‘I’VE SEEN WORSE’: A BIOGRAPHY OF IAN M. FRASER, as shared with Ian Cranston, 2012

From the Preface, by Ron Ferguson:

Ian Fraser was one of the most significant Scottish churchmen of the 20th century. Yet to describe him as a ‘churchman’ is to put him into a too-narrow category, considering the range of his activity and interests. Not only that, to place him simply in a 20th century frame is also too restrictive, given his influence, through action and writing, in the early part of the 21st century. As I write this preface in June 2011, he is still very much alive and kicking against injustice, at the age of 93.

Ian Fraser is a hero of mine. I first came across him when I was a young journalist in Edinburgh in the early 1960s. I was surprised to receive a letter from him inviting me to take part in a symposium about the ethics of journalism at a place called Scottish Churches House in Dunblane. I remember being impressed by the letter. Here was a minister of the Kirk recognising the dilemmas and possibilities of the world of journalism, and seeking to facilitate a discussion amongst people working at the journalistic ‘coal face’.

Over the years, I got to know Ian much better. He became a good friend and wise counsellor to me when I was a minister in Easterhouse, and later when I became leader of the Iona Community. Right from the early days when he was a kind of worker priest is the Tullis Russell paper mill in Fife, he was a pioneering spirit. In his parish ministry in Rosyth, his ground-breaking wardenship of Scottish Churches House, and his imaginative work with the World Council of Churches and Selly Oak Colleges, Ian’s gritty realism, grounded theology and committed faith made him an inspirational figure. And all, of course, in collaboration with his dear wife Margaret, the love of his life.

I was delighted when I heard that Ian Cranston was going to write a biography of Dr Fraser. It is so good that the life of this pioneer, pastor and poet is now on the record. Ian Cranston’s well-researched book deserves to be read widely.

To order ‘I’ve Seen Worse’:

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