Honorary Fellowship Citation

Hon FRCPS (Glas)This afternoon I was admitted as an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow. I found myself in the most extraordinary company and still can’t believe that this happened to me.

Below is the citation which was read as part of the ceremony by the Registrar of the College, Roddy Neilson – also pictured here. It may not be exactly word for word what was said but is certainly the gist of it.

It has been a very moving day.

Madam President, I have the honour to present to you the Very Reverend Kelvin Holdsworth for the award of the Honorary Fellowship of the RCPSG.

Born in Yorkshire but educated mainly in Scotland, Kelvin is a priest in the Scottish Episcopal Church and is currently the Provost and Rector of St Mary’s Episcopal Cathedral in Glasgow, a post he has held since 2006.  In that role he has contributed significantly to the dialogue in Scotland and the UK surrounding the opening of marriage to same-sex couples and for this he is most widely known, campaigning firstly for changes in Scots Law to allow such marriages and then changes to Canon Law to allow them to take place in church. He was the first Anglican priest outside North America to hold a license to marry same-sex couples. Kelvin has used his position to influence public policy on issues affecting LGBT people and is considered one of the most influential LGBT people in the UK.

While Kelvin’s public persona and position is well documented what is less well known is his commitment to excellence in all aspects of Christian worship and his desire to make the Church open, inclusive and welcoming. These are the words used in all St Mary’s literature and the ethos put forward at every opportunity by Kelvin.  Those values were exemplified by an event two years ago in which local Muslims and Christians came together to share their stories about the birth of Christ in St Mary’s Cathedral – an event which garnered worldwide publicity and led to Kelvin receiving death threats.

St Mary’s Cathedral in Glasgow has seen its attendances rise significantly during his tenure indicating his approach clearly works. Under his stewardship St Mary’s has become a centre of excellence in liturgy, music and art as well as providing valuable support to the local community in the West End of Glasgow. Kelvin has said that healthy people require healthy institutions and his own ministry both inside and outside his Church has demonstrated the appropriateness of this comment. As the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow is an institution dedicated to the health and welfare of others both in and outside the city, it is fitting that the College recognises the efforts of other institutions and individuals who contribute to that. As an adopted son of Glasgow, a committed campaigner against discrimination of any sort and an advocate for the disadvantaged and dispossessed he is well worthy of recognition by the College.

Accordingly, Madam President, I invite you to confer the Honorary Fellowship of the RCPSG on the Very Reverend Kelvin Holdsworth.


  1. Aileen Walker says

    Brilliant, so well deserved.

  2. Dear Fr. Kelvin,

    This distinctive honour comes to you with the gratitude and blessing of many people whose lives have been enhanced by the empowerment of your advocacy on behalf of us all in the spiritual and secular world that you inhabit. Blessings from our Church in the South Pacific (ACANZP). Fr. Ron Smith

  3. Well done, Kelvin! And congratulations on this recognition!

  4. Meg Rosenfeld says

    Congratulations! As another reader/fan has already said, well-deserved. I hope you’re very proud!

  5. Andrew Graystone says

    Congratulations. Still not sure you would be my first choice to perform surgery though.

  6. Keith Barber says

    Many congratulations, from the benighted English provinces.

  7. Martha Underwood says

    Congratulations, Kelvin!

  8. Steven McQuitty says

    Well done Kelvin. I have followed your blog over the years and your work – and the work of St Mary’s – has been inspirational to many, across these islands and much further afield.

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