have been modelling the “new politics” for a long time. We need to make the most of changes in the Labour Party and bring more people into politics. My career is focused on bringing Christian values to business and the City. www.stephenbeer.com
General members of the national executive 2016-2017
Claudine Reid MBE
Claudine is Director of PJ’s Community Service, a Renowned Social Enterprise specialising in providing services to enhance and transform communities, by providing, Care, Education and Economic Empowerment & Arts services and development programs.
Claudine is also a trainer, inspirational speaker and TV & Radio presenter, she supports organisations and individuals to develop their social enterprise and develop social impact strategies.
As a result of the recognition for her achievements in Social Enterprise, Claudine is also involved in a number of other organisations including government departments:
- Former Cabinet Office Social Enterprise Ambassador
- Appointed to the National Social Enterprise Expert Panel for Government Office of Civil Society
- Trustee for the Nurture Foundation - An international Charity working to Support and empower parents in third world countries.
- Department for Works & Pensions - Ethnic Minority Advisory Board
- Prime Ministers Nomination Panel for the Big Society Awards
My faith compels me to pursue righteousness and justice in all areas of life and I believe the Labour party is one vehicle through which these can be achieved. My commitment to turning faith into deeds is demonstrated by the fact I've been selected as the Labour candidate for Council elections later this year and in my nine years as a member I've interned for two MPs and been Parliamentary Assistant to a third. These roles exposed me to numerous forms of political campaigning.
The very first Christians on the Left (CSM) event I attended was at National Conference in 2008 where I was a delegate. At that reception I met an elderly lady whose name escapes me but whose words have echoed in my mind ever since - "Whoever says faith and politics don't mix doesn't understand either".
After three years of active involvement with CotL I have decided to seek election to the Executive Committee so that I can contribute to the development of a strong Christian voice in the political environment.
I believe passionately in the need for those seeking to champion social justice and solidarity to be supported both by colleagues and by the wider church, and hope to bring my core skills of networking and conflict resolution to this role. I bring a combination of vision and practicality which I can evidence from extensive developmental and bridge-building both nationally and abroad, and an energy and drive which can mobilise and encourage others.
I would like CotL to practically engage and speak out on issues like housing, legal aid, peace and security. Owen Jones recently wrote ‘it was time for the left to find its voice regarding persecuted Christians’. CotL could be that voice.
Tola says, "I am a veritable, wander-lusting busybody who sometimes tries to get a little too much out of a seven-day week. I've worn many hats over the years (student, solicitor, freelance writer, occasional singer, events organiser, language enthusiast...) and I'm still trying to find the perfect fit. However I think God is less interested in that, and more in me being of service to others and refining my character along the way.
I joined what was then known as CSM in 2010 as another means of being proactive about my faith. I've never perceived myself as a 'four walls of the church' Christian and being part of an organisation such as CotL provides an opportunity to be both practical and prayerful about sharing the Gospel."
Having worked for The Salvation Army for 18 years, Russell has spent the last seven years leading Chapel St, a small group of charities delivering public and community services in partnership with local churches and community groups. Along with this he also volunteers for Baroness Sherlock, supporting her as Shadow Minister for Work and Pensions in the House of Lords.
In the run up to the 2015 General Election Russell worked in the Labour Leader's Office, seeking to build stronger connections between the Party, churches and faith communities. Following the election, he has continued his work with Chapel St and launched the Good Faith Partnership, an initiative that facilitates projects and partnerships between public institutions and faith based organisations.
Russell believes that the Christian community has a vital role to play in the renewal of politics and in reimagining our public life.
David is currently studying law at university and has been involved with Christians on the Left (and the Christian Socialist Movement before that) for about four years. He first became interested in politics as a teenager when he realised that "there is a direct link between the policies enacted by our elected politicians and the welfare of society as a whole". He is keen to challenge the apathy of many Christians towards the political system and to see them engage with the existing structures in order to pursue equality and social justice.
