Thursday, November 24, 2005

Episcopal and Presbyterian congregations to have annual “Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan” service

Skirling bagpipes and church bells will again summon worshipers in Holly Springs next Sunday. Members of the First Presbyterian Church and Christ Episcopal Church will have their annual joint service for the Feast of St. Andrew, with the ceremony for the Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan, November 27, at 11:00 a.m., in the Presbyterian Church at the corner of S. Memphis Street and Gholson Avenue. The yearly occasion which alternates between the two churches is an occasion to recall the common beliefs and history that the two congregations share.

“St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, from which Presbyterians derive much of their history, but Episcopalians — whose history has roots in England — also share a good deal of Scottish history,” said the Rev. Bruce McMillan, rector of Christ Church. “Our communion service — which we will use this Sunday—comes not from the English Book of Common Prayer, but from the Scottish service.”

“The Episcopal cathedral in Jackson is named for St. Andrew, as is the presbytery (regional governing body) that covers North Mississippi for Presbyterians,” added Dr. Winter.

At a ‘Kirkin’ o’ the Tartan’ service all members are invited to wear their distinctive Scottish colors, and the names of all the clans (families) are read aloud. Those who do not hail from Scotland — which includes probably a majority of both parishes, said McMillan — are recognized as members of Clan Dhia, that is, the family of God. It is a lighthearted, fun-filled occasion, designed primarily to encourage ecumenical fellowship, and anyone interested is cordially invited to attend.”

J. Steven Sanders, with Gallowglass Pipers of Memphis will make his sixth visit to Holly Springs for the occasion. “Bagpipes would never be heard in church in the old country,” added Dr. Winter. “They were designed as outside instruments, to accompany military regiments on the parade grounds and in times of battle. The raucous sound — tamed to play hymns — was originally meant to embolden soldiers and to put fear in the hearts of an enemy. Bagpipe music was supposed to signal an enemy: “Get ready, you are fixing to die!’” Winter chuckled.

McMillan will be the preacher for the occasion, which will also mark the First Sunday of Advent — with the lighting of the advent wreath and the preparation for Christmas. A covered-dish luncheon will follow.

Everyone is cordially invited to attend.

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