John Chalmers (moderator)

John Chalmers, QHC is a minister of the Church of Scotland. From 2010-2017, he served as the Principal Clerk to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. In 2014, following the withdrawal of Angus Morrison on health grounds,[1] he was nominated to be Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland for 2014-15;[2] he was duly formally elected as Moderator on the first day of the General Assembly's week-long annual session. He succeeded Lorna Hood as Moderator. After serving his one-year term, he was succeeded by Angus Morrison. He is a Chaplain in Ordinary to the Queen - a member of the Ecclesiastical Household in Scotland.

John Chalmers

Moderator of the General Assembly
ChurchChurch of Scotland
In officeMay 2014 to May 2015
PredecessorLorna Hood
SuccessorAngus Morrison
Other postsPrincipal Clerk to the General Assembly (2010 to present)
Personal details
BornBothwell, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Alma materUniversity of Strathclyde
University of Glasgow


Born in Bothwell, Lanarkshire, John Chalmers studied chemical engineering at the University of Strathclyde before transferring to the University of Glasgow to study divinity. He is married to Liz; they have three children. In 2011, during the General Assembly, his youngest son John James was severely injured whilst serving with the Royal Marines in Afghanistan. In November 2016 he was awarded an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Divinity by the University of Aberdeen.


His first charge as a parish minister was at Renton Parish Church, Dunbartonshire, followed by Palmerston Place Church in Edinburgh (1986-1995).[3] Since 1995 he has worked full-time in the Church of Scotland Offices, including as Principal Clerk since 2010.

As Moderator, during the Scottish independence referendum campaign, he called for respectful dialogue [4] between the proponents and post-referendum he encouraged the church to be an instrument of healing and reconciliation.[5] In February 2015 he met with Pope Francis in Rome.[6] More recently he has continued his interest in mediation and peacemaking and has worked with the Church leaders of South Sudan helping to equip them to participate in local and community peace building.

See also


Religious titles
Preceded by
Lorna Hood
Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland
Succeeded by
Angus Morrison
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