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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 May, 2005, 12:16 GMT 13:16 UK
New moderator takes up his post
The 2005 General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in Edinburgh
Mr Lacy was appointed moderator at a ceremony in Edinburgh
The new moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has formally taken up the role.

The Reverend David Lacy succeeded the first female moderator, Dr Alison Elliot, who was also the first elder in modern times to hold the title.

His appointment heralds the start of the week-long General Assembly, where the Kirk debates aspects of church life and social policy.

The ceremony was held at the Assembly Building on The Mound in Edinburgh.

It took place in the presence of the Queen's representative, the Lord High Commissioner, Lord Mackay of Clashfern.

The Assembly then heard the traditional reading of a letter from the Queen herself.

First Minister Jack McConnell was also attending the day's events.

Spirit theme

Earlier this week, Mr Lacy hailed church attendance on a Sunday as a "wonderful miracle" in this day and age.

He admitted the church was struggling compared with the ways of the past, but said church attendance far outweighed the numbers who went to weekend football matches.

The Kilmarnock Henderson Parish Church minister, 53, said the church's successes needed to be celebrated and pledged to make "the harvest of the spirit" his theme for the Assembly.

Alison Elliot and David Lacy
Dr Alison Elliot congratulated her successor

He is to make several trips abroad during his 12-month tenure of the post, including visits to the Middle East and Aids projects in Africa.

Mr Lacy was born in Inverness and educated at Aberdeen Grammar School and The High School of Glasgow.

After graduating in practical theology, he went on to become a probationer at St George's West Church in Edinburgh in 1975, remaining there after his ordination until 1977.

The minister went on to serve in Glasgow before taking up his present role in Kilmarnock in 1989.

From 1992 to this year, the married father-of-two served as a member and then convenor of the General Assembly board of practice and procedure.

He was the Assembly's business convenor from 2001 to 2004.

The Assembly runs until Friday 27 May.

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