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EDITIONS
Donald Dewar Tuesday, 17 October, 2000, 19:30 GMT 20:30 UK
Rev Douglas Alexander's introduction
Dewar remembrance book
Introduction by Rev Douglas Alexander, who conducted the service.

"The Grace of God be around us all at this time.

"For, in the intention of this service, the church in Scotland plays host to all those here - and all across our country - those who today would want to express thanksgiving for the life of Donald Dewar, and to celebrate his rich humanity and public service.

"And the thanksgiving offered up here - is in this ancient place of prayer and of faithfulness down the centuries - whose very stones bring to us echoes of eternal things.

"Yet a little word of preface needs to be said - to keep faith with the integrity of Donald himself.

"For almost 50 years, Donald and I were friends. We were together in the Labour Club of the University of Glasgow - all those years ago.

"I was then a young student of divinity and Donald regarded my Christian faith with a certain bemused tolerance! He never changed that attitude. Bemused tolerance - but always respect. Gracious respect!

"Respect for the church and for so much of its work and real respect for other faith communities, in Glasgow's and in Scotland's life.

"That was Donald, always reserving his own right to be, in his own words, 'a conspicuously cultural Presbyterian'. But, note the twinkle in his eye as he expressed it so.

"Some years back I visited him in hospital - he was in the southern with his back problem - and when I entered his room he warmly welcomed me, invited me to sit on his bed, but remarked 'don't take that as a licence to pray over me'.

"Well, of course I did, but only when I had safely left the room.

"And he would know - and there would be a twinkle in his eye.

"So now, the church in Scotland serves as host to all those of every faith and of none, who are today part of this celebration of a life.

"The powerful politician and the loveable man, who could also be irascible on a bad day, or any day.

"As for the church it is our conviction that:

Where Truth is God is
Where Decency is God is
Where Compassion is God is

"To his immediate family and to his very, very real extended family, the Labour Party itself, I say this word, a word you all know to be true in your own experience:

In Donald there was honesty
In Donald there was decency
In Donald there was compassion

Thanks be to God. The very stones whisper it with us.

"On behalf of Marion and Ian, and myself, let me thank all those who have been or will be involved in giving fitting shape to this service.

"To the cathedral and its minister. To people representative of church and state, at the highest and busiest levels.

"And particularly, to the personal and office staff of the first minister.

"They have worked selflessly and we are all in their debt.

"So, now, if you share the Christian faith, hold to it now, and be held by it. Hold now to your own faith. And if you do not share faith you are invited to share in this act of reverence and affection and solidarity.

"Worshipping God, we sing the Hymn All People That On Earth Do Dwell."

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