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Community / Former isles MP Jim Wallace appointed as new Kirk moderator

Lord Wallace of Tankerness said he felt 'honoured and humbled'. Photo: Church of Scotland

FORMER Northern Isles MP Jim Wallace has officially taken up the role as moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.

Lord Wallace of Tankerness, who also served as Scotland’s deputy first minister from 1999 to 2005, said he is “humbled and honoured” to have become the Kirk’s ambassador at home and abroad.

The 66-year old lifelong peer was inducted into the role at the Assembly Hall in Edinburgh in front of his wife of 38 years, Rosie, their daughter Helen and his brother Neil who were accompanied by their spouses.

Prince William, representing his grandmother Her Majesty the Queen, as Lord High Commissioner, and first minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon were also present.

Outgoing moderator, Very Rev Dr Martin Fair, supervised the passing of the cross and chain and ring of office to his successor whose other daughter, Clare, watched online along with hundreds of other people.

Lord Wallace, a member of St Magnus Cathedral in Kirkwall, said: “I stand before you, today, feeling both humbled and honoured and, I should add, with feelings of excitement and trepidation.

“Upon my nomination as moderator-designate, I received many messages of goodwill and many assurances of prayerful support.

“One of my predecessors described her experience as moderator like ‘being carried along on a carpet of prayer’.

“Today [Saturday], I ask for your prayers that during this Assembly and in the coming year, I may fulfil these responsibilities with love, grace and wisdom.

“And that if, or more likely when, I get it wrong, your prayers will be ones of forgiveness.”

The Assembly Hall was the home of Scotland’s devolved legislature for five years after it reconvened in 1999.