Douglas Stevenson grew up in the seaside town of Ayr, famous for Robert Burns, Sydney Devine and Ayr United football team. It didn’t take him long before he discovered that he would never make any money from composing poetry, singing country ballads or kicking a ball so he followed the family tradition by training as a maintenance electrician at the Scottish Stamping and Engineering Works Ltd - known locally as the Stampworks. He soon realised that whatever talents he might possess they didn’t lie in a pair of pliers and twin and earth cable. This did not bode well so he made an executive decision to escape over the barbed wire in a cherry picker never to return.
In early 1981 having decided that the country was going to the dogs especially when Joe Dolce reached number one in the UK charts in February of that year with ‘Shaddup your face,’ Douglas decided for the sake of his sanity and for the peace of all humankind to leave the mainland and embark on a spiritual journey to the Island of Iona. As a townie he didn’t know where Iona was until he spotted it on an AA map. Nevertheless once he stepped off the CalMac ferry he knew he had found a place of solace and enlightenment. More importantly he learned some of the native skills of making sherry from old potato skins. In 1984 he felt brave enough to negotiate roundabouts and dual carriageways and began his academic training at New College, Edinburgh and after five exciting years, armed with an honours degree and a post-graduate diploma he was let loose on an unsuspecting public. He can only apologise at this juncture.
His probationary period was spent at the Old Kirk in Pilton, Edinburgh, where degrees and diplomas counted for nothing and a person’s work and presence was soon judged by their integrity and common touch. Thankfully Douglas could never afford any airs and graces and he soon found himself at home. During his probationary period he undertook further training in counselling at Simpson House (then part of the Church’s Board of Social Responsibility) and once successfully completed he decided to leave the Church for a short period and try his hand as a full-time counsellor at a Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Clinic where he became a Fifth Step listener for many drug dependent individuals.
In 1991 he thought it would be a good idea to sacrifice his weekends once more and embark on his ministerial journey which took him to such diverse places as Edinburgh, Musselburgh, Newtonmore, Laggan and Dalwhinnie (incidentally it has the most wonderful distillery).
In 2008 he headed further north to Moray and the sunshine and became part of a team ministry serving Elgin, Birnie and Pluscarden before arriving at Cullen and Deskford in August 2010. As he is getting fed up carting boxes up and down attic stairs he is hoping to stay a while.
He is a regular contributor to the theological journal, The Expository Times, and has been an invited preacher to North Carolina, New Jersey and Fort Worth. He can speak American fluently. In the 90’s he worked with Pathway Productions making an educational video for schoolchildren highlighting the many tasks which Church of Scotland ministers undertake. This probably accounts for the lack of younger candidates entering the Ministry. However this is still available in all good video shops or indeed bad ones. He is currently writing a book on the absurdities of the Church - and if ever published may mean he will have to find a job at the Co-op.
His dream day would find him in front of a peat fire, sipping a malt whisky with a broken phone or burning rubber on his Triumph Bonneville (wishing it was a Harley) or watching the Honest Men climb to the top of the second division and reminiscing of the time when he could have played for Scotland – but never all three at the same time.