University principal appointed chaplain to the Queen
Published on 5 November, 2015
A distinguished Church of Scotland minister has been appointed one of the Queen's personal chaplains.
Professor David Fergusson, the principal of New College at Edinburgh University, was installed as a Chaplain-in-Ordinary at a ceremony at Greenbank Parish Church in the capital on Wednesday night.
The prestigious role dates back to the 15th century and is today largely a ceremonial honour with chaplains taking part in formal state occasions and conducting services at significant national events.
Mr Fergusson, 59, who was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Aberdeen last year and worked there for 10 years, said: "It is an honour for me to be ;appointed to this position by the Queen, and I look forward to serving her in this capacity.
"After three years in parish ministry, my career since 1986 has been spent in the universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh.
"I have taught theology to students from across the world as well as those who are intending to serve as ministers here in Scotland - this has been a great privilege.
"I hope that my honorary appointment as a chaplain to the Queen ;may enable me to contribute further to the historic ties between the churches and universities of Scotland in rapidly changing circumstances."
Professor Fergusson, a renowned theologian and expert on religious history, is married to Margot and they have two sons, Mark, 26, and Calum, 22.
The Very Rev Professor Iain Torrance, Dean of the Chapel Royal in Scotland, said: "This is a wonderful recognition of David's many outstanding contributions to the Church and to Christian scholarship.
"David is a person who writes much admired theology for his professional colleagues but is also able to write with warmth and great lucidity for the person in the pew.
"If becoming Moderator is the most important institutional role to which a minister may be called, appointment as a Chaplain to The Queen is the greatest personal honour.
"In each case in which The Queen makes such an appointment it is an indication of her trust in the person she is honouring".
The ceremony was attended by Moderator of the General Assembly the Right Rev Dr Angus Morrison and Church of Scotland principal clerk, the Very Rev John Chalmers.
"It was a wonderful service," said Dr Morrison.
"David Fergusson's career in church and academy exemplifies the integrity of leadership which acts in the interests of others.
"I am delighted that the Queen has honoured him by admitting him to the Chapel Royal in Scotland.'
"David has distinguished himself as a Scottish churchman and theologian and he will be a major asset to the work and witness of the Chapel Royal in Scotland."
Mr Chalmers, who is also one of the Queen's Chaplains, preached a sermon on the qualities of leadership.
He said, "We need the leadership of women and men who are recognised for their devotion to duty, who have earned the respect of their peers, who have demonstrated excellence in their field, but who, all the while, remain humble and who exercise their leadership in the interest of others.
"Most particularly in the interest of those who have no voice, who have no status and who have no advocate."
Professor Fergusson, has written and edited numerous journal articles and books, including: 'Creation' in 2014 and 'Faith and Its Critics: A Conversation' in 2009.
His lecture tours have taken him to Oxford and Princeton, Montreal and Hong Kong, to name just a few.
Professor Fergusson's ministry began more than 30 years ago. He was ordained at St Mungo's in Cumbernauld where he served as associate minister while working as a part-time lecturer at Glasgow University.
Having held the chair of Systematic Theology in the University of Aberdeen from 1990, he returned to Edinburgh as Professor of Divinity in 2000.
Professor Fergusson, who was appointed principal of New College in 2008, is a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and the British Academy.