Life and Work history

Life and Work was established in 1879 by Archibald Hamilton Charteris (1835 to 1908), who was professor of biblical criticism at Edinburgh University. The magazine was inspired by his work on the Church of Scotland's Committee of Christian Life & Work, which he initiated and led.

Hugely committed to Church causes, he later founded the Woman's Guild and the diaconate in order to harness the energies of women in the Church. He formed the diaconate from his experience of similar orders in protestant churches in Europe, where he travelled widely.

In its early years, Life and Work ran various supplements, including the Guild supplement and the Young Men's Supplement. The only one still running is the Gaelic Supplement, which was begun in 1880 and is read by Gaels all over the world. In its history, the Gaelic supplement has had only six editors, and is currently edited by a team on an interim basis with the work co-ordinated by the Rev Rory MacLeod, minister at Strath and Sleat, Isle of Skye.

In 1929 when the United Free Church of Scotland reunited with the Church of Scotland Life and Work was subtitled The Record of the Church of Scotland in recognition of the United Free Church publication, The Record, but this reference was dropped in 1996 when the magazine was relaunched in full colour.


Life and Work has had 14 editors in its history:

  • 1887: Archibald Hamilton Charteris
  • 1880 to 1898: Rev John McMurtrie
  • 1898 to 1902: Rev Archibald Fleming
  • 1902 to 1925: Rev Robert Howie Fisher
  • 1925 to 1930: Rev Harry Smith
  • 1929 to 1934: William Pringle Livingstone
  • 1935 to 1945: Rev George Carstairs
  • 1945 to 1965: Rev John Wright Stevenson
  • 1965 to 1972: Rev Leonard John Armstrong Bell
  • 1972 to 1991: Robert Deans Kernohan
  • 1991 to 1994: Peter B. Macdonald
  • 1994 to 1999: Rev Dr Robin Hill
  • 2000 to 2002: Rosemary Goring
  • 2002 to current: Lynne McNeil