Second chance for new Church of Scotland moderator

Rev Dr Angus Morrison: 'Honoured by nomination'. Picture: PA
Rev Dr Angus Morrison: 'Honoured by nomination'. Picture: PA
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A MINISTER whose ill-health forced him to stand down just two months before taking up the post of Moderator of the Church of Scotland has been given a second chance at the job.

Last night, the Kirk announced the Rev Dr Angus Morrison as Moderator Designate of the General Assembly. He will take up the position in May next year.

Exactly a year ago, Dr Morrison, minister of Orwell and Portmoak Church in Perth, was chosen as Moderator Designate but was unable to take on the role and was replaced by the Rt Rev John Chalmers.

Dr Morrison, 61, said: “It is a great honour to have been nominated as Moderator Designate for 2015. I am thankful that a very good recovery, following surgery, has made it possible for me to accept the nomination. I am truly humbled by the trust that has been placed in me.

“It is my great desire to encourage the Church in its vital God-given mission to the people of Scotland and beyond. In these troubled times, the peace and unity of the church are dear to me and I shall endeavour to promote them in every way I can.”

Ordained into the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, rather than the Kirk, Dr Morrison resigned from the Church in May 1989 after it rejected a suspension appeal from fellow member Lord Mackay of Clashfern, then Britain’s chief legal officer, after he attended the Roman Catholic requiem mass of two colleagues.

Following the row, Dr Morrison formed a new denomination, the Associated Presbyterian Churches, and served as the Moderator of their General Assembly before joining the Church of Scotland in 2000.

Lord Mackay repaid the stance taken by Dr Morrison and had him serve as his chaplain during his own time as Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly in 2005 and 2006.

Referring to his plans for the future direction of the Kirk, the Dr Morrison said: “On various fronts, these are difficult days for the Church, as they are for many other denominations. The challenge is to resist distraction, allowing the commission given to us by Jesus himself, to ‘go and make disciples’, to remain firmly top of our agenda.” .

During his time at the Church of Scotland, Dr Morrison has also served as a member of the Church and Nation Committee, Chaplain to the Queen, Convener of the Mission and Discipleship Council and Moderator of the Presbytery of Lewis.

He is married to Marion, a primary teacher in Fife. The couple have four children aged between 16 and 27.

Last night, the Rev Bill Armitage, one of the canons at St Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh said : “He has a brilliant background which includes experience of controversy and antagonism which can only be helpful in dealing with the problems such as falling congregations and the attitude towards gay people in the Church. He has the strength to be a good unifying force.

Born in Glencoe, Dr Morrison attended school in Oban and Stromness and completed his PhD at Old College at the University of Edinburgh.