Kieran Turner, Scotland Rep
I am passionate about the role of Christians on the Left being good for our communities and good for the Labour Party. In Scotland we have seen citizen activism increase on a huge scale over the last couple of years and there is great opportunity for Christians on the Left to be at the forefront of this & also to become a positive voice contributing to the renewal of Scottish Labour.
I’ve been a Member of CotL for a number of years and worked in Holyrood and across the Highlands and Islands for Labour MSPs, as well as running for Highland Council in 2012. Now based again in my home city of Glasgow, I live with my wife Helen in the East End as part of an EDEN project, committing with a local church to living long term in our local community, and contributing to its ongoing development and regeneration.
Yorkshire and the Humber Rep - Could this be you?
If you would like to help local members connect, perhaps organise some events or assist others to do so and generally enthuse about working on the left of politics, please contact us at email@example.com or give us a call!
Richard Robinson, East Midlands Rep
Richard is COTL East Midlands Representative.
He is married to Sarah with two children Laura & Joseph. He lives in Nottingham where he is a Labour & Coop Borough Councillor. His full time job is Senior Parliamentary Assistant to Gavin Shuker MP. Richard and Sarah are active members of Trent Vineyard church in Nottingham.
Richard works closely with Maurice Glasman et al to support and promote the Blue Labour initiative as a means of helping the Labour Party restore credibility and trust with the public at large.
In what little spare time he has Richard supports Leeds United, likes drinking red wine, and enjoys visiting Rhodes.
Mike Cronogue, West Midlands Rep
Originally from the ancient county of Middlesex, Mike “emigrated” to the Black Country in 2003 and now lives in Bloxwich in the Borough of Walsall. A member of the Anglican Communion, he is a Lay Worship Leader and Preacher in his local team parish as well as an occasional Bible Study Leader. He is a passionate advocate of Social Justice with a special interest in homelessness - something he has experienced personally.
Previously Mike has campaigned on behalf of people living with Motor Neurone Disease and other neurological conditions including, organising awareness-raising events, public speaking, article and blog writing and the creation of social media presence. In 2013 he chaired the launch event for The Black Country Neurological Alliance (BCNA), a signposting service designed to provide both people living with a neurological condition and healthcare professionals, dedicated points of contact across the boroughs of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall & Wolverhampton.
Mike lists his Christian political heroes as including: Archbishop William Temple, R H Tawney, Professor John Hull and former Labour Party Leader, John Smith. He is currently studying for a BA in Ecumenical Theology at The Queen’s Foundation in Birmingham.
Fiona Green, Eastern Rep
Fiona lives in Luton, where she is an active member of her local Labour Party and a local councillor. She is an active part of City Life Church, which aims to reach 18-30s in Luton who have little or no experience of church. Fiona works as a project manager for Youthscape, a national youth work organisation based in Luton. In her spare time enjoys reading political theology, writing, watching films and developing her front crawl.
Graham Hunter, London Rep
Rev'd Graham Hunter has served on the Executive Committee of Christians on the Left since 2012. He was appointed Vicar of St John’s Church, Hoxton in 2010 having previously served his curacy at St Mary Magdalene’s Church, Holloway Rd. Prior to ordination, Graham worked as a Worship & Youth Pastor in a church in west London.
He has a number of roles beyond the parish church, including being a Governor of six primary school in Hackney; a Trustee / Director of the Hackney Foodbank; a Trustee / Director of the Diocese of London; and as a Trustee of Streetlevel - a local youth charity.
Graham has undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in Theology, and has a particular interest in political theology and charismatic worship and liturgy. Graham is married and has three primary school age children. When not busy with church and family life, he likes listening to jazz, playing guitar or trumpet, cooking, and watching repeats of the West Wing.
