BBC documentary records historic year for the Moderator

Gaelic conference
Rt Rev Dr Angus Morrison and Gaelic broadcaster Cathy Macdonald hosted a landmark Gaelic conference in March 2015 at St George's Tron.

A new BBC documentary follows a year in the life of the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, Rt Rev Dr Angus Morrison – and catches the moment First Minister Nicola Sturgeon jokingly tells the Moderator that his collection of jewellery is superior to her own.

From Minister to Moderator, an hour-long programme to be broadcast on BBC ALBA on Thursday evening, provides a unique insight into the appointment that sees Rt Rev Dr Morrison move from parish minister into the high-profile role of Moderator of the General Assembly, a position first established 454 years ago. From Minister to Moderator will be on BBC ALBA – Thursday 12 May 9.00 – 10.00pm

The programme follows Angus as he attends a diverse range of appointments across his moderatorial year, from making history as the first Moderator to speak at the Church of England Synod, to visiting local Boys' Brigade companies and opening the Royal National Mòd.

When the Moderator meets Nicola Sturgeon at the Scottish Parliament, as part of a day of meetings with party leaders at Holyrood, Ms Sturgeon quips that his official gold ring and cross pendant outshines the First Minister's personal collection of jewellery.

The ring and pendant – which are passed by the Moderator to his or her successor at the Church of Scotland's General Assembly in May – were made in early 2014 after the original jewels were lost in April 2013. Former Moderator, the Very Rev Dr Lorna Hood, also hit the headlines a short time after the jewellery's disappearance when she was mistaken for the jewel thief as she took a duplicate of the ring for a fitting.

Rt Rev Dr Morrison had the items firmly in his grasp when he met Ms Sturgeon at Holyrood, where he also met Kezia Dugdale, Patrick Harvie, Willie Rennie and Ruth Davidson. The Scottish Conservative leader spoke of the great affection she holds for Angus, having joined him on a trip to Bosnia with the charity Remembering Srebrenica Scotland last year.

Ruth Davidson said: "This particular Moderator is both a joy and a rogue, having spent some time with him abroad.

"Each Moderator makes of the job something of themselves, they bring themselves to the table, so it is a different relationship with each one but it is no less special for that."

Rt Rev Dr Morrison is the first Gaelic-speaking Moderator in almost 50 years. Born in Glencoe, he was raised in Oban to parents from the Isle of Harris in the Western Isles.

The documentary illustrates the significance of his Gaelic roots to Rt Rev Dr Morrison throughout his busy year, and profiles his support for advancing the language within the church, as well as giving the opening address at the Royal National Mòd.

Yet, his desire to positively advance the church's message does not stop with Gaelic. From providing regular updates on social media platforms such as Twitter to making history as the first representative of the Church of Scotland to address the General Synod of the Church of England – with his contribution assisting in the passing of the Columba Agreement between the two churches – we see Rt Rev Dr Morrison keen to make his mark in a year that will be like no other in his ministerial career.

From Minister to Moderator, produced by Caledonia TV for BBC ALBA, will be broadcast on the channel on Thursday 12 May at 9.00pm until 10.00pm. It will be repeated on Wednesday 18 May at 11.00pm and will also be available to view on BBC iPlayer.