From the Pastor . . .

  • Sunday, October 26 2014


         “Kirk” is Scottish for church. While based on Scottish legend, the Kirking of the Tartan Service is distinctively American tracing its roots to the ministry of The Rev. Dr. Peter Marshall, a legendary Scottish minister in the Presbyterian Church and Chaplain of the United States Senate. In April 1941, while serving as Pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, one of his sermons was titled, “Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan,” a name that became attached to church services celebrating a congregation’s Scottish Heritage.

         During the long course of Scottish history, the Scots and the English made war against one another many times. The last Scottish Rebellion ended in 1746 with the Battle of Culloden wherein the Scots led by “Bonnie Prince Charlie” were defeated by the English. Following this battle, the English adopted the Acts of Proscription of King George II which banned the wearing of the kilt, the use of the Gaelic language, the ancient clan system, and all other elements of Scottish culture and nationalism. It was not until 1782 under the reign of King George III that the Acts of Proscription were repealed. In the 19th Century, under the reign of Queen Victoria, a renaissance of Scottish culture began, and the wearing of the kilt and other Scottish traditions were revived.

         The term Scotch Irish has its origins when Lowlander Scots were offered the chance by the British in the 1600’s to settle in Ulster, Ireland almost a century before the migration of Highland Scots to America. These Lowlander Scots intermarried with the Irish, thus the term Scotch Irish. The largest initial migration of the Scotch Irish to America was to Pennsylvania and from there they migrated along the Great Wagon Trail through the Valley of Virginia to Piedmont North Carolina.

         In addition to these early roots with Scotch Irish settlers, there is also the religious and spiritual connection of the Presbyterian Church to the Scottish Reformation of John Knox, thus explaining our distinctive Scottish Heritage.


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