Church Service or Kirkin'

The Kirkin’ at Rural Hill is held on the Sunday morning of the Rural Hill Scottish Festival and Loch Norman Highland Games, in the Davidson Burial Grounds across from Historic Rural Hill at 9:00am. In case of inclement weather the service will be held in May Davidson Hall.

The church service, or “Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan” is a unique ceremony which takes place in many of the Scottish American communities and churches across the United States.

The First Kirkin’ was led by Dr. Peter Marshall, Scottish-born Chaplain of the U. S. Senate, who was at that time also a pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC. The date was April 28, 1941. Since 1954, the St. Andrews Society in Washington has directed the Kirkin’ ceremonies, held now in the National Cathedral.

During a Kirkin’ service, an array of Clan Tartans are presented for a special dedication to the heritage of the Scottish descendents in the congregation. The tartans are mostly displayed as flags or banners and carried in procession into the worship service with bagpipes. In simpler services the congregants may present smaller tartan cloths representing their own individual clan or family affiliation, placing them on an alter or communion table. A special prayer to God is normally spoken by the worship leader, a tribute to the history of clan ancestry around the world, and a rededication of all to God’s service.