Obituary: Jamie Stuart, evangelist and The Glasgow Bible author

Jamie Stuart, storyteller, evangelist and one of Scotland's most successful and beloved Christian authors, has died at the age of 95.

Jamie Stuart, storyteller, evangelist and beloved Christian author. Picture: Contributed
Jamie Stuart, storyteller, evangelist and beloved Christian author. Picture: Contributed

A celebration of his life will be held at noon on Thursday 4 August in Carntyne Parish Church, 358 Carntynhall Road, Glasgow.

Professor Donald Smith, director of the Scottish International Storytelling Festival, will lead the appreciation.

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A Church of Scotland elder, Mr Stuart had already led a storied life when, at the age of 71, his translation of the Gospels became a Number 1 bestseller in Scotland.

The Glasgow Bible, which tells the stories of the New Testament using the everyday language of Glaswegians, is now into its 50th reprint.

Born on 10 September, 1920, as a young man Mr Stuart was a successful athlete. He went on to spend time as an actor, airman, salesman and social worker, while becoming one of Scotland’s most famous Christian authors.

Professor Smith, said: “In his later life, Jamie Stuart essentially became a storyteller, evangelist and author, but during his early career he was a professional actor. In fact for many years he was the sole surviving cast member of the 1948 production of A Satire of The Three Estates and a major figure in the development of Scottish Theatre.

“He became best known for his Scots Gospel and then his Glasgow Bible.

“The Scots Gospel was originally a drama, inspired by The Gospel of Mark, a one-man show by Alec McCowen. Jamie decided to do it in Scots and then in Glaswegian. All of that exploded and he was always in demand as a speaker and storyteller.

“He had a remarkable life and a remarkable career well into his 90s. His final project was to translate the psalms into Scots. Eleven of the psalms were published in a free pocket pamphlet called Psalms for the People, and they were very, very popular.”

Robert Fernie, who is also an Elder at Carntyne Parish Church, said: “A true inspiration to us younger elders with his energy and forward thinking, he worked diligently in his community where he was a well kent face. Never short of a word or two he was always the first to welcome strangers in our midst and often made us sit up and think at Session Meetings where he had no fear in challenging the status quo if he felt it appropriate, encouraging us to reflect prayerfully on any decisions we were taking.

“Thankful for what he had, evangelical in wanting to share it, and passionate about the power of prayer, he was not a man to dwell on the past or hanker for ‘the good old days’ – he was always thinking of his next venture and how he could serve his Lord and share the Good News. He lived for the day and it showed in all that he did.

“In his book ‘Still Running ‘published in 2014 the last chapter is entitled ‘A Happy Man’ and in it he says ‘I’ve been blessed and no mistake!’ So were we in having this wee man as part of our lives.”

Mr Stuart told the story of his own astonishing life in his autobiography, Still Running published in 2014. At the time he said: “Life really is what you make it and, for me, the power of prayer and the belief in Jesus Christ has given me so much happiness.

“People ask me everywhere I go ‘what gives you this energy?’ and I always tell them – the power of prayer. It has always helped me, sometimes within minutes.”

His books are available from St Andrew Press.

Mr Stuart survived his beloved wife May by 33 years. He is survived by his two daughters, Elizabeth and Fiona; and by four granddaughters, a great granddaughter and a great grandson.