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SCIAF welcomes new Bishop President to its Board of Trustees

27 April 2023

Bishop Brian McGee SCIAF office

SCIAF has a new Bishop President for the first time in nine years – with Bishop Brian McGee being welcomed to the role, heading up the Board of Trustees.  

Bishop McGee is Bishop of Argyll and the Isles and has been on SCIAF’s Board since 2016. Just a few weeks ago he travelled with our Chief Executive Alistair Dutton to Ethiopia to see our work with partners, something he described as “a privileged ministry”. Bishop McGee takes over from Bishop Joseph Toal who has served as SCIAF’s Bishop President for nine years. 

SCIAF Chief Executive Alistair Dutton said:

“I am delighted to welcome Bishop Brian as our new President and would like to express my profound thanks to Bishop Joe for all his commitment and wise counsel throughout his tenure. I remember Bishop Joe’s visits with me to our partners in Colombia and Ethiopia very fondly and was always struck by his gentle sensitivity in his encounters with the local organisations which are our partners and the people our programmes serve.  

“Bishop Brian has been eager to be involved with SCIAF’s work since he joined our Board in 2016 and brings a new energy and passion for SCIAF’s cause. Keen to see our work first hand, he has visited our work with Caritas India and Caritas Lebanon, and most recently, he and I visited Ethiopia in February to express our solidarity with our partners who are coping with the very acute food crisis in the south and the consequences of the civil war which had raged in Tigray for more than two years.” 

Of his new appointment, Bishop McGee said:

“When people hear of SCIAF they immediately think of responses to extreme poverty or sudden emergencies. This, of course, is true. But SCIAF is much more than that.  

“As our official Aid Agency, SCIAF implements Catholic Social Teaching which has, at its core, Integral Human Development. It’s not sufficient to merely ensure people are fed, crucial as this is, but the whole human person must be allowed to develop. One example of this is the empowerment of women.  

“Since childhood I have been concerned about poverty and my passion for justice has developed over the years. I am delighted to take on the role of Bishop President with SCIAF and look forward to working with our partners, the Board, SCIAF staff and of course our dedicated supporters and volunteers to ensure we continues to reach out to our sisters and brothers in need, wherever they may be.”  

SCIAF remains grateful to Bishop Toal for his time as Bishop President. The Board diversified under Bishop Toal’s leadership, with more lay people and more women becoming involved. The charity also benefitted from Bishop Toal’s strong leadership, as he skillfully guided SCIAF and staff through the pandemic. 

He said:

“I will look back very fondly on my time as SCIAF’s Bishop President – it’s been such an honour. I have travelled to Ethiopia and Colombia where I have witnessed the life-changing work of SCIAF and how it has and continues to help change people’s lives for the better.  

 “The most important thing is just how it does this. SCIAF works hand-in-hand with partners, gaining a deep understanding of the needs, hopes and desires of local people and communities and helps them realise these.  

 “These are challenging times for charities and even more challenging for our sisters and brothers in the global south. My thoughts and prayers are with you all as I’m sure you will rise to these challenges with faith, love and enthusiasm.”