Scottish Mace provides topics for Lenten talks in Edinburgh

The Lauriston Jesuit Centre’s Lenten season of talks begins in Edinburgh on Wednesday 19 March and is called The Mace Series. Its theme is Beyond the Referendum - Values for the New Scotland and the topics for the four weeks are the four values inscribed on the Mace that is in the Scottish Parliament Debating Chamber.

The Mace is constructed of Scottish silver with an inlaid band of gold panned from Scottish rivers.  The gold band is intended to symbolise the marriage of the Parliament, the land, and the people. The words Wisdom, Justice, Compassion and Integrity are woven into thistles at the head of the Mace to represent the aspirations of the Scottish people for the Members of their Parliament.

Solicitor, broadcaster, journalist and artist, Austin Lafferty, will be the first speaker on Wednesday 19 March. He was President of the Law Society from 2012 to 2013. He has worked in general legal practice since 1981 and will take Justice as his topic. This will be followed on Monday 24 March by Sir Harry Burns addressing the topic of Compassion. Sir Harry is a former surgeon who became chief medical officer of Scotland in 2005. He has played a key role in shaping health in Scotland and has said that health inequality is the biggest issue facing Scotland.  In April he will become professor of global public health at Strathclyde University.

On Wednesday 2 April, the Lauriston Jesuit Centre will welcome Irish poet Anne Connolly as the Lenten talks turn to Wisdom. Recently, Anne has acted as independent advocate for and with elderly residents in long-term care. She currently looks after the School of Poets at the Scottish Poetry Library. The Mace will conclude on Wednesday 9 April with Integrity, presented by Nancy Adams. A former lecturer in International Relations with the London programme of the University of Southern California, Nancy has been a 'Living Letter' to Israel/Palestine with the World Council of Churches. She has worked with Windows for Peace and the Families Forum and is involved with the Scottish Palestinian Forum and the Edinburgh Women's Interfaith Group.

All of The Mace Lenten talks will take place at the Lauriston Jesuit Centre, 28 Lauriston Street, Edinburgh EH3 9DJ, starting at 7.30pm; admission is by donation. For further information, see; tel:  0131 477 5788; or email