Greenbank  Parish  Church



Faith in Scotland’s Constitutional Future


Launch Conference (7th October 2023): Report by Rachel McWilliam

A rowing boat would have been the most appropriate means of transport to Glasgow last Saturday, but a 40mph ScotRail train did a grand job instead! 

My destination was the launch conference of the above one-year research project at the University of Glasgow, undertaken by the Rev Matthew Ross and supervised by the Rev Dr Doug Gay.

The three speakers gave stimulating, aspirational (and practical) and dignified talks which characterised the mood of the conference and set the tone for the day – and the year ahead. These were:

  • Rev Dr Maggie McTernan, Mission Pioneer leader Church of Scotland: inter-faith experience: priest St Mary’s Cathedral Glasgow: Doctor of Theology: former social worker: former Labour councillor(and born in Greenbank!)
  • Murdo Fraser, C of S Elder: Conservative MSP Mid-Scotland and Fife: former deputy leader Scottish Conservative Party: former Solicitor
  • Stephen Noon, SNP Chief Strategist 2014 campaign: Research Associate/Centre for Public Policy/Glasgow University: former Director of London Jesuit Centre: Masters in EU Law, Master of Divinity: currently PhD research into ‘new politics’, University of Edinburgh.

The diverse, balanced skills and experience of the above give a flavour of the debate.  Perhaps this might be summarised by Stephen Noon:

“Looking at the ways difference can be a source of dynamism rather than division” and the Church’s role in filling the space between polarised views.

The conference was ably chaired by Prof Heather Walton, Professor of Theology and Creative Practice, University of Glasgow.

The next stage of Matthew’s research will comprise 12 regional events.  Look out for one of these taking place in our area!


Participants l to r: Stephen Noon, Prof Heather Walton, Rev Dr Maggie McTernan, Murdo Fraser

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