Dear Cornerstone family,
I am extremely excited to become Chief Executive Officer of Cornerstone on 3rd January 2023.
I’m grateful to the Board of Trustees for putting their faith in me to lead the staff team, and I will strive to meet and exceed their expectations.
First of all, I must salute my predecessor, the founder of Cornerstone and the only CEO our charity has ever had – Pam Birtle. At my interview the panel highlighted the passion, energy, commitment, personal sacrifice, vision, and audacity Pam brought to the role, and I will endeavour to learn from her legacy and build on her successes.
The more I learn about Cornerstone the more I love what God has done and is doing through it. From the moment of its conception, through valleys and victories, this great charity has stood faithful to Christ and His call. I am inspired by the way in which it has continually called on the church to participate in caring for the most vulnerable children in our society, and then stood shoulder to shoulder with those who have stepped forward to do so. To represent them in any capacity is a deep privilege.
My wife Laura and I first became aware of Cornerstone when we met a Cornerstone foster family about ten years ago. For as long as Laura can remember she has been passionate about adoption and fostering; my own heart has grown by degrees over the years and one expression of this was our adopting through our local authority a few years ago. Another expression was some early work we were doing to develop a grant-making charitable fund that could financially support those whose hearts were ready to foster or adopt but whose house didn’t yet have a spare bedroom and whose bank accounts weren’t quite able to stretch! We seized the opportunity God gave us last year to discuss these ideas with Pam and others at Cornerstone; their enthusiasm at exploring how such a project might bring more foster carers forward and our shared passion for vulnerable children are what ultimately compelled me to apply to the
role of CEO.
As I write I can recall a particularly poignant milestone in my own heart journey which perhaps explains what led me here. Around ten years ago I was engaged in some dynamic youth work in a sleepy market town with what public servants at that time called ‘hard-to-reach’ young people. At that particular moment they didn’t seem particularly hard-to-reach; if anything, I felt overwhelmed by their number, the extent of their suffering, and their proximity! One fatherless teenager was going through a particularly complex and terrible time at home and I was becoming very involved in his family life; one night I got on my knees to pray for him and read
Isaiah 58, a passage we probably all know pretty well. I trembled as God’s words in verses six and seven rocked me: ‘bring to your house the poor who are cast out’. My house. That particular young man didn’t end up coming to live with us, but the year after that we took in
another young man on a short-term, private arrangement and we’ve tried to keep the spare bedroom occupied ever since. Through sharing our home in a variety of ways, not least through adoption, I have experienced something of what our incredible foster carers experience day in, day out. They are the core of who we are and what we do, the priests who carry God’s presence into battle and share His love with those who desperately need it. As CEO I will work together with trustees in the vanguard that defends our carers from the front, and with social workers and the business support team in the rear-guard that equips them for the fight. Together we are the Cornerstone family and I am grateful to you for adopting me!
I grew up in Sheffield in a Christian home and put my faith in Christ at a young age, surrendering my will and deciding to truly follow Him later on as a teenager. I moved to York to study when I was 18. I have a history degree and post-graduate diploma in local government management. I have led a team within an insurance company, managed projects for a local authority (two years of which were spent in Children’s Services), carried out community and pastoral work as an evangelist within an independent evangelical church, and run a small property improvement business. I co-direct Intercessors for Britain, a national prayer charity. My greatest strengths are people and project management, business process analysis, communication, organisation, and team leadership. I derive huge satisfaction from helping team-mates find their lane and bear much fruit in it. I’m innately social and collaborative and firmly believe that in all situations the answer is in the team, and that the leader’s job is not to have all the answers but draw them out.
Many years ago the Lord set before the Cornerstone family a unique and exciting vision, captured in our founding Memorandum of Association. It commits us to ‘provide a high-quality adoption and fostering childcare service according to Christian principles’, and that vision has not changed. How we run in obedience to that vision does of course look different according to season. The last three and-a-half years have brought the United Kingdom a pandemic, a European war, four Prime Ministers, a recession, liberal capitulation in many Christian denominations and over 100,000 looked-after children. We must not be unduly intimidated; our God is the same and will provide the faith, freedom, and the finances we need. As one of my heroes Hudson Taylor famously said, ‘God’s work done in God’s way never lacks God’s resources.’ As CEO I will focus on building a tightly knit team of energised and process-driven members who will work together professionally in pursuit of God’s call to continue placing children into loving homes, support foster carers and adoptive parents, stand firm in a changing world and preach wherever we can of the glory of Jesus and His love for children. I look forward to joining this team and working shoulder-to-shoulder with you.
Blessings to you in the name of Yeshua!