Born: 24 May 1928;

Died: January 7, 2016

ANDREW Morton, who has died aged 87, was a former chaplain to the University of Edinburgh and an enthusiastic participant in discussions about and proposals for unity in the Church of Scotland.

Born in Kilmarnock, he took an honours degree at Glasgow University, a Bachelor of Divinity degree from Edinburgh University and undertook postgraduate study at the University of Bonn before becoming Scottish Secretary of the Student Christian movement in 1953. The importance of the Student Christian movement in the 1950s and 60s was considerable.

Three years later he was ordained to the then recently created congregation and parish of East Kilbride Moncrieff, at the time without a settled building, but a hall church and church hall were built in the Calderwood area during Dr Morton’s ministry.

After just over eight years in East Kilbride, he was appointed chaplain to the University of Edinburgh autumn of 1964. Then (and now) Edinburgh University has no chapel of its own, but in those days three or four university services were held in St Giles’ Cathedral, and it was at one of those, in the late 1960s that the university’s then rector, Malcolm Muggeridge preached a startling sermon. In the course of it he referrred to his criticism of an attempt by students to have contraceptives freely available on campus, and announced that because of the students’ attitude to the issue, and to him, he was resigning.

The subsequent furore took its toll on Andrew Morton. Not long afterwards he left to become warden of Glasgow University’s Wolfson Hall in Maryhill, with the additional responsibility of co-ordinating all the university’s halls of residence.

In 1974 he was appointed social responsibility secretary of the British Council of Churches, and then returned to Scotland to be became secretary for ecumenical and European relations for the Church of Scotland in 1982, a post he held for more than 10 years, during which time the European churches had to find expression of their commitment not only to Christian faith but to the European ideal after the opening up of barriers in 1989. This was an area which not only commanded Dr Morton’s passionate interest but required his delicate but persistent diplomatic skills.

When he retired in 1993, he was appointed associate director of the Centre for Theology and Public Issues (CTPI). In 1998 he edited a volume reflecting its work, Beyond Fear: Vision, Hope and Generosity.

He was always thinking, reading and writing, and was regularly to be found in the library of New College in Edinburgh, especially after the death of his wife Marion, who became a member of Lothian Council and then Edinburgh City Council and Deputy Lord Provost of the City. Dr Morton's pride in her accomplishments was palpable.

He became a member of the General Assembly’s Church and Nation Committee, serving alongside Dr Alison Elliot before and after she became convener. Dr Elliot said Andrew Morton was a model of gracious compassion and generosity. "He had a restless intellectual curiosity and the honesty not to settle for easy answers," she said. "He was drawn to people and movements which probed new ideas in the search for peace and justice”.

He is survived by two sons, two daughters and seven grandchildren.