Dr Alison Elliot OBE honored by Open University

Dr Alison Elliot
Dr Alison Elliot at the Open University awards ceremony.

Dr Alison Elliot OBE, who was the first woman to become Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, was one of several distinguished experts to receive an honorary degree from the Open University.

Dr Elliot, who is associate director at the Centre for Theology and Public Issues at the University of Edinburgh, served as Moderator in 2004. She also sits on the board of the Institute for Advanced Studies in the Humanities at the University of Edinburgh.

"I've been very lucky to have the chance to work with remarkable people right across Scottish society over the years," Dr Elliot said about receiving the award.

"Whether the focus of the work has been ecumenical concerns, the voluntary sector, academic debate or government commissions, I have kept falling back on insights from my Christian faith and the example set by friends in the Church. Through the Church and Nation Committee, I learned about the strong links between Christian Faith and public service and that has grounded all I have done since.

"While thanking the Open University for choosing to honour me with an honorary degree, I also thank all those in my home constituency of the Church of Scotland who have been an inspiration to me."Dr Elliot told The Herald that being selected as Moderator was the culmination of the work of many women in the Church.

"I think it was a time when the Church was ready for a woman Moderator, I happened to have the background that fitted it," the paper quotes her in its story, 'Taking on the guys at their own game: the Kirk moderator, the crime-fighter and TV's Heather the Weather.'

"I wasn't conscious of fighting myself, but I know many people have fought for the cause of women being ordained in the Church and being in this role of Moderator. I was fortunate that the Church was ready for that move when I became Moderator and I was welcomed all over the place."

The other honorees included the actor Alan Cumming, Karyn McCluskey, director of the world-renowned Scottish Violence Reduction Unit and meteorologist Dr Heather Reid.