Posted on by Ann Rowan

The annual Scottish Heritage ("Kirkin' 'o The Tartan") service will be held at First Presbyterian Church on Sunday, September 30th at 10:30 a.m., complete with traditional tartans and bagpipes!

 Don't miss this inspirational service with live bagpipe music and tartan banners on display honoring the church's Scottish heritage. 

The story of the Kirkin’ O’ the Tartan is a modern one. “Kirk” is a Scottish word meaning church and in Scotland, the Kirk refers to the (Presbyterian) Church of Scotland. The Kirkin’ uses some order from a Scottish church service, but it is an American invention and was first held in 1948, by the late Dr. Peter Marshall, Scottish born Chaplain of the U.S. Senate and minister of the New York Ave. Presbyterian Church, Washington D.C. After Dr. Marshall’s death, the Kirkin’ moved from place to place and in 1954 was held at the Washington National Cathedral where it has been held ever since and is sponsored by the St. Andrew Society.

With the recent increase in Scottish Clan activities, the Kirkin’ O’ the Tartan has spread across the United States and Canada. The display of the tartans represents the Scottish Clans. The word “Clan” means “family”, and identity came to be attached to the Chief of the Clan. The ancient tartan was described as “chequered” or “striped” or “sundry colored”. The pattern is called a “set” and a length of tartan is made up of one set repeated over and over again until the desired length is reached.

For many centuries, tartans formed part of the everyday dress of the Highland people and it was there its use continued and developed until it became recognized as a symbol of clan kinship. The Scots celebrate June 9th as “St. Columba’s Day”. It was Columba who first brought the Christian faith from Ireland to Scotland in 563. Almost a 1,000 years later John Knox studied under John Calvin, the father of Presbyterianism, in Geneva, Switzerland, in the 1540’s and brought the Protestant Reformation to Scotland in 1547. He found the tartan in wide usage, especially among the Highland clans. Knox exclaimed from the depth of his evangelical zeal, “Give me Scotland or I die”. He wrote the first book of Church Order and inspired the Scots Confession of 1560.

“We confess and acknowledge only one God alone, to whom only we much cleave, whom only we must serve, whom only we must worship, and in whom only we must put our trust; who is eternal, infinite, immeasurable, incomprehensible, omnipotent, invisible; one in substance, and yet distinct in three persons, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; by whom we confess and believe all things in heaven and in earth, as well visible as invisible, to have been created, to be retained in their being, and to be ruled and guided by His Inscrutable Providence to such end as His eternal wisdom, goodness and justice have appointed them, to the manifestation of His own glory.”

We would also like to recognize St. Andrews Society of Jacksonville for their colorful and impressive contribution to our Kirkin’. 

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