The Kirkin' o' the Tartans Service will be held on
October 22, 2023 @ 11:00 am in the Sanctuary
and Streaming Online
In celebration of their Scottish heritage, Hendersonville Presbyterian Church will offer their annual
Kirkin’ of the Tartans October 22 at 11:00 a.m., which will be the only worship service that day.
Joe Bailey and the Montreat Scottish Pipes and Drums; Carroll Ownbey, Harpist; and Brian Tribby –
soloist will be guest musicians. The choir will sing “’Tis the Church Triumphant Singing” by Stan Pethel.
Kathleen Guice Reid and Chuck Rouse will “call the clans.”
Clan tartans represented 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. Some will be carried in a processional, and some will
be on display. All clans and all families attending will receive a “blessing.”
Pastor, Reverend Rob McClelland will deliver the sermon. Assistant Pastor, Charles Reed will serve as
liturgist, and Pastor Emeritus Dwayne Durham will hold the office of Beadle.
The church is located at 699 North Grove Street in Hendersonville, NC. The service may also be viewed live here on our church website.
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 22, 2023, 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.