18 November 2020
An interview with Sarah Kelsall
In the last blog post, we enjoyed hearing from our 5th and final staff member - Emily Hobbs. And yet, we don’t work alone! WorldShare has a Board of Trustees, made up of 6 fantastic individuals who volunteer their time and wisdom to govern the charity. So that you get an idea of what exactly that means, we’d love to introduce you to Sarah Kelsall, one of our trustees, who has been with us since 2014. Over to you Sarah…
Can you sum up your role at WorldShare in less than 100 words?
I’m part of a team providing support, encouragement and empowerment to the CEO and staff of WorldShare, while looking out for the best interests of the charity itself. My background is in finance so I tend to lean towards that side of things, and aim to act as a sounding board for Jenny, our excellent Finance Manager.
What motivated you to volunteer to become a trustee?
I was introduced to WorldShare by my good friend Sue, who was a trustee at the time. WorldShare was looking for new trustees and she thought I would be a good fit. I had only been a Christian for a relatively short time and I was keen to serve in God’s Kingdom somehow. Becoming a trustee for WorldShare seemed like a great opportunity to serve and contribute to something that had much greater impact and reach than I could hope to make on my own.
But initially, I felt like I would be completely unsuitable! I felt totally intimidated by joining a group of wise and experienced Christians, many of whom had been involved in WorldShare or other international charities for years. I really didn’t see what I would have to offer. However, I quickly found the group to be wonderfully welcoming and I realised from my very first meeting that the skills and experience I had developed in other areas of my life did enable me to contribute.
I also realised (and have found many times since) that God doesn’t expect me to be amazing in the role and have all the answers; it’s enough to be obedient and serve in the way I feel He called me to. And when I feel like I’m not enough, I remind myself of 2 Corinthians 12:9 which says:
‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness’. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
What does a typical board of trustees meeting look like?
If you’d asked me this last year I’d have given a very different answer, as prior to 2020, we met on a quarterly basis in person and we’d spend the day discussing matters and enjoying each other’s company. Since March we, like much of the world, have been forced to meet virtually over Zoom. This has worked really well and I certainly haven’t missed the drive over to Doncaster, but six or so hours on Zoom is a little wearing and I do miss seeing everyone in person!
However we meet, we cover all manner of issues including updates from Alan our CEO, ministry reports, finances and staff matters. As well as providing input on these operational areas, we also discuss governance and strategic issues to ensure that we’re clear about WorldShare’s mission and that everything we do at an operational level is aligned with WorldShare’s purpose and aims.
Most importantly, we try to seek God’s will for WorldShare above all else. We start the meeting with a short devotional and throughout the day we break for prayer - for our ministry partners and those they serve, for our staff and our donors, for the challenges we face and for the many things we have to be thankful of.
What has been your biggest WorldShare highlight this year?
Seeing how God has provided for us - for WorldShare and the ministry partners we work with - during what has been a difficult year. We feared that Covid-19 could have a significant impact, after what has been a challenging past few years financially, and we knew that our ministry partners' needs would be greater than ever. However, the response from our donors has been amazing! God has moved so many people to give generously and we’re really grateful for that, as there is so much need in the areas that our ministry partners work in.
If you could visit one of WorldShare’s ministry partners, which one would it be?
Personal circumstances have as yet prevented me from visiting a ministry partner, but I would love to visit Potter’s House in Guatemala, which serves communities living and scavenging on the largest landfill site in Central America. Hector Rivas, CEO of Potter’s House, came to speak at my church and it was inspiring to hear how young lives are being saved and transformed within those communities through personal relationship with God.
Outside of being a trustee for WorldShare, how do you spend your time?
I’m married to John, we have two children, George and Martha, and live on a working dairy farm - all of which is a job in itself! But I also work as the Finance Manager for a manufacturing company and am a trustee of Garstang Free Methodist Church. In my spare time I enjoy cooking, seeing friends (Covid permitting!) and going to the cinema. Although in 2020, I seem to have spent an awful lot of time watching TV and wasting hours on the internet!