Derek Browning

Derek Browning (born 24 May 1962) is a minister of the Church of Scotland, who was the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland from May 2017 to May 2018

Derek Browning
Moderator of the General Assembly
ChurchChurch of Scotland
In officeMay 2017 – May 2018
PredecessorRussell Barr
SuccessorSusan Brown
Personal details
Born (1962-05-24) 24 May 1962
OccupationChurch of Scotland Minister

Early life and education

Derek Browning was born on 24 May 1962 in Edinburgh, Scotland.[1] He was educated at North Berwick High School, a state secondary school in North Berwick, East Lothian.[1] He read history at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree; as per tradition, his BA was promoted to a Master of Arts (MA Oxon) degree.[1][2] He trained for ordained ministry at St Mary's College, St Andrews, and graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity (BD) degree from the University of St Andrews specialising in ecclesiastical history.[3] He later studied at Princeton Theological Seminary, graduating with a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) degree in 1997: he was the first Church of Scotland minister to graduate from Princeton Theological Seminary[1][2] with a Doctor of Ministry degree. His thesis was on the roles of leadership and the management of change within the Church.

Ordained ministry

Derek Browning was minister at Cupar Old Parish Church, in Cupar, Fife (1987 to 2001) and thereafter minister at Morningside Parish Church in Edinburgh.[4] He was Moderator of the Church of Scotland's Presbytery of St Andrews for 1996/1997, Convener of the Prayer and Devotion Committee of the Church of Scotland's Panel on Worship from 2000 to 2004, and Convener of the Church of Scotland's Assembly Arrangements Committee and General Assembly Business Committee.


In October 2016, Browning was nominated to succeed Russell Barr as Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland.[3] He took office in May 2017.[5] On 4 September 2017, Browning blessed the new Queensferry Crossing on the River Forth before the Bridge was formally opened by Queen Elizabeth II.

In October 2017, Browning visited Rome where he had a private audience with Pope Francis.[6] Later in October he represented the Church of Scotland at the 500th Anniversary of the German Reformation held in Wittenberg.

In January 2018 he visited Israel, Palestine and Jordan, spending time in Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Gaza and Galilee. He rededicated the refurbished St Andrew's Church in Tiberias. In Jordan, he visited the Baptismal Site of Jesus, invited by Prince Ghazi bin Muhammad. Browning also had an audience with King Abdullah II in Amman.

In February 2018 Browning preached in Dunfermline Abbey at the 200th anniversary of the finding of the bones of King Robert the Bruce.

In May 2018 Browning preached at the Liberation Day service on Guernsey.

Personal life

Derek Browning enjoys reading, cooking and playing croquet.


  1. "Browning, Rt Rev. Dr Derek". Who's Who 2018. Oxford University Press. 1 December 2017. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.289579. Missing or empty |url= (help)
  2. "The Moderator". The Church of Scotland. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  3. "Church of Scotland Moderator announced". BBC News. 12 October 2016. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  4. "Welcome". Morningside Parish Church. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  5. Stephen, Phyllis (20 May 2017). "The Princess Royal opens the General Assembly". The Edinburgh Reporter. Retrieved 20 May 2017.
  6. "Moderator meets Pope Francis in spirit of 'true fraternity'". The Church of Scotland. 27 October 2017. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  • Who's Who in Scotland 2015, published by Carrick Media, ISBN 978-0-9933162-0-3

See also

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