The Reluctant Reformation of Clarence McGonigall

By Ron Ferguson

Illustrator: Bill McArthur

Format: Paperback

A sometimes grumpy minister stands up to changes imposed on him by his church management - the result is often hilarious.

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Steve Savage Publishers

The Steve Savage list includes books on Scottish history, literature, languages and folklore, as well as guidebooks, humorous titles, and new and classic writing from Scotland and elsewhere.

Product Description


The future is arriving, and the Winds of Change are blowing through the Kirk. The new slogan is 'Smile with Jesus!', and presumably some in the church's management were smiling even as they wiped the smile off the face of the Reverend J Clarence McGonigall MA BD with sponsored communion, short-term contracts for ministers, and payment by results. Pestered by computers, mobile phones and bonding sessions, his natural reaction is truculent intransigence ...

Clarence McGonigall first made his appearance in the pages of Life & Work, and quickly became a cult figure in the Kirk.

Additional Information

Additional Information

Format Paperback
Imprint Steve Savage Publishers
Publication Date 6 May 2003
ISBN 9781904246091
Number of Pages 128

Customer Reviews

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Press Reviews

'In Clarence, Ron Ferguson has created a worthy and wily successor to Rikki Fulton's much-loved I.M.Jolly. His Reluctant Reformation is a little treat: easy to read and great fun too.'

- Morag Lindsay, Aberdeen Press and Journal

'Clarence - crabbit, cussed but ultimately compassionate and on the side of the angels ... is a consummate creation.'

- Harry Reid

'Clarence is not always courteous; he is not always sober; he is the damaged angel. But he has a deep humanity and a profound sense of humour. That is why, when he comes to retire, he will be genuinely missed.'

- J. W.M. Cameron, Theology in Scotland

'Readers have reported outbreaks of hilarity among friends and family of all ages ... Life & Work is delighted to have spawned such a runaway success.'

- Lynne Robertson


'Told with a humour which will definitely appeal to those who know the Kirk well ... its gentle humour has a typically Scots feel.'

- Dumfries and Galloway Standard


'Another joyful reminder of his literary talent ... Ron uses satire and larger than life characters to highlight some of the hypocrisies and absurdities of ecclesiastical life ... a welcome change from the many earnest reports and volumes about church reforms which are being regularly produced. It might even have a greater impact. Perhaps through the mirthquake a still small reforming voice will be heard.'

- James A. Simpson, Expository Times

'Writing with liveliness and a lightness of touch, Ron Ferguson places his "hero" in some wonderfully funny situations, but always with insights to ponder, offering amusement and deep meaning in equal measure ... I laughed out loud at parts of this book.'

- Tom Gordon, Coracle

'Quite hilarious ... primarily a very entertaining reductio ad absurdum.'

- Open House

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