New Moderator's robe had Borders links

Former deputy first minister, Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC, was proudly wearing a link to the Borders as he was sworn in as the new Moderator of the Church of Scotland on Saturday, May 22.

By Kevin Janiak
Tuesday, 25th May 2021, 12:28 pm
The new Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Lord Wallace, is presented a robe for the ceremony by Lord Steel of Aikwood.
The new Moderator of the Church of Scotland, Lord Wallace, is presented a robe for the ceremony by Lord Steel of Aikwood.

Only the second elder to hold the office, Lord Wallace took a trip to Selkirk last Thursday to accept the gift of a clerical gown, which had belonged to a previous moderator in 1974 – the Rev David Steel, the father of former Borders MP and ex-presiding officer of the Scottish Parliament, Lord Steel of Aikwood.

Lord Steel said: “I was delighted to give my father’s gown to an old friend and colleague.”

Lord Wallace said he was “humbled and honoured” to have become the Kirk’s ambassador at home and abroad.

The 66-year-old life peer from Orkney is the second elder in modern times to take up the 12-month role and will speak out on issues important to the church and its mission to follow.

He was inducted into the role at the Assembly Hall in Edinburgh in front of his wife of 38 years, Rosie, their daughter Helen and his brother Neil, who were accompanied by their spouses.

Prince William, representing his grandmother, Her Majesty the Queen, as Lord High Commissioner, and First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon MSP were also present.

Outgoing moderator, Very Rev Dr Martin Fair, supervised the passing of the cross and chain and ring of office to his successor, whose other daughter, Clare, watched online along with hundreds of other people.

Lord Wallace, a member of St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, said: “I thank you most warmly and sincerely for the honour of electing me as Moderator of this General Assembly.

“I stand before you, today, feeling both humbled and honoured and, I should add, with feelings of excitement and trepidation.

“Upon my nomination as Moderator-designate, I received many messages of goodwill and many assurances of prayerful support.

“One of my predecessors described her experience as Moderator like ‘being carried along on a carpet of prayer’.

“Today, I ask for your prayers that during this assembly and in the coming year, I may fulfil these responsibilities with love, grace and wisdom.”