Embrace Regional Team


Neil helps put up the stand at New WineNeil Graham - Regional Team Manager

My connection with the Middle East goes back to Edinburgh in the year 2000, when slightly by accident I found myself enrolled on an Arabic course – I needed an extra course and nothing else fitted my timetable! Since then, my love affair with the Arab world has grown year on year, and I’ve added a degree in Arabic from Edinburgh University and a Masters in Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

I have lived in the region for the last few years, first in Jordan, where my voluntary work in Palestinian refugee camps for UNRWA fuelled my ongoing desire to reach out to refugees with the compassion of Jesus, and then in East Jerusalem, where my understanding of the Israel-Palestinian conflict was greatly deepened through my daily interaction with people from both communities, all the while living ten meters from the Israeli Separation Barrier.

Away from the Middle East, I love spending time with my children – Hamish who was born in Amman, Jordan and who loves heat, and Lucy who was born in Edinburgh and who loves the cold! I am also a passionate supporter of the mighty Brighton and Hove Albion; even while living in the Middle East I always managed to see at least one game a season, and I’m looking forward to managing a few more than that now I’m back home.

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Su McClellan in a classroom with smiling childrenSu McClellan - Senior Regional Manager

Su made her first visit to the Middle East in 1991 and has had a passion for the region ever since. Having spent time in all the countries where Embrace works she likes nothing more than to tell others about the amazing work that Embrace’s partners do, often in the most challenging of circumstances.

Su has an academic interest in development but her background in the Church Army makes her an effective speaker across differing age and interest groups. She is equally at home preaching on the lectionary readings for the day, taking school assemblies, showing slide-shows to small groups or giving extended talks that reflect the theological and political challenges facing the region. You’ll also find her representing Embrace at the Greenbelt Festival with the fabulous band of volunteers that work alongside her.

Being married to a parish priest Su understands the pressures that busy clergy live with and so she seeks to develop relationships with churches that will benefit them as much as Embrace. Having worked in Anglican, Methodist, Pentecostal and Baptist churches she is comfortable in a wide variety of settings and is keen to emphasise the truly ecumenical nature of the charity.

In her spare time Su sings in a choir, plays the ukulele, runs and walks. Her favourite TV programme of all time is The West Wing and she’s partial to watching a good game of rugby.

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Mark Calder - Regional Manager (Scotland and Northern England)

STOP PRESS: In 2019 Mark will run 14 ultramarathons to help Iraqi refugees return home – and you can be part of this amazing life-changing challenge...Please visit runninghome2019.co.uk for more details.

Since my first month-long visit to Egypt as a 19-year old, the Middle East has been my personal and professional passion. Having travelled, studied and volunteered in the region including time in Yemen, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Lebanon, I had the opportunity to conduct 16 months of fieldwork in Bethlehem focusing on Syriac Orthodox Christians.

After completing my doctorate at the University of Aberdeen, I researched peace-building in Syria and the predicament of young people across the southern and eastern Mediterranean regions, working with Durham University.

I am fascinated by the cultural diversity of this part of the world and my enthusiasm for Embrace stems especially from the partnership approach which ensures our supporters are giving to those best placed to respond to specific local needs and situations. I am greatly motivated by the opportunity to support inspiring servant-leaders and organisations which practise commitment to their neighbours and homelands as part of their Christian witness.

Hailing originally from the West Midlands, Aberdeenshire is my current home, where I live with my wife Karen and two young daughters, Bethan and Alya. My other obsessions are marathon running and music: my first job was for a record company and my PhD was part-funded by working as a singing waiter, so I’m always happy to sing when I come to speak about Embrace the Middle East!

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Liz Baddaley - Regional Manager (Church Engagement)

My role involves working alongside others at Embrace (especially the Regional and wider Fundraising and Marketing team) to deepen and grow our engagement with churches and their members. This includes developing Embrace’s faith-based resources to even better serve and involve our existing and future supporters in upholding – and learning from – our Christian partners in the Middle East through prayer, giving and action.

I was delighted to join the staff team in Spring 2018, but was not entirely new to Embrace, as I had written some of our resources in the past. I come to this new and wider role with a deep commitment to Embrace’s aims and a passion for inspiring and mobilising the church in both prayer and action.

I also bring wide experience of church engagement and faith based resourcing, particularly in exploring justice issues. I worked in this area on staff for Christian Aid; co-founded and still help lead the Sanctuary – a collective dedicated to resourcing outward-focused worship from a daily rhythm of prayer; and have been an external specialist writer for many ministry and charity clients in recent years, including the Methodist Church, Scripture Union and The Children’s Society… and most importantly of course, Embrace!

When I’m not working, or leading worship myself, I’m still usually to be found writing, singing or creating in some other way… or walking in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside with friends.