Born in Glasgow, Alan McPherson grew up and spent the first part of his career as a Presbyterian minister in Scotland. He arrived in Hamilton in 1980 and while he ministered to the congregation at Central Presbyterian Church, he also became a leader in the wider church and in his adopted community. He was moderator of the Hamilton Presbytery and went on to serve as Moderator for Canada in 1995. In the same year he received an honorary doctorate from Knox College. He served for 10 years as the chaplain to the Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders, the army infantry unit based in Hamilton. An active community volunteer, Alan has provided leadership as a Governor of Hillfield Strathallan College, board member of Victoria Order of Nurses, Director of the Hamilton Community Foundation and founding member of the downtown Probis Club.