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Kirkin pipers

While the Kirkin’o’th’Tartan service celebrates Scotland and Scottish heritage, it is a truly a Scottish-American custom. Stories abound of the Kirkin’s Kirkin-Masterroots being in days of the Act of Proscription, when the wearing of the kilt was banned in the Highlands – according to the legend, Highlanders hid pieces of tartan and brought them to church to be secretly blessed at a particular point in the service. The real history of the Kirkin’ service is “All American”, with a Scottish “twist”.
The Rev. Marshall is believed to be the originator of the Kirkin’o’th’Tartan  service.   Rev. Peter Marshall, Kirkin-Peter Marshalloriginally from Coatbridge, Scotland, was the pastor of the New York Avenue Presbyterian Church in Washington DC, and served as Chaplain of the United States Senate. During the Second World War, Rev. Marshall held prayer services at New York Avenue to raise funds for British war relief. At one of the services on April 27, 1941, Rev. Marshall gave a sermon entitled “Kirkin’o’th’Tartan” -and thus a legend was born. Rev. Marshall was very proud of his home and was a member of the St. Andrew’s Society of Washington DC, who assisted Dr. Marhsall with the first Kirkin’ services. In 1954, the Kirkin’ was moved to National Cathedral (Episcopal) in Washington , DC, where it is held annually in April.

Today, many Scottish, Caledonian and St. Andrew’s Societies across the United States and Canada hold Kirkin’o’th’Tartan while the majority seem to be in Presbyterian Churches, one may also find them in Episcopalian, Methodist, Roman Catholic and other denominations.

Kirkin BeadleKirkin-2011

See the template that one church, First Presbyterian Church, Waynesboro, Va used to perform a Kirkin’o’th’Tartan Service.

Sample Kirkin’

Video of a Kirkin’

Rural Church Kirkin’