Christianity in Scotland ­  More than just a lifestyle choice? What role now for the Churches in contemporary Scotland?

Venue: Glasgow Royal Concert Hall
Date: Tuesday 27 May
Time 7.00 pm
Ticket price £5 (concessions £3.50)
Box office: Tel 0141 353 8000

Christianity in Scotland ­  More than just a lifestyle choice? What role now for the Churches in contemporary Scotland?

As church attendance figures continue to fall The Saltire Society investigates the role of the Christian Churches in today's society. Does the Church still have a central role in the life of the population of Scotland or is it at worst an irrelevance, at best just another lifestyle choice? Is Scotland slipping down the route to Pagan society or do we still enjoy an active religious community? And for those in our country who do still hold on to 'Church' values how do they weigh up modern living with Christian responsibility? Could they find spiritual awareness outwith organised religion? Does the voice of the various Church establishments reflect the voice of the people and should that voice still have a place in public and political life?

On 27th May at 7.00 pm Harry Reid, former editor of The Herald newspaper and Life and Work and author of 'Outside Verdict: an old kirk in a new Scotland' will chair a far-reaching Saltire Society/Herald public debate on these issues in Glasgow's Royal Concert Hall. The speakers selected for the panel offer feisty fare. Names to juggle the continuing arguments on the future of the Church include: Calum Brown, Professor of Religious and Cultural history at the University of Strathclyde; Peter Kearney, Director of the Catholic Media Office and Vice President of the Catholic Communications Commission; Alastair McIntosh, Scottish writer, social activist, broadcaster and campaigning academic from the Isle of Lewis and Fellow of the Edinburgh-based Centre for Human Ecology; and George Rosie, journalist, writer and broadcaster. The debate is an opportunity to test the ecclesiastical pulse rate and hear some of the finest minds discuss the society we find ourselves in today.

'During the time of Kirk you scarcely see any body in the streets, or loitering away the time of prayer in wantonness and excess; though, at other times . . . there is no crime they would scruple to commit. To be seen in the street after the summons of the bell, or to read any book which has no relation to religion, seems wicked and abominable to the most abandoned.' Letters from Edinburgh, (Published London 1776)

The Saltire Society is a campaigning organisation working to promote the very best in Scottish cultural life. The public face of this work is the body of Awards presented by the Society every year including awards for art and architecture, literature, civil engineering, housing design, science, film and overall contribution to Scottish life.



Prepared for The Saltire Society by Jan Rutherford Publicity & The Printed Word

Tel: 0131 337 9724
Fax: 0131 623 1244

Who are the speakers?

Harry Reid ­ Chairing the panel

Journalist and writer Born in Glasgow, brought up in Aberdeen, graduated from Oxford University (BA Hons). One of the UK's finest journalists.


  • The Scotsman 1969-1981 (Features Editor, 1977-1981)
  • Sunday Standard (Sports Editor, 1981-1982)
  • The Herald (Executive Editor, 1982-1984) (Deputy Editor, 1984-1997) (Editor, 1997 -2000)

Current Chairman, Scottish Editors' Committee of the SDNS.

Outside Verdict: an old kirk in a new Scotland (2002); "The Glasgow Herald" Book of Scotland   (1990); Dear Country: a Quest for England (1992)


George Rosie:
Journalist, writer and broadcaster. Born, raised educated and based in Edinbugh.

Television. Reporter Channel Four series Down the Line, 1986-87, Scottish Eye, 1988. Reporter/writer Scottish Television series: The Englishing of Scotland, 1988; Selling Scotland, 1989; Scotching the Myth, (winner of best documentary Celtic Television Festival),1990; Losing the Heid, 1991; Independence Day, 1998; Secret Scotland, 1997-98; Our Friends in the South, 1998; Six Moments in History, 2002, Ghosts in Glass, 2002. Associate producer ITV network series Out of the Shadows, Its Our Treasury, 1997. Producer Channel Four Dispatches Something In The Air, 1998. Associate producer/ reporter ITV network programme After Lockerbie, 1998 (winner of best documentary British Academy of Film & Television Arts, 1999; silver medal of New York International Film and Television Festival 1999). Writer STE/C4/RTE co production Celtic America, 2000.

Journalism. Sub-editor D.C. Thomson & Co. Editor, Interior Design magazine, 1966-68. Freelance magazine writer, 1968-76. Scottish Affairs Correspondent, Sunday Times, 1976-86. Founding editor Observer Scotland, 1988-89. Deputy editor Sunday Herald, 1999. As contributor: Nova, The Guardian, New Society, New Statesman, The Scotsman, The Herald, Sunday Herald, Sunday Times, Granta among others. Award winner RSPB birds and countryside award, 1988.

Drama. Stage plays: The Blasphemer, 1990; Carlucco and the Queen of Hearts, 1991 (winner Evening News National Award, Scotsman Fringe First, Independent Theatre Award, Guardian Critics Award); Taking Stock, 1993; It Had To Be You, 1994. Radio plays: The Blasphemer, 1991; The Parsi, 1993; Postcards from Shannon, 2000 (nominated as BBC entry into Prix Italia and Prix Europa for 2000). BBC Radio Scotland documentary series The Witness, 2002.

Books. The British in Vietnam, 1970. Cromarty, 1975. The Ludwig Initiative, 1978. Hugh Miller, 1982. The Directory of International Terrorism, 1986. As
contributor: Headlines, the Media in Scotland, 1978; Scotland, Multinationals and the Third World, 1982; The Scottish Government Year Book, 1982; Sunday Times Insight Book on The Falklands War, 1982. Sunday Times Insight Book Strike!, 1985. World Offshore Oil and Gas Report, 1987. Anatomy of Scotland,1992. Anatomy of the New Scotland, 2002. Secret Times, to be published by Granta Books in 2003. Recipient of Scottish Arts Council writers' bursary for novel Death's Enemy, the Pilgrimage of Victor Frankenstein. Published by William Heinemann in November, 2001, paperback version by Vintage, 2002. Currently working on second novel.



