Kirkin' o' the Tartans

The Kirkin' o' the Tartans Service will be held on 
October 17, 2021 @ 11:00 am in the Sanctuary
and Streaming Online

Hendersonville Presbyterian Church will celebrate our Scottish heritage by presenting our annual Kirkin’ of the Tartans October 17 at the 11:00 a.m. service. The 9:00 a.m. congregants will join and participate in the celebration. Rehearsal will be at 8:30 a.m. the same day a.m. in the sanctuary. 

Joe Bailey and the Montreat Scottish Pipes and Drums; Carroll Ownbey – harpist; and Brian Tribby – soloist will be guest musicians. The choir will sing a Celtic anthem “Let Melodies Rise” Jan McGuire, Ed Rush and Stan Pethel. 

Kathleen Guice Reid and Chuck Rouse will “call the clans.” Clans represented in the processional will be Anderson, Blair, Bruce, Buchanan, Burns, Cameron, Campbell, Cunningham, Davidson, Elliott Farquharson, Fraser, Galloway, Gordon, Graham, Hardie, Hay, Henderson, Irvine, Lindsay, MacArthur, MacDonald, Magill, MacGregor, MacKay, Mackenzie, MacMillan, MacNaughton, MacPherson, MacRae, McCauley, McClellan, McClintock, McKean, McLeod, Morgan, Morrison, Murray, Nisbet, Stewart, Taylor, Wallace, and Watt. Districts represented are Aberdeen, Carolina, Perthshire, and USA. There are multiple variations on some clan names totaling 63 tartans.

Reverend Rob McClelland will deliver a sermon. The public is invited. The church is located at 699 North Grove Street in Hendersonville, NC.



Hendersonville Presbyterian Church will host the Annual Kirkin’ of the Tartans on Sunday, October 18 at the 11:00 Service. Guest piper, Joe Bailey will play "Highland Cathedral",  "Amazing Grace",  and "Scotland the Brave".  A medley of Scottish hymns will be played before the service.

Soloist, Brian Tribby, will sing Albert Hay Malotte's "The Twenty Third Psalm" and "The Lord's Prayer" and "I Cannot Tell" to the tune of Londonderry Air, a traditional Irish Melody accompanied by Gayle Stepp, Director of Music, Organist. 

The processional will be led by Pastor Rob McClelland carrying the McClellan flag, followed by the District of USA carried by Kathleen Guice Reid wearing her Hamilton scarf, Chuck Rouse adorned in his Morrison kilt with all the accessories carrying the District of Carolina tartan, and Bruce Hatfield dressed in the Clan Cunningham Ancient Hunting attire carrying the flag of St. Andrew. Displayed in the choir loft will be 60 plaid flags including variations on these tartans: District of Aberdeen, Anderson, Blair, Bruce, Buchanan, Burns, Cameron, Campbell, Cunningham, Davidson, Elliott, Farquharson, Fraser, Galloway, Gordon, Graham, Gunn, Hamilton, Hardie, Hay, Henderson, Irvine, Lindsay, MacArthur, MacDonald, Magill, MacGregor, MacKay, Mackenzie, MacMillan, MacNaughton, MacPherson, MacRae, McCauley, McClintock, McKean, McLeod, Morgan, Morrison, Murray, Nisbet, District of Perthshire, Stewart, Taylor, Wallace, and Watt. 

The tartans will remain on display in the choir loft for three consecutive Sundays: Oct 18, Kirkin' Sunday; Oct 25 Reformation Sunday - when Pastor Rob McClelland will be installed, and Nov 1, All Saints Sunday, when we will read the names of the dearly departed saints who have graduated to the church triumphant.

Pastor Rob McClelland will preach a sermon "Wild Boars!" based on the scripture from Romans 1: 8-17 and Matthew 7: 24 -28.

The community is invited to view live stream at 11:00 a.m. October 18 or later from the archive.



The Kirkin’ o’ the Tartans Service honors the Scottish heritage of the Presbyterian Church and of many families within the church. It is designed to recognize the faithfulness of families who have passed their Christian faith and love of country down through the  generations, regardless of their national origin.

Legend holds that the service originated in Scotland during a time in the eighteenth century when, following the failure of the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745, the English forbade the Scots from wearing their clan-identifying tartans. Not only were these symbols of geographical and family unity outlawed, so were the traditional bagpipes and music so dear to the Scots.

In defiance, and as a show of faith during this bleak time, brave Highlanders would hide a small bit of fabric on their person and wear it to church (in Scotland, a church is called a “kirk”). At a predetermined time, they would all secretly touch their material during the service. This blessing (or “kirking”) of the tartans was one way of staying connected to their heritage.

The concept was revived during World War II by the Reverend Peter Marshall, a native of Scotland, who was then Chaplain of the U.S. Senate. To encourage Scottish Americans to enlist in the war effort on behalf of Great Britain, Marshall recreated the “Kirkin’ o’ the Tartans” ceremony at his home church, New York Avenue Presbyterian, in Washington, D.C. Since that time, Presbyterian churches (as well as other denominations) around the country have celebrated this annually as a grateful expression of our freedom to worship.

The service includes the proud playing of traditional Scottish hymns and the presentation of the tartans for blessing. On October 25, we will host the Montreat Scottish Pipes and Drums. Over thirty families of Hendersonville Presbyterian Church will be presenting their “colors” during the service. Whether presenting banners or not, all who wish to do so are encouraged to wear their own plaids as they join in this uplifting ceremony.

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