On October 30th, Eastminster will again celebrate a Kirking of the Tartans, a service reflecting on the Scottish heritage of the Presbyterian Church, at 10:00 am worship. Music of Scotland and Celtic traditions past and present highlight the service which emphasize the traditions of the reformed church.
The Kirking is a modern tradition, introduced by Rev. Dr. Peter Marshall on April 27, 1941, at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington D.C. The ceremony was intended as a service a rededication to Scottish heritage and devotion to God.
Peter Marshall, a native Scot who emigrated to the United States in 1927, graduated from Columbia Theological Seminary in 1931 and served as pastor of First Presbyterian in Covington, Georgia before becoming pastor of Westminster Presbyterian in Atlanta. He became pastor of New York Avenue Presbyterian in 1937 and served twice as the Chaplain of the United States Senate.
Kirk is Scottish for church, and tartans, with their distinctive cross-lined patterns, represent Scottish clans, families, and regions. Perhaps no symbol is more associated with Scotland and Scottish history than the tartan.
The tradition of the tartan is ancient and was part of the everyday attire of the Highland people for centuries. Tartans were a symbol of kinship. Groups of families, called clans, had their own distinctive patterns and colors. In the same way we have a flag representing all of us as a nation – our kinship is a part of the body of Jesus Christ that is the clan of Eastminster.