Church minister and broadcaster;

Born: September 9, 1931; Died: September 28, 2011.

The Reverend T Kerr Spiers, who has died at the age of 80, was a well-known Scottish churchman whose preaching and broadcasting gave him a voice reaching out to many on both sides of the Atlantic. A Baptist minister by ordination, Mr Spiers’s ministry took him from Edinburgh to Anstruther, then to Glasgow, Paisley and finally to Canada for nine years, where he arguably enjoyed his finest moments in a pulpit at the great Yorkminster Park Baptist Church in Toronto.

He also become known to a wider audience through his Late Call broadcasts on STV, which ran throughout the 1970s and 1980s, on which he was a regular contributor five nights a week. Nelson Gray, the producer of the programme for many years, described him as “one of our most effective voices conveying the Christian message in front of a camera”. He also did “prayer spots” on BBC Radio Scotland and Radio Clyde.

He was born in Hamilton in 1931 into a manse, his father having been a self-taught Lanarkshire miner, who himself left the pit to go to the pulpit as a full-time minister. By the age of 18 Kerr had decided he wanted to be a minister himself, and went off to Rawdon College in Yorkshire, where he graduated in Divinity.

His first church was ominous for a 26-year-old aspiring minister: Morningside Baptist in Edinburgh, where a big congregation filled with the once-termed “professional classes” of doctors, lawyers and accountants was suddenly confronted by this upstart young preacher, whose tone proved to be liberal, radical and decidedly non-conformist.

After nine years in Morningside he surprised many by moving to a far smaller church in Anstruther, Fife, due to his desire to do more theological study at the University of St Andrews. He combined his church duties in the Fife fishing village with completing a B.Phil degree before accepting a call to become minister of Hillhead Baptist Church in the heart of Glasgow’s west end in 1970.

By this point he was doing more TV and radio broadcasting, and his theology remained decidedly liberal and provocative. The 1970s saw the publication of such books as The Myth of God Incarnate and, along with many others, he found his thinking constantly wrestling with the theological questions of the day. But his ministry in Glasgow was shaped by the “social gospel” movement, and his Hillhead days were characterised by a reaching out to the poor, the dispossessed and, more often than not, homeless alcoholics, whom he encouraged to come to church and find friendship and help.

After serving as minister of Coats Memorial church in Paisley, he said he was openly taken aback to be invited to become the minister of Yorkminster Park in Toronto, a large church with a theologically enquiring congregation, where he suddenly found himself preaching to 1000 people on a Sunday morning. With his wife, Betty, they spent nine happy years in Canada before retiring to Glasgow in 2000, where he continued to preach in, among other places, Glasgow Cathedral.

Preaching was his great gift within the church. He had a strong oratorical style which brought colour and energy to the pulpit, and was a throwback to the fine Scottish preaching voices of decades earlier. He also threw himself into social outreach ventures in Glasgow’s east end, such as children’s holiday schemes. He also worked for the Aberlour Trust, and was active for many years on behalf of Amnesty.

But his ministry was by no means the sum of his life. He loved football, was once an amateur player with Hawick Royal Albert, and every Saturday would take in a Scottish League game, either at Ibrox or Firhill, occasionally at Parkhead, and always at Hampden Park for cup finals or the big internationals.

His son, Graham Spiers, a Scottish sportswriter, once said of his father: “I don’t remember my dad ever being a supporter of any specific team ... I just remember his insatiable appetite to be at a game with me on a Saturday. As a kid in our kickabouts I also remember thinking, ‘He’s not a bad player’.”

Holidays spent in the Jura region of France, with its rural village ambience, or walking in the Scottish western Highlands, such as Ardnamurchan, a favourite spot, were his other great pastimes.

He began to suffer ill-health, principally from Parkinson’s, from around 2006. On Maundy Thursday of this year, in the middle of Holy Week, he suffered a severe stroke, which largely left him incapacitated.

He spent the last four weeks of his life in St Margaret Hospice in Glasgow, where he died on September 28, three weeks after his 80th birthday.

Kerr Spiers is survived by his wife, Betty, two children, Fiona and Graham, and six grandchildren.