Rev Andrew Douglas

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One of the Church of Scotland's most distinguished preachers and scholars has died a month short of his 90th birthday.

Glasgow Herald - 1st September 2001

The Rev Andrew Douglas was minister of Cadzow Parish Church, Hamilton, Lanarkshire, for 26 years until his retiral in 1978. in 1982 he gave the Chalmers lectures to the Scottish universities. He was also a notable Burnsian, as befitted a native of Auchinleck, Ayrshire.

He was educated at Paisley Grammar School and Glasgow University. After graduating in arts and divinity he was ordained in 1937 as an assistant minister in St Michael's, Dumfries. His first charge was St Cuthbert's, Maryhill, Glasgow, before induction to Duns, Berwickshire, in 1941. Wartime service included spells as unofficial chaplain to Maryhill ARP and chaplain to the Church of Scotland Mission at Scapa Flow naval base.

In 1952 he went to Cadzow, where his reputation as a preacher, administrator, writer, and scholar was established. During his 26 years there he combined the duties of a large parish with service on Lanarkshire education committee, having previously served on Berwickshire education committee. He was chair for four years. His close interest in education led to membership of three provincial committees for teacher training, the board of governors of Hamilton College of Education, and finally to a role as convener of the General Assembly Committee on Education. He also served as Moderator of Hamilton Presbytery.


He was asked to give the prestigious Chalmers lectures to the Scottish divinity universities in 1982. These were published as The Church and School in Scotland in 1985.

He was an advocate of integrated schools and a major contributor to ending sectarian strife between Protestants and Roman Catholics in Scotland, but he was against confrontational methods to achieve that objective.

As he noted in his lectures: ''Every attempt by the Kirk to urge the implementation of a policy of integration is unlikely to achieve any good. A non-Catholic might find it wiser to be constantly engaged in the endeavour to learn from those with whom he disagrees. A battle on the education front will not end divisiveness; it will aggravate it.''

Mr Douglas's writing extended to the secular sphere. For some 30 years he was editorial leader writer and columnist (writing under his middle name McNeil) with the Hamilton Advertiser, Lanarkshire's largest weekly newspaper.

His formidable intellect, grounded in Latin and Greek scholarship, combined the Hebrew-Greek virtues of faith and reason so that deep spirituality blended with objectivity. To these qualities was added a dry but engaging humour which made him much in demand as an after-dinner speaker. In later life he acquired a reputation as a Burnsian and proposed the Immortal Memory at Scotland's leading Burns clubs.

While not a ''clubbable'' man, he reluctantly joined Hamilton Rotary Club, where he entertained fellow members with the same wit and wisdom he daily regaled professional cronies at morning coffee in a Hamilton tearoom.

He was also a natural sportsman. He represented Scottish schools at football, and was a keen cricket and rugby enthusiast. He was also a low-handicap golfer, playing off three as a member of Hamilton Golf Club. His car boot always contained his Bible, clerical gown, and a set of golf clubs.

Mr Douglas was twice married and is survived by his son John and three grandchildren.







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