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  • Dan Rous, Development Manager

Charteris Centre and University of Edinburgh sign momentous agreement

Updated: Jul 12, 2022

Last night at a special gathering, we officially joined forces with the University of Edinburgh to work together for the betterment of local communities. Faculty Heads, Key Stakeholders, Funders, Supporters and Friends came together to learn about the great work the Greyfriars Charteris Centre has been undertaking since 2016 which really continues the work that was going on in our buildings since 1890 by the inspiration for our work, the very Reverend Professor Archibald H Charteris.

A welcome was given by Professor Dorothy Miell, OBE FRSE, Vice Principal and Head of College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences at the University. Professor Miell referenced the long standing links between the University, Greyfriars Kirk, and Charteris. Robert Rollock, a Church of Scotland minister, was the first ‘Regent’ of the University, holding the twin posts of Principal and Professor of Theology until his death in 1599. In the latter years, Rollock was translated to Magdalen Church which later became the precursor to the current Greyfriars Kirk. Following Rollock’s death, he was succeeded at the University by Henry Charteris, of whom our own founder, Rev Archibald Charteris, is a descendant. He was also a graduate of New College and later went on to lecture at the University from 1868 to 1898. It was noted that we were joined for this evening by Lt-Col John A Charteris MBE MC, the great-great nephew of Archibald Charteris, together with his wife Antionette.

With the combined history, the presence of so many students living in the locality, and the need for both organisations to serve the community in a more visible and purposeful way, the collaboration between these two organisations was a simple step to take.

Speaking on behalf of Greyfriars Kirk and the Charteris Centre, Reverend Doctor Richard Frazer highlighted that what was being carried out within the Centre was not new, but was undertaken by Charteris 120 years ago who in turn found the roots of his ministry activity within the Gospels. Rev Frazer also made it clear that this was a Centre for everyone - not just the elite few or those who went to Church at 11am on a Sunday. This is truly a Centre for Community and can provide a place of 'church' for the rest of the week.

Professor Lesley McAra CBE, Chair of Penology in the School of Law and Assistant Principal Community Relations, then spoke on behalf of the University in respect of the Community and Student Entrepreneurship, and how this partnership - that has been a long time in the making - would only serve to bring positive benefits to all people in the local communities. Specifically, Professor McAra spoke from her role as Director of the Edinburgh Future's Institute, a place that will play a huge part in the development of students and their role in the community both now and post graduation.

Summing up, Jo Elliot, Chair of Greyfriars Charteris Centre, thanked all those involved in making this collaboration happen. Thanks were afforded to Chris Cox (Vice Principal, Philanthropy), Chloe Kippen (Director of College Advancement and Health Philanthropy) and Martyn Dempsey-Caddick (Head of Philanthropy, College of Arts, Humanities, & Social Sciences) as well as our own team of Daniel Fisher (Centre Manager) and Dan Rous (Development Manager).

As a final formal act for the evening, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Jo Elliot and Professor Dorothy Miell, witnessed by Reverend Dr Richard Frazer and Chris Cox.

Guests continued to network as well as viewing the displays of how the Charteris Centre will look by the end of 2020, and understanding more of the kind of work that is and will be carried out. Throughout the evening, guests also enjoyed classical guitar music from Finlay Anderson and festive canapes and drinks supplied by the Grassmarket Community Project.

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