This year marks the 500th anniversary of one of the most important events in history, the Protestant Reformation. Five hundred years ago a professor nailed 95 theses to the Wittenberg, Germany, church door, and by that single act, changed the world. He changed the way we worship. Luther made Christianity a faith about the living by doing away with purgatory. Before Luther, Christians used to spend a lot of their time, a lot of effort and sometimes a lot of their money, on masses for the dead, to get their relatives released from purgatory. Soon, French theologian John Calvin got interested in Luther’s work. Calvin’s Reformation zeal (temperament?) got him in trouble with the French Church and he ran for his life to Switzerland. It was there that a Scottish fellow, named John Knox, went to study under Calvin and returned to Scotland where he sparked the Reformation there.
Presbyterian churches derive their name from the Presbyterian form of church government which is governed by representative assemblies of elders. Most Reformed churches are organized this way, but the word Presbyterian, when capitalized, is often applied uniquely to churches that trace their roots to the Scottish and English Presbyterians. Eventually, the Presbyterian Church became synonymous with “The ‘Kirk’ (church) of Scotland”, and remains the national Church of Scotland.
At St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, we combine our Reformation Sunday Celebration with a Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan service. What is The Kirkin’ of the Tartans? Kirkin’, from the Scots’ word kirk, means church; in this usage, however, it means “blessing”. Tartans are the traditional plaid emblems of Scottish clans represented in unevenly spaced colored lines and rectangles on woven wool cloth.
Worshippers gathered over 65 years ago on Sunday evening, April 27, 1941, in Washington, D.C., at a special service led by Peter Marshall, famed pastor (1935 – 1949) of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church. Attended by members of the St. Andrew Society of Washington, D.C., the 1941 service had Scottish airs (tunes) as a prelude to the service.
Designed to raise funds, this Kirkin’ service sought to aid Scottish churches during the early days of World War II, as well as the British war effort, by providing a mobile kitchen. This initial, simple Kirkin’ service later evolved into what is today the Kirkin’ o’ the Tartans held in many American churches.
For our 500th Anniversary celebration, we will be commemorating our rich church heritage with the pastors and congregations from First and Westminster Presbyterian churches, special music, a bagpiper, and Scottish earl, Mr. J.K. Huggs in full Scottish uniform.
Come join us and bring a friend!
Pastor Darryl Goldman
500th Anniversary Commemoration Events
“The Protestant Reformation – A Presbyterian Perspective”
- Sunday, October 29, 2017, 8:45 AM
- Presentation by Donna Huffman, First Presbyterian
- Combined Sunday Schools, Andrew, First, and Westminster Presbyterian
- Andrew Teen Classroom
- Coffee and shortbread served
“Kirkin’ o’ the Tartans” (Blessing of the Families) Special Service
- Sunday, October 29, 2017, 10:00 AM
- Andrew Presbyterian sanctuary
- Combined service and choirs, St. Andrew, First, and Westminster Presbyterian
- Wear plaid if possible.
- Bagpiper in full Scottish regalia
- Children’s message from Mr. J. K. Huggs, Scottish rabbit
Soup lunch following service
- Sunday, October 29, 2017, 11:15 AM
- St. Andrew fellowship hall
Reformation Dinner Theatre
- Monday, Oct. 30, 6:30 PM, First Presbyterian Florence
- Tickets are $5.00.
- Contact Jaina Glaze if you would like to participate (256) 206 1855.
- Tickets are available at Westminster Presbyterian Florence, FPC Florence, and FPC Sheffield.