Alastair McIntosh
Background and Education
Born and brought up in a Hebridean crofting community on the Isle of Lewis, attending Leurbost School in the village and then the Nicolson Institute in Stornoway. Graduated 1977, University of Aberdeen, with a Degree of Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Geography, submajoring in Psychology and Moral Philosophy. Graduated 1981, University of Edinburgh, Degree of Master of Business Administration (MBA), specialising in Accountancy, Finance & Investment and Management Science.
Principal Posts
1977-1980 ­Deputy-Head, St Peter's Extension School, VSO, Gulf Province, Papua New Guinea 1981-1984 - Scottish Organiser, Lepra: British Leprosy Relief Association, Edinburgh 1984-1986 - Financial Advisor, South Pacific Appropriate Technology Foundation, P. Moresby, PNG 1986-1990 - Business Advisor to the Iona Community; and, simultaneously, Co-Director, Foundation for the Peoples of the South Pacific 1990-1996 - Teaching Director (initiating and running the MSc degree and PhD
supervision) Centre for Human Ecology, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Edinburgh 1996-2001 - Joseph Rowntree funded Fellow of the Centre for Human Ecology (Open University) 2001                  - Executive Director, Centre for Human Ecology (an interim troubleshooting post) 2002-now  - Freelance Fellow of the Centre for Human Ecology (now an independent, Open University-accredited institute) including student thesis supervision, course teaching and developing a new MSc-level module on Spiritual Activism: Leadership as Service; more generally, a campaigning academic, lecturer, speaker, writer and broadcaster.  

Books, Papers and Articles
Some 150 articles in journals including The Ecologist, Resurgence, Interculture (French/English), Accounting, Business & Financial History, Environmental Values, Edinburgh Review, Scottish Affairs, Cencrastus, Oceania (Sydney Uni. Dept. of Anthropology), Ecos: Brit. Assoc. Nature Conservationists, Psychoenergetic Systems, Fishing News, Fishing Monthly, Journal of Law & Religion, Ecotheology, Theology in Scotland, Bres (Holland), Encyclopaedia of Nature and Religion, Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, United Nations Proceedings, The Herald, Scotsman, Guardian, Le Monde Diplomatique ­ see . Books are:
Marketing: A Handbook for Charities, Directory of Social Change, London, 1984 A Basic PR Guide for Charities, Directory of Social Change, London, 1986 Healing Nationhood: Essays on Spirituality, Place and Community, Curlew, Kelso, 2000 Soil and Soul: People versus Corporate Power, Aurum Press, London, 2001
"This is a world-changing book, one of the most important I have ever read, which will transform our perception of ourselves, our history and our surroundings Ã…   the work of a great thinker and a great poet" - George Monbiot, author of Captive State in his Foreword to Soil and Soul
"This has to be the book of the decade. Lyrical, passionate and poetic. McIntosh's writing is truly compelling" ­ Sunday Herald; "Terrific book" ­ The Guardian; "Gripping" ­ The Observer
Major Broadcasts  
Fifth Estate CBC Canadian TV documentary on American-Scottish native land rights, 1994 To the Best of our Knowledge 30 minute Ian Flemming interview about cultural healing on US public radio, networked to some 140 stations, 1996 Filthy Rich, Channel 4 TV documentary about Eigg land reform, 1996 The Whole Shebang (3), BBC 2 TV documentary on my work with cultural healing, 2002 Changing Places: Boats of Hope, BBC Radio 4 documentary on the GalGael Trust, 2003 Voices for Peace (presenting), 4-part BBC Radio Scotland series on Sri Lanka, Northern Ireland, Israel/Palestine and South Africa (with Archbishop Desmond Tutu), 2003
Other Recent Achievements and Activities
I was a founding and community-elected trustee of the Isle of Eigg Trust (for land reform), a founding trustee of the GalGael Trust (for cultural
regeneration) in Glasgow, and a founding Fellow of the Open-University accredited Centre for Human Ecology. I played a leading role in the campaign that stopped the proposed Lafarge-Redland Isle of Harris superquarry. I speak/run workshops around the world on spirituality, ecology, community and management For 5 years commencing 1998 I have been invited to address 400 senior officers from 60 countries at the Joint Services Command and Staff College, Britain's military staff college. I am an advisor to Dmitry Lvov, head of the Department of Economics, Russian Academy of Sciences, on land reform, and in February 2000 gave seminars at the Academy, in the Duma, and for leading Orthodox theologians at the Holy Trinity Sergyev Monastery near Moscow. I am a special advisor on "Combating Islamophobia" with Glasgow Central Mosque. I have initiated and researched for Scotland's 1999 national values discernment project, People and Parliament, in association with the new Scottish Parliament, and follow-up studies on ethnicity and belonging through the Centre for Human Ecology. I am a contributor to the World Council of Churches' Decade for Overcoming Violence, a Quaker, and an Honorary Fellow of the Schumacher Society.


Peter Kearney
Brought up in Stirling and educated at St Modan's High School. Graduated from the University of Glasgow (MA Hons ­ Politics).

Now: Director of the Catholic Media Office in Glasgow and Vice President of the Catholic Communications Commission.

Formerly: Convener, Archdiocese of Glasgow's Social Communications Commission.

Peter is married with three children.


Calum Brown
Professor of Religious and Cultural history at the University of Strathclyde


Catholic Media Office
0141 221 1168

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