Sunny Mandich, South East Rep
From my childhood, I was involved with my local community and church, in particular with working with marginalised groups in our society to enable them to have a voice. However, it was Andy Flanagan’s book ‘Those who show up’, that demonstrated the pathways into party politics and inspired me to become involved within the Labour Party.
The first steps into the public sphere are often the most challenging, which is why I consider that Christians on the Left can be so effective in providing this support. In building our relationships with members and connecting them with others in their local communities, we can encourage them on their journey.
Martin Holst, South West Rep
Martin is a former maths lecturer, and elected staff governor in tertiary education. He is now retired and a member of the college of medicine's Patients' Council, the south west regional rep for Christians on the Left and involved with the annual Tolpuddle Festival.
David Smith, North Rep
David is originally from Paisley, Renfrewshire. He studied Modern History and Politics at the University of Glasgow, and did his Masters degree in Reconciliation Studies at Trinity College, Dublin. He and his wife Donna have lived in Sunderland for the last eight years, and they have an ten year old daughter, Eve, and a son, Joseph who is four.
In working life, David’s roles have included running a peace-making project for young people in Northern Ireland in response to the the Troubles and being a full-time volunteer manager and grassroots campaigner with the international development charity Tearfund across Northern Ireland, Scotland and the North of England.
For the last six years, David has been leading the International Programme team of the charity Bible Society which manages our work in over 140 countries. David is very involved in his local Labour Party in Sunderland, attends Bethany City Church in the city and is a Parent Governor at a local Junior School. David loves football, and as a supporter of St Mirren, Sunderland and Scotland is consequently both a dreamer and a supreme optimist in equal measure.
Mark Wodrow, North West Rep
I have been a Labour Party member for the past three years having rejoined after joining as an undergraduate in 1988. I live in Stockport and am a branch member at Denton and Reddish. I am a lifelong Labour supporter and believe in democratic socialism, a fair, just Britain, where everyone can achieve and all can meet their God given potential. I attend Northern Moor community church and believe in the kingdom of God being built through community outreach and love in action through social and political activism.
As the North West regional representative I want to begin to build a network of supporters in the North West where the policies of the current government are doing so much harm. This includes organizing more events and get-togethers where we can support each other and begin to challenge the current wave of austerity and support the Labour Party in putting together policies and ideas that will bring about a more just and equal country. I have recently joined Momentum and believe that we must work together despite differences we may have about policies and how we can bring about a just and fair Britain. I am a member of the Child Poverty Action Group, Greenpeace, and Shelter, as well as being an active supporter of all that Tearfund do.
Jonny Currie, Northern Ireland Rep
Tony Graham, Wales Rep
Having worked as a solicitor for 10 years I trained as a pastor and co-led a church in the South Wales valleys for 7 years before moving to my current role with the Trussell Trust 4 years ago.
As the Wales & Northern Ireland Foodbank Network Manager for the Trussell Trust I manage a network of 140 centres across both countries. This has given me an insight into the struggles that people across some of the UK’s poorest nations face as they deal with the effects of poverty. I manage three Regional Development Officers and deal with all media and political issues for the Trussell Trust in Wales & Northern Ireland.
I joined Labour in April 2015 having been a supporter/voter for 20 years and am currently secretary of my local branch and campaign manager for Hefin David who is standing in this May’s Assembly election in Caerphilly. I hope to stand for the local County Council in 2017.
Office and Communications Manager:
Daniel has worked for CotL since January 2016 and enjoys taking on the myriad of tasks involved in running the office and co-coordinating events and communications. Daniel's wife Hannah is a Junior Doctor and between them they juggle childcare for their three under-5s, work and getting stuck into their community in South East London, where they live and attend a local Church whilst figuring out what "whole life discipleship" means.
We have a fantastic team of volunteers who do all sorts of amazing work with us, from editing the website, writing articles, managing our Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, to planning and organising events, fundraising, promoting and praying for us. We'd be at a bit of a loss without them. Thanks to you all, you know who